Monday, November 21, 2011

31 Reasons I Left Evangelicalism and Became a Progressive But Not a Liberal

Okay, in the spirit of Rachel Held Evans' blog post on 13 Things that Make Me a Lousy Evangelical (and a Lousy Progressive and a Lousy Feminist), I've come up with my own list of 31 reasons I left evangelicalism and became a progressive (for lack of a better term) but not a liberal. So, here we go:

1. I'm allergic to contempary Christian music.
2. I never believed in the inerrancy of the Bible (and think it's rather obvious it's not inerrant) and got tired of hiding that fact.
3. I realized biblicism (the notion that the Bible is infallible, internally consistent, universally applicable, contains all the truth we need, and makes us certain about most everything) is intellectually hallow and dishonest (see The Bible Made Impossible).
4. I think it's not only fine to try to ascertain what Jesus meant or what Bible authors meant, in the original culture, but more importantly, if we don't, we're not taking the Bible seriously. We love tradition over truth.
5. I think it's perfectly acceptable to pick and choose what one thinks is inspired and true in the Bible. After all, that's how the Bible was composed. Someone else picked and chose and copied and translated, so why can't we? Why do we have to take it on faith and they get to decide? How does one do that you ask? Have an open mind, look at objective biblical scholarship, use some common sense, and let the Spirit speak to your heart. What? You think that's crazy? If accepting everthing at face value works, then why does evangelicalism have a thousand denominations and opinions about what the Bible teaches?
6. Despite 2-5 above, I think much of the Bible is inspired by God.
7. After studying the historical and cultural context of the Bible and learning how it has sometimes been miscopied, and frequently mistranslated and misinterpreted (by people who care more about tradition than truth), I find it a remarkably progressive book--okay, okay, minus that stuff about genocide and killing women and children, etc.
8. I might be called to love him, but I don't like Rick Warren, and especially those Hawaiian shirts he wears.
9. R.C. Sproul defending Mark Driscoll makes me a bit nauseous. Okay, a lot nauseous.
10. I not only think believing in The Rapture is delusional, but also believing we live in the end times too.
11. I believe Jesus already returned (figuratively) in the first century (you gotta read my book).
12. I believe the Bible teaches the good guys get left behind (again, it's in the book).
13. I sometimes agree with R.C. Sproul. For example, he actually pretty much believes #11 too.
14. Going to a U2 concert is a spiritual experience for me.
15. I no longer believe evolution is the enemy.
16. I think intelligent design is a grand idea that needs to be seriously considered.
17. I think one can be a practicing gay or lesbian and still follow Christ.
18. I'm a microbrew enthusiast and love to talk theology over a couple of brews.
19. Rick Perry makes me really nervous (but not as much as Sarah Palin).
20. I hate sexual exploitation but find some erotica perfectly acceptable for adults.
21. I think the evangelical church is sex-negative (okay, there are a few good evangelical marriage sex manuals out there, but that's the only exception).
22. I think Charlize Theron is hot and I'm not afraid to admit it.
23. I voted for Barak Obama. I still support him but see a lot of things he could do better.
24. I hate it when Republicans accuse Obama of doing or proposing things that George W. Bush (increased the deficit by $5 trillion) and Ronald Reagan did (raised taxes 11 times).
25. I think what evangelicals call "church" is a non-biblical, man-made construct (back to my book, and yes, these are shameless plugs!).
26. I think nine times out of ten spiritual disciplines (praying, fasting, time in the Word, worship, going to cutting-edge, spiritual conferences, and following the latest, trendy book -- think Purpose Driven Life) becomes a legalistic treadmill.
27. After studying the issue and examining the historical and biblical evidence, I became a Universalist.
28. I think the emergent "conversation" is good (and I really like Brian McLaren), but wish they'd come to a concluson once in awhile. Just for grins.
29. I often disagree with Bishop Spong, but sometimes I do agree with him.
30. I like Bishop Spong way more than Rick Warren or Mark Driscoll.
31. I think the truth is embodied in a composite of Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Please comment, challenge me, and share your own lists of where you're at!


FT said...

I am neither a liberal or progressive Chistian (one friend of mine asserted that I should be liberal and proud but I digress). I would say that I would consider myself a "moderate Christian" (who is conservative on the essentials of historic Christian faith---I was raised in sect that denied them but again I digress). Just want to say I happen to agree with most (but by no means all) with you 31 reasons with your displeasure with Evangelical Christianity. They were humourously but articulately well put together. Keep doing what you're doing!

Michael Camp said...

Thanks, FT. I appreciate your perspective, and thanks for posting this on yours! Readers should go to FT's blog and check out his engaging and thoughtful comments on my 31 Reasons:

Life After the WCG

James Pate said...

Hi Michael! My name's James Pate. I learned of your list from Felix's blog. Like him, I posted some responses. I think we agree on a lot. Often, I'm more left than you. Sometimes, I'm a little more to the right. Here it is:

Budster said...

Just found your list, Michael, and it's excellent. I come from the Mennonite tradition, and I don't think I disagree with any items. Fortunately, I've found a progressive Mennonite church that would also agree with most. Number 1 is funny and so true.

Michael Camp said...

James, Thanks so much for posting it on your site! The whole point is we don't have to agree on every item on the list and don't have to canonize our lists like the old "statement of faith."

Budster, thanks for sharing that. Sounds like you found a good "gathering."

Big Picture said...

would be interested on seeing biblical passages supporting active gay lifestyle within the lifestyle of a Holy Spirit filled believer.

Sisterlisa said...

I love this!!!

Michael Camp said...

Sisterlisa, thanks. Loving your Love UR message on yours!

Big Picture, Gotta read my chapter or look for posts on this blog on the subject.