This newsletter is intended to help.
I think generally that I am a hopeful person. This hope is not something that I have conjured up from ability, maybe even not from temperament. This hope, for me at least, comes from faith. Thing is though, I am not really that interested in getting you to believe what I believe. What I’d prefer to do, what I aim to do is to bear witness to the hope that I have. One part of hope is to be honest about things that need to be torn down or left behind. While I seek to be positive, to describe a hope that is for ALL people, I don’t try to be positive or hopeful about bad theology or destructive worldviews. Evangelically Departed is a place allows some of the taking apart work that hope allows and requires. There may be, in these pages humour, frustration and even anger, but I do intend this to be within the frame of a larger hope.
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The name of the newsletter comes from the context of having been a pastor in an evangelical church for over 25 years. I loved it. I loved the people. The secret I’d like to tell though, is that I did not love some key parts of the theology. I found the theology to be dark and often hopeless. It was a contrast to the hope that I found in the Jesus of the Bible. Evangelical in its translation means “good news”. However, too often the truth is that evangelical, in its current meaning politically and socially and religiously has come to mean “bad news”. If you believe that mostly everyone who has ever lived is doomed to a horrible, even torture-filled eternity unless they believe what you believe, I’d say that is bad news. If you believe that an eternal devastation is coming for everyone except for people like you, I’d say that’s bad news. If you were told that almost everyone around you is going to be forever doomed, but that you might escape such a fate, would you call that good news? I think that such belief is more “dysangelical” (bad news).
Since I have taken steps away from what evangelicalism has become in our cultural context, I have felt more hopeful. I have found a greater depth of faith and I have had affirmed a love of all humanity rather than the escape of a few from some dismal future.
So, Evangelically Departed. But it’s good news, really.