Post-election retrospectives, #ILeftBecause, and a new look for Exvangelical
Lots of links today.
|Blake Chastain||Nov 19, 2020|| 4||1|
Hello, new subscribers! Several people have signed up in the last couple of weeks. I bid thee welcome to The Post-Evangelical Post.
I’m still working on the next entry in the “How Should We Then Live (with Evangelical Christian Nationalists)? series - part 1 is here - but in the meantime, a lot has happened.
Trump Still Hasn’t Conceded
The GOP continues to throw its weight behind President Trump’s misinformation campaign alleging widespread voter fraud. The various legal challenges are too many to mention here, but of note is Lindsey Graham’s effort to influence the Secretary of State of Georgia, urging him to throw away ballots.
There was a brief moment where Robert Jeffress signaled that Trump should concede...
…but it didn’t last long.
Trump’s failure to reckon with failure, and the GOP enabling of his reckless, spiteful, behavior is eroding democratic norms by the day. Transition of power is central to a functioning democracy, and this coup attempt is petty and, like all things the McConnell-led Republican party does, corrosive.
#ILeftBecause Stories on Twitter
Rod Dreher, author of The Benedict Option who routinely opts out of said option, opined on his blog and his own substack about people leaving the evangelical church because of Trump:
Over at my Substack newsletter this weekend, I wrote about a man who came to a speech I gave, and in the Q&A session said that even though he and his wife raised their three children in the Evangelical church, two of them have left it in adulthood, and the third — age 32, married, with kids — is barely hanging on. The reason? Trump. The Trump years crystallized their anger at what they consider to be the church’s hypocrisy.
After saying that obviously I don’t know his children and what motivated them, I suggested to the man that Trump might be an excuse, and that they wanted to leave the church anyway. I said that I don’t blame them at all for being alienated from a church that is essentially MAGA At Prayer, but the idea that white conservative American Evangelicalism represents the fullness of Christianity is simply bizarre — so strange that I find it hard to accept that MAGA is why they have left the faith.
This is tiresome to post-evangelical ears, and dismissive of the lived experience of so many people who left evangelicalism, either for a different form of faith or for no faith at all.
To that end, Chrissy Stroop started the hashtag #ILeftBecause on Twitter in order to highlight the valid reasons why people leave their faith communities:
The American Conservative @amconmag@C_Stroop The fellow who wrote the letter was giving his reasoning. Something as complicated as losing your faith will have a lot of reasons in different cases/individuals
Exploring the nuance behind why people leave white evangelicalism in particular is the driving force behind why I’ve been publishing the Exvangelical podcast for the past four years. These glib dismissals of people who have undergone a(n often) personally and socially devastating loss of faith and community serve no purpose other than to reify the borders of white evangelicalism itself. It is far too simplistic to write off people who leave as ‘lukewarm believers;’ they were true believers, but they cannot reconcile the ethic of their community with the calling of their conscience, and they cannot reform a community that does not want to be reformed.
I highly recommend perusing the stories that are being collected under the #ILeftBecause hashtag.
A New Logo
Last week I unveiled the new logo for Exvangelical on Twitter & Instagram. Here it is:
I absolutely love this design by Jenna Luecke. I gave her a simple prompt: a design that illustrates something dying away so that new growth can begin. This is the result, and I think it is a powerful symbol of the process of both ‘deconstruction’ and the ways we grow after leaving our faith of origin. As I wrote on Instagram:
This image, of all manner of flowers and plants growing from a Bible, expresses the various ways that those of us who’ve left white evangelicalism have found our own distinct ways to flourish. We may all have been rooted in similar experiences, but find our own expression of new growth. And that diversity is beautiful. Jenna captured that.
Follow me on Instagram, if that’s your thing:
The Latest on Powers & Principalities
Over on Powers & Principalities, I’m wrapping up the first season with a series of post-election retrospectives. The first episode, featuring Bradley Onishi from Straight White American Jesus, was posted last week. Another discussion with Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family and the Netflix documentary series of the same name, is live today.
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I’ve written a bit about the economics of being an independent creator on Substack and elsewhere over on Twitter recently in a couple of threads, embedded below. It’s not a straightforward path, and I appreciate any and all support I receive.
Dr. Steven W. Thrasher @thrasherxyReading every word of @cliomiso's @CJR longread on Substack, but this line from Substack's founding press release stands out. It's quite an analogy considering that Substack is supposed to help struggling writers & how Lyft and Uber worked out for workers https://t.co/70qx4I2cgl https://t.co/RC9dyxV7eE