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writing things down…

Post-evangelical

I’m currently editing a collection of contributions to The Other Journal entitled Remembering the Future.  In it there is an interview with Charles Marsh, author of Wayward Christian Soldiers.  In the discussion on the move of evangelicals from the margins to the corridors of power, Marsh makes the following aside comment:

You know, certainly evangelicals—and I grew up in an evangelical community, my father is a Southern Baptist minister, I was educated in an evangelical college prior to going to graduate school…

I wonder how many active scholars have made a similar journey. It seems there are an awful lot of academic folks who grew up in evangelical communities. Then they go off to graduate school and usually one of two things happen: either these academics work to reform, reshape, or reinterpret evangelicalism, or they abandon it altogehter.  Most of the former work from the “inside” or don’t move too far from their roots, often finding their way to a more mainstream community but maintaining much of their evangelical worldview. Their critique, though sometimes hard, is usually constructive. Often they do not mind the label of evangelical as long as it is rightly understood. Most of the latter get as far away from the label as possible. Their critique is almost always harsh and usually destructive. There is nothing redeemable about evangelicalism, as far as they are concerned.

Do any of you trace your journey in ways similar to Marsh? If so, where are you today? Are you a part of the reshaping or the rejecting?

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1 Comment»

  Mark Baker-Wright wrote @

Interesting. Although I don’t know that the “academic” label fits me all that well (my continued service in support of an academic institution notwithstanding), a lot of this does fit me pretty well. I’m not a minister’s kid, but a lot of the rest still works in regard to the “first group” you cite. Especially the line, “Often they do not mind the label of evangelical as long as it is rightly understood.”


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