There are strange relatives in every 'family', people we would rather not claim.
That's a good way of looking at it.
"Evangelical", like "liberal", is one of those skunked words. It can mean just about anything.
Some years ago some British evangelicals I knew (electronically) went to work for an evangelistic organisation in the USA. They suffered from culture shock, because they found themselves among US evangelicals who simply assumed that right-wing political views were normative for Christians. Their US colleagues found their moderately left-wing views were bordering on heresy.
2006-01-08 11:38 am (UTC)
I experienced something like that myself.
I was on the fringe of the charismatic movement in the 70s and, full of the joys of the spirit, went to a public showing of some films from an American evangelical source. And they were all about the Rapture and how evolution had been disproved and I came away thinking, what the hell have I got myself into here?
2006-01-08 07:17 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, the 70s.
I saw a couple of those films -- The burning hell and A thief in the night.
They showed one of them in our churchm and my wife and I could not stop giggling at the ham acting and the sight of a bunch of middle-class Americans running around the desert in their dressing gowns and falling into cracks in the earth.
I nearly fell off my perch when after the film a bunch of black teenagers (pretty remote from American culture) went forward at the "altar call", repenting in tears.
God works in mysterious ways, sometimes very mysterious ways.
There are some very moral and conscientious evangelicals, but they tend not to be the ones shrieking their outrage on Fox News, unfortunately.
I've known some. One of the modern day Christians I most admire- David Shephard, the former Bishop of Liverpool- was an evangelical.
Pat Robertson probably wears a tinfoil helmet to keep Satan from beaming liberal thoughts into his head. I don't think he's anyone's spiritual descendant.
The troubling thing is he's so powerful.
2006-01-08 02:50 pm (UTC)
He is no one's spiritual descendent
That's a good point, I think. Just because Pat R. calls himself a representative (or even leader) of evangelicalism doesn't mean those early guys are responsible for him!
Pat Robertson is just gross. Even the White House (*shudder*) shot him down for his latest STUPIDITY.
Good for the White House!
I didn't think I'd be writing that sentence until after the next election (at the earliest.)
Well that may well be the only good thing that they have done...
I think that the original points of evangelicalism have been lost in a tide of zealotry and apology- especially in the US. The rising tide of fundementalism, along with the enroaching tenets of Dominionism and Christian nationalism have stripped the original meaning from evangelicism, and replaced it with hate, intolerance, and political interference.
It's sad, really. The zealots in the US have smeared the entire faith, and now when I hear someone say in that certain tone of voice, "I am a Christian", it's like a warning label. I just wish that the moderate and liberal Christians would stand up to these people. It's beginning to happen, but it's almost too little, too late. We're sliding into a dictatorial theocracy.
It's happening even in England. The Church of England, so long a byword for balance and moderation and compromise, is being severely pressured by its evangelical wing to get tough over things like gay clergy.
Poor Archbishop Williams- a pleasant, scholarly man who writes poetry in Welsh is having a hell of a job holding things together.
This morning a local TV preacher was telling people that God buried Moses but that Elias (oh, somebody) got picked up in a whirlwind and taken to heaven.
He said, "God's trying to tell us something by putting that into the Bible."
He went on to say that Moses was still on earth, somewhere, in the ground. And he wasn't in Heaven, either, because "Judgement Day hasn't come."
He's in between, said the preacher--and he said Jesus said our bodies were Houses, and that he said he would go ahead to prepare us a place, and it would be a House but not built with stones.
So, says the preacher, until Judgement Day we (proviso: IF we are "saved") get to rent a spirit house until we get judged, and then, of course, lots of us get evicted and sent Below.
HOW DOES HE KNOW? Is it because of God writing the Bible with His Golden Pen?
You'd think God might have worked a little harder at making his meaning clear.
Why didn't he come right out and say all this stuff about Moses being in the earth and what it implies.
And as for the business with the houses- how very, very complicated!
so does that mean that god's s been watching re-runs of property ladder on one of those late night cable channels!?