Are the ‘ex-vangelicals’ the new cool kids or just smug smart arses?
I like to follow the thinking of some of the authors and speakers in this sphere because they challenge me, stretch me, and I like some of their thinking, but I’m tired of hearing them speak condescendingly of the ‘unenlightened’ ‘still-vangelicals’.
I’m probably somewhere in between – definitely up for thinking critically and creatively about the church and the theological paradigms we have constructed within evangelicalism, but the sarcasm and disparaging tone that seems to infect this area has frequently seen me muting or skipping over podcasts and discarding books that probably have some good material.
I totally get that ‘prophets’ need to critique and their critique needs to bite to be heard, but the challenge is to do that in ways that earn a hearing. The late John Smith was as prophetic as anyone I’ve heard but he didn’t seem to spend his time in mockery, rather he just called a spade a spade and got on with the job of critiquing what was wrong with the church. At times it was brutal but it didn’t seem to come from an ‘I’m smarter than you’ position.
I dunno if I’m just overly sensitive, but when the ‘enlightened ones’ speak it is too often with a tone of superiority rather than ‘alongsideness’. Come alongside and kick my arse all you like. I will listen. Look down on me and treat me like an idiot and I will use the mute / skip button, because you just lost your credibility.