A Letter of Lament to Evangelicalism
Updated: Nov 22, 2022
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Evangelicalism, the way you taught my generation to live is sadly not what you’ve been living out.
You taught us to pursue the kingdom of God first, yet you so often pursue America first.
You taught us to proclaim Christ as Lord of all, but when it comes to talk of real power, you seem so preoccupied with presidents and political parties.
You taught us about purity and respect, yet get upset at us when we call out political and religious leaders for their unwholesome remarks about women and people of color.
You taught us to love our enemies and that violence isn’t the way to solve our problems, yet you seem so preoccupied with guns, lethal force, and war.
You taught us to spread the gospel, yet so much of what we hear from you is campaigning for partisan power and political ideologies in the name of Jesus.
You taught us to welcome the stranger as a friend and help those in need, yet you talk so disparagingly about immigrants, refugees, and those in need of welfare while opposing government programs that would help them.
You taught us to repent, yet when we want to repent from systemic racism, patriarchy, jingoism, capitalistic greed, homophobia, and nationalism, you mock us as if we are just politically misguided rather than gospel minded.
You taught us to be pro-life and that all life is sacred, yet talk as if it only applies to the the unborn and not to the very real economic and social realities of those who are born, especially the women whose very own bodies carry the unborn.
You taught us to be compassionate and loving towards our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable, yet during this global pandemic, you seemed to prioritize your personal freedoms over other people’s safety.
You taught us to be good stewards of our resources, yet when we want to be good stewards of the earth and advocate for confronting the climate crisis, we are either ignored or criticized by you.
You told us we are saved by grace, not the law, yet we hear so much talk from you about working to get the right people in power and to shape the legal system in favor of what we value in order to save America.
You taught us to worship God alone and see scripture as our primary authority, yet you act as though this country and its constitution are on their same level of theological sacredness.
You called this generation lazy, entitled, and shame us for deconstructing or for leaving the church. Yet, we feel like you’ve abandoned so much of what you’ve taught us, becoming lazy as the church and entitled over political power.
Maybe people are leaving Evangelicalism because there’s more of a desire to protect the institutions it has made, preserve the power it has acquired, and a refusal to repent, reform, and grow with our ever changing world than there is to be the body of Christ as the church.
Sincerely signed with hope for a better world. -BEN CREMER-
This Week on the Podcast: The fabulous Ben Cremer, author of that poignant and powerful letter, is our guest this week. Ben is all these things: Wesleyan. Writer. BA in Religion. MA in Spiritual Formation. MA in Theological Studies. Chronic student. Idahoan (Lizz and Esther had never met anyone before from Idaho). He is very well-known for the black boxes on social media filled with mic drop after mic drop of wisdom and cut-to-the-chase snippets that speak to where we find ourselves in modern Christianity in America. What happens when you talk about pastoring, potatoes (he is from Idaho, people) and parenting in the same Zoom space? You get an amazing podcast episode! Ben is a brandy-new dad who has big plans to raise his son and any future children without all the destructive "spirituality" that he was raised with. His story is a nail biter and while he was speaking, Esther and Lizz had shocked looks on their faces because they could hardly believe what they were hearing. It's a story that shows how harmful toxic religion can be, but also a story that gives hope that lives can be transformed and healed. A story that says, "it all stops here." A story that is much like many of our own. Ben has a weekly newsletter that dives deep into how religion and politics intersect. He already has over 5000 subscribers (two of which are us) in a very short time because it is chock full of information, wisdom and also hope. You can sign up for it right HERE. You can find Ben at the following: Instagram: @brcremer
Facebook: Benjamin Cremer Twitter: @brcremer Blog: Constant Investigations
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We love love love this from Joy Vetterlein, our guest from last week!! GET IT BEFORE NEXT SUNDAY!! Find new meaning and reclaim lost joy in the tradition, season and story of Christmas—even if you don’t believe in it anymore. Includes:
Digital ebook with 28 reflections
Daily emails 11/27-12/24 with:
Printable of The Christmas Epic: a poetic paraphrase
Reimagining Christmas playlist on Spotify Purchase it HERE and DO NOT MISS OUT!
We also want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.
Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,
Lizz & Esther P.S. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER HERE!