If only I'd known before that the way to have a voice was to tattoo "I'm not an evangelical" across my forehead...

says christy.

I challenge you to read this post without a whit of tenderness in your heart, it isn't possible, even in the sting of this quote (which I will admit to smiling at):

'While an unfortunate number of 'gellies, particularly those on the more fundy end of the spectrum, seem to have joined the Assholes for Jesus club, there are a lot of 'gellies doing some damn good work and a lot of them are harboring heretical opinions that they don't talk about too much.'

well, I'm either an asshole or a heretic....and I couldn't possibly sway you either way in your opinion.

but I want to sit for a while with those who have given it up or who are watching from the edges because the journey was too painful within the 'in crowd'. I am still fascinated, in a way, that I managed to do my recovery still within the 'gellie world (isn't that a fantastic new nickname? I'm so used to 'evo'), I didn't feel it completely necessary to leave.

is this directly related to the amount of damage done? the type? the person the damage is done to? all of the above? who knows. I remember saying to my friend a little while ago, whilst I was still hurting a lot, that the trouble was that 'gellies like me will walk off into liberalism.

okay I didn't use the word 'gellies, 'cos I didn't know it then, but it is a very cool word.

still, the point is there, I'm still here in 'gellie world, but I know many who have not even remained in church, let alone stayed to reform the old tribe. and don't get me wrong liberal Christianity is no longer the swear word it used to be to me, I learned a long time ago that there are good things to be found in places and groups that are 'other' to me. but the thing is that they are 'other' than me, and I have good things to offer too. gellie though I am.

so does it have to be, as christy says, that in order to have a voice, we have to stamp "I'm not an evangelical" across our foreheads?

I really really hope not.


Christy said...

Hi Jody -

I like the word 'gellie too, and thanks for the link to the post. As for your question, I think it depends on who you are. For me, saying that I'm not an evangelical is just a simple statement of fact at this point, rather than being a reaction to being hurt. I realized that I just don't believe the core theology and probably never really did, and I connect with God in ways that the 'gellie world doesn't recognize.

It's not so much that I disagree with the 'gellies - we just have entirely different spiritual vocabularies.

I tried for many many years to fit into the gellie framework, and it never ever worked for me. It was a tremendous relief to admit that for me, there's no THERE there. It frees me up both to find my own path and let other people find theirs. If that is in the evangelical church for somebody - great. For me, though, it would be dishonest to label myself as an evangelical when I know that I'm not on board with the core beliefs.

I'm in the U.S., so the context is really different from the U.K., and I'm sure my experience would be different if I were there.

jody said...

Hi Christy

thanks for this, yes I think I realised that you are in the US (asshole is a distinctively american denigration :-), we just say arse)

still, I think that there is a move afoot in gellie world that sees a shift of the framework - those in the US like Brian Maclaren and Rob Bell are examples you might recognise - which might mean that clinging to the gellie title is simply false.

but in the UK there is a sense that those of us who are moving are having their voice stamped out in gellie land because it's all a bit worrying - I think that most of us are so used to having to say 'no I really am an evangelical' in order to be heard, that to not be an evangelical in order to be heard is a bemusing concept.

anyway, thanks for your post, I came to it from Maggi Dawn, by the way, and I found it heartwarming.


Revd John P Richardson said...

It's a much nicer photo!

jody said...

thanks John, I'm quite smiley really :-)