I'm not going to lie. I have a bit of church melancholy this week. As I reflect on what I've been through, where I am, and where I hope to be, there is one thing that becomes shockingly clear. The current state of American Christianity frames life fully within a paradigm of Us vs. Them.
I see the posts from old Christian college classmates on Facebook. I hear claims made my prominent Christian leaders. The majority of them all share the underlying current of that paradigm. It's not enough to disagree with homosexuality. They must claim that the "gay agenda" is trying to corrupt our children. It's not enough to share their belief in the importance of parenthood. They must claim that the secular world hates children. It's not enough to simply accept that they disagree with others on some theological viewpoints. They must declare that the other is backsliding from God and turning away from the truth. The religion that follows the Prince of Peace is continually trying to wage a cultural war with anyone whose opinion differs. How did it come to this?
Most of all, where does this leave people like myself? Those of us who still seek to explore the mysteries of God, but have left American Evangelical Culture behind are displaced. We still embrace Christianity, but not the culture that continues to distort it. That culture views us with pity, suspicion, and disdain, seeing us as nothing more in their eyes than a sad example of how the world leads people astray. Yet, we aren't ready to abandon theological endeavors altogether. As Evangelical Culture becomes more and more pervasive, what place of refuge is left for us?