Joe Carter has started a "church directory" of sorts. A list of bloggers who consider themselves evangelicals and want that information out in the 'sphere.
I at one time was decidedly evangelical. Ask my family and friends. They'd tell you. In fact, they'd probably tell you stories. I think I'm at the center of at least one or two or three.
I graduated from obnoxious evangelicalism nearly 15 years ago to something somewhat less so as I "matured in the faith" and my obnoxiousness whittled away at my... "effectiveness".
I'm a different person today. I've not "evangelized" anyone in the more traditional sense in... well... let's say a very long time...
When I saw Joe's post, I considered adding Brutally Honest to the list. I mean, it'd be another way to publicize the blog and perhaps get more traffic this way.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it might be dishonest of me. I'm no longer sure that I can claim to be an evangelical. Oh, I'm certainly a believer in Christ, and I think more people ought to be believers, but I can't say that I'm as... enamored... with pursuing others, with "getting them saved", with "bringing people to Christ".
I'm now more and more convinced that this notion is... I dunno... for me, a bit silly. It may not be for others. I'm open to that. But for me, it seems to be something I will no longer do.
Yes, to my evangelical friends, this is... heretical to some I'm sure.
I simply think that Christ, by His Holy Spirit, is far more capable of bringing people to Himself than I am. And that when He has "saved" someone, they're more apt to be actually "saved" than when I get someone to pray a rote prayer with me or when I thrust Scripture under their noses or when I share a tract with them.
I also think that Christ reveals Himself, without my help, to people in ways that are no where near as... noticeable... to us, certainly not outwardly.
I've come to know people who have nothing to do with Churches, with "Christianity" as I've come to experience it and yet exude more Godly character than most "Christians" I know.
That's not to say I don't know some Godly, more traditional, Christians. I do. I find these folks to be... amazing.
But I'm not one of them... and I tired quickly of trying to be one of them... in fact, I burned myself out on much of what I've understood to be Christianity in the attempt.
I now cling to this notion called Grace. A notion that God reveals Hismself to us in ways we least expect and usually when we aren't trying so hard to get Him to do so, in fact, usually when we least want Him to (or think He might).
And oh yeah, I also believe that He knows me, knows my weaknesses, my faults, all those traits that in the eyes of much of the evangelical world make me... well... a lousy Christian.
And yet, He still, somehow, enables me to believe that I am loved by Him, and accepted by Him. That He cares for me, in personal ways.
That's grace... no, actually, that's Grace. In many ways today, I see myself being more of a... I dunno... a Grace-ian, than a Christian. Yet, I continue to believe, firmly, that Grace is embodied, fully, in the person of Jesus Christ.
So what am I?
In the eyes of many I once considered brethren, I'm probably seen to be slipping my way into oblivion.
Thankfully, I'm no longer imprisoned by what they see in me, or what they desire to see in me.
I'm more convinced that Grace has, indeed, set me free.
UPDATE: Feeble Knees has somewhat similar thoughts:
I actually had to think about this before adding my name to Joe Carter's new Evangelical blog directory. I hesitated though. Is it enough that I *think* I am?
Old habits die hard. For a moment I found myself wondering if I should dare throw my lot in with this list, given my present churchless state. What if people come here and decide that I'm terribly backslidden? What kind of evangelical am I? Maybe I shouldn't join up. I don't want to reflect badly on the others.
The rest is worthy of reading in it's entirety. Feeble Knees is, in many ways, my spiritual twin.
MORE: Dave doesn't mention Joe's directory but he too is doing some serious spiritual navel gazing and I found it worth reading, especially this part:
Thankfully, at this time, I also discover GRACE. It's a wonder, because I'm saturated in a fundamentalist culture that increasingly looks to me like it severely lacks grace for those unlucky sinners (gays, cohabitees, liberals, non-Christians), but somehow the message of God's acceptance and forgiveness in Christ is looming ever larger in my thought.
Hmm... me too... although I still have a penchant for dissing liberals... especially those who are more fundamentalistic than most fundamentalists...
YET MORE: Doug Leblanc at GetReligion posts a link to the National Association of Evangelicals statement of faith, convincing me that I can't honestly hold to the label of evangelical any longer, especially if affirming my evagelical status means that I have to believe each and every statement (I confess to having problems with 3 of the 7 tenets).