Dave [Tomlinson] has named what the real issue is in evangelicalism power. Evangelicals are enamored with power and control. That’s why numbers and measures are so important to evangelicals, and why compliance is next to godliness. What’s important to evangelicals is freeing you from the world that squeezes you into its mold so evangelicalism can squeeze you into its mold. Evangelicals resist and declare as enemy anything they can’t control including God, by the way. A post-evangelical is not a one-time evangelical who’s given up on truth, she’s an evangelical who’s given up on control.
…from The Post-Evangelical by Dave Tomlinson, p.28.
This hits the nail on the head for me, in a very succinct way.
I’m so sick of listening to the powerful, especially those of “radio orthodoxy” tell us what is and is not Christian. Let’s go to the Bible. Let’s listen to the Spirit. Let’s listen to each other more (instead of declaring who or what is heretical).
Nice quote there from ‘ol Mike Yak Maynard. I heard Brian McLaren say recently that people make the mistake of confusing “post” with “anti”. “Anti” of course means against, but “post” is more like been there, done that, got the t-shirt, moved on. That’s of course still not entirely a complimentary thing to say to that which one is saying they are “post” to, but it does mean you are against it.
Well Maynard, if you are a “post-evangelical” you are in some good company. ;)
Tomlinson contrasts “post-” with “ex-” which is similar to “anti-” in that people may think that’s what it’s about, but it isn’t. With “ex-” it implies you are no longer evangelical, but this isn’t quite it either… the actual sense is as you describe. I like someone’s explanation that you’ve so fully imbibed it that you’ve become something different, “post-“. (I think this was McLaren’s explanation of “post-” in post-modern.) I tend to think of this in the sense of not rejecting all of evangelical theology (though some of it is out) but rejecting most of its methodology (though some of it remains).
Reading Yaconelli’s quote again, that’s the main issue, the methodologies stink. Perhaps they worked better in another time and place, but today, at best they’re ineffective and at worst they’re abusive.
Any room for “Recovering Evangelical”?
Honestly, splitting hairs over the exact meaning of these words… ! Even so, it gives us an opportunity to talk about what it all means to each one of us – and that’s exactly the point of the control issue. I don’t fit in the box anymore. The crack finally broke apart for me when I read, “Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective” by Clendenin. I realized that God’s plan for the Bible and the Holy Spirit and the Church was so much bigger than what the evangelical tradition taught me that I simply couldn’t sign on anymore. Literally, if I was asked to sign some Evengelical confessional statement, I couldn’t do it.
Our stories and indevidual points-of-no-return say alot more about what post means, than any dictionary definitions because in and amongst all of us is the Witness of the Spirit of God Who is moving in a new and bigger direction.
Amen, well said that preacher. I too have discovered that the dragon is alive and well within evangelical churches and it only took from birth to age 38 to figure that out.