Can We Please Ignore the “Evangelicals” Beginning in 2022?

Can We Please Ignore the “Evangelicals” Beginning in 2022? December 31, 2021

Warning. This is a rant.

I’m tired of Evangelicals. Perhaps, more specifically, contemporary Evangelicalism. Can we please just ground them? Tell them to go to their room and not come out.

I’m tired of “Evangelicals”. I love the good news of Jesus. The word εὐαγγέλιον is a great word with a rich history and a depth of meaning. And maybe “evangelical” is still a good word if we don’t use the upper-case initial letter. But that’s hard to determine in speech. Maybe we need to say “the good news of Jesus” for a while.

A Case for Ignoring Evangelicals

First, they absorb too much space in the minds of society, rent free. As they hang out, acting like squatters, they are stripping the wiring, clogging the plumbing, and bothering the neighbors. My how they’ve been bugging the neighbors! Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically – but that doesn’t make it less true.

Second, they have managed to push North American followers of Jesus out. By out, I mean out of community. In some cases, out of work. In other cases, out of their families. They have made it hard for nonconforming folks to hold onto a tradition that has connections with an enriching history and meaningful (and at times debatable) theology.

Third, while not all the “nones” are abandoning religious faith because of these folks, the correlation is significant. The nones I know are those who have been raised in a fundamentalist evangelical context. As they seek to grow and develop a more nuanced understanding of God and faith, but that curse of fundamentalism creeps in. With it’s all or nothing modus operandi, these folks just toss all of faith to cross over into the none space.

Fourth, they voted for a maniac, en masse. Not all of them, of course, but as a voting bloc, around 81%.  They even earned themselves their own hymn by Daniel Deitrich. they are irresponsible and dangerous. Enough said. Like Twitter and other social media outlets, some journalists and news outlets refuse to give air or print to the former president and the cronies he assembled.

Fifth, they’ve made themselves a messy virus, infecting otherwise worthwhile Christian traditions. Christian traditions from Catholicism, Orthodox, the Reformation churches, those of the Radical Reformation, British separatism and Baptists and Quakers, the Restorationists of the 19th century, the Holiness movements of the early 20th century, all these have rich traditions, thoughtful theologies, and social responsibility including abolition of enslavement, women’s suffrage, workers’ rights, civil rights, and so much more. Each of these traditions are so much larger than Evangelicalism, but like an efficient virus, Evangelicalism has found its way into these traditions to narrow their focus abandon the wisdom of their heritage.

Sixth, the inarticulate nature of its contemporary expressions is lazy and irresponsible. Several years ago, I was having a conversation with an evangelical pastor. I was asking about the formation of his theological frameworks. He assured he just preached the bible. I had heard him preach. He did use a lot of bible references, but I don’t think that makes it “biblical.” After more probing, it became evident that he was in line with some forms of Calvinism. I challenged him to be explicit with his congregation and tell them the source of his theological framework. He was obviously agitated, and once again assured me that he, “just preached the bible.”

You’re Grounded

There’s probably more reasons to put Evangelicals in their room and tell them they are grounded. The disavowal of science during a pandemic and the cresting environmental degradation. The continued trauma caused to non-heteronormative, non-cisgendered folks. The limitation of sharing leadership gifts of those who are not white, cisgendered men.

Go to your room. Be quiet. Don’t come out until sometime after November of 2024.

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