About Evangelical Orphan
I’m an orphan. Well, I was raised by orphans. You see, the family I was born into had become disassociated from their family tree, and spent considerable time and energy making sure I knew that “those people” from my heritage are not to be trusted.
But, like many orphans, a day came when I really wanted to know what my “real family” is like. I decided to be a bit rebellious to my adoptive parents, and go off on a journey to meet my family. So, for the past 30 years, I’ve been digging into my past…meeting long lost aunts and uncles, making and repairing connections, and trying to make sense of this dysfunctional family that, love it or hate it, gave me my name.
What have I found? That’s why I’m launching The Evangelical Orphan.
My adoptive family is the modern, fundamentalism-infused, Evangelical, American church. I was spiritually born in this church, and have lived out my spiritual life primarily within their communities and structures. I love my family, and, for the most part, they have been very good to me. That’s why I’ve never chosen to abandon them wholesale.
But, I have come to understand that my tradition is broken in so many ways … I don’t know how it can possibly be fixed. Reformation is needed. But reformation is hard – and very hard to lead. My attempts, especially in the churches, have born meager fruit. But the ideas remain. My prayer is that some of these thoughts will encourage others – those far more capable than I in the art of bringing about change in people’s hearts and churches’ programs – to help bring about the needed remedies for my family’s beleaguered condition.
In the posts to come, it will be part historical introductions, part contemporary analysis. Like the weeds in my front lawn, which I’m tempted to simply mow over rather than pull up from the roots, many of our contemporary issues need to be dealt with at their deepest levels of germination. I look forward to sharing those “aha!” moments when we find out why we’re the way we are, which can help us better determine how we can change…if led of the Lord to do so.
I like to call this “spiritual spelunking.” Grab a rope and flashlight (and a helmet – you’ll need a helmet!), and let’s repel down into the caverns of our family’s past. It’s dangerous, but not as dangerous as you may have heard. And there is some fascinating stuff down there that will change the way you think about life in the daylight of the here and now.
(One part of our DNA is that we honor those who are institutionally credentialed and successful. Well, for what it’s worth, I’ve been a career pastor. I cut my historical/theological teeth working with the likes of Robert Webber, Mark Noll and Abraham Friesen. I teach history at Phoenix Seminary and a few other colleges. That may not be enough resume fodder to earn a read from most…I guess we’ll see.)