What I Wish the Evangelical Church Would Believe About Me

Here is what I wish my friends in the evangelical church would believe about me (for that’s the only person I can speak of) as someone who has gone outside the doors of that brand of Christianity: It was never about leaving Christ.

When I finally had the guts to say that Black Lives Matter, support rights for LGBTQ+ individuals, criticize the ways American nationalism compromises the church, and push back against biblical inerrancy, I wasn’t trying to leave something. I was trying to move closer to Christ.

I want to follow Jesus the best I can. Sometimes I am awful at it. I get things wrong. But to paraphrase a song: I want to be a Christian in my heart, my head, my actions. So very badly. And where I am is where the journey has taken me thus far.

I have not strayed. I have not left the church (in fact I work as a minister in a local congregation). I have not capitulated to culture or been brainwashed by the media. I have thought and fought and prayed and studied. Though it looks different I probably cling to God more now.

The church in this country has a reckoning upon it. And I’m not saying that the Christian faith in this country should look like mine. That’s just an inverse of the fundamentalism that put a lot of us out in the cold. But we’ve got to find a better way forward. And the best way we can find a better way forward is if we realize that our little patch of land is not the whole great wide country of Christianity.

You’ve got to trust me when I say that I am trying to follow Christ in good faith. You’ve got to listen when I say my gay friend is following Jesus. You’ve got to not throw up your defenses when I say that responding “All Lives Matter” is hurtful. I need you to hear me when I say that maybe we’ve made an idol out of the Bible. When I say all of this, I need you to trust that I’m not trying to destroy something. I’m not trying to start a fight. I’m trying to follow Christ the best I can.

This isn’t to say that you aren’t trying to follow Jesus if you disagree with me. But I need my evangelical brothers & sisters to know that many of us out here never left the church, never left the faith. We’re out here because that is where we honestly believe God has called us.

This post originally appeared on Wilcomoore.

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