For all you know, I might have even watched Courageous.
Just thought I'd give our readers someone to blast away at today.
Have at it.
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Them's fightin' words! (Not sure if I should play along).
So before I do, define "mainstream" for me. 'Cause you know, we don't want to end up sayin' the same thing like we always do.
One example (IMO) - it's not necessarily mainstream evangelical to have seen Courageous, but it would definitely be mainstream evangelical to give Courageous a B+ or better.
Well, NHE, since you never actually saw Courageous, I'm not sure what we'd have to talk about. :-)
I'm mainstream in this way: I'm not special, I'm not one of the enlightened ones, I'm not unique, in that I've discovered some depths to the gospel that the unwashed (and, though we don't say it in polite society) stupid regular churchgoers haven't yet.
I'm not further along. I'm not above them. I'm not any more counter-cultural than any one else. I'm not "pre" or "post" anything.
I've got as many things I "do wrong" vis a vis living out the faith as anyone else. And I know I'm blind to most of the areas I'm missing.
I haven't washed my hands of 90% of the people who claim to belong to Jesus. I'm privileged to be a part of them, and - if I could only see things as God sees things - I'd be more in love with them than can be imagined. But in my own halting, imperfect way I love them. They are brothers and sisters to me.
I'm sitting here in my elastic side-boots, in other words. And here is where I will stay.
Well, I have seen Courageous, which is partly why I had to clarify that this doesn't make me mainstream! "C-" BTW (entertaining in spots, but horrifically acted, manipulative, and really, really preachy, but I liked the "Snake Kings" routine and the shoot out at the end).
I do like the the post-American-mainstream-evangelical mindset. It speaks to my soul, and answers my frustrations.
However, that doesn't mean I've washed my hands of 90% of the people who call themselves Christians.
To put it differently, I've found a church that 90% of the people who call themselves "main-stream evangelicals" probably would only visit once........and I love that about the place.
Is that fair?
I'm not enlightened either, but I have come to believe things that I didn't believe 5-10-20 years ago, and it has affected what I will and won't listen to.
However - I would wear the "counter-American-Christian-culture" label as a badge of honor, but on the inside of my shirt. :)
*note - I see a LARGE distinction between calling one's self a Christian and calling one's self a mainstream evangelical
I'm more open to having a beer with the former, as a rule, Bill being among the exceptions :)
I haven't seen "Courageous" but Bill, I think you are not mainstream but unconventional. Any Evangelical who lives out their faith is not milk toast, vanilla, or ordinary.
"I do like the the post-American-mainstream-evangelical mindset. It speaks to my soul, and answers my frustrations."
But contempt for mainstream evangelicals by "post" mainstream evangelicals is no more attractive than contempt for those who are "post" by mainstream evangelicals. I'm not accusing anyone - either Bill or nhe - of writing with contempt. But I know for myself and suspect for any of us, that our frustration may at times bleed over dangerously in that direction. Bill's timely reminder (given the date and anniversary of CSL's death) of the saints in "elastic side boots" is not wholly amiss.
Hopefully though there is middle ground agreement in that at least among those who regularly post and/or comment here, most of us are driven to our opinions by a desire to see the church be ever increasingly what it was meant to be.
True Karl, and to be fair to Bill, I've used "post" terms a few too many times.
I don't want to use labels that divide and that can be used to polarize.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
Gosh, this going as you intended Bill? I was just up for some spirited debate (as always).
It feels though that this has taken a preachy turn (and I'm guilty too).
"I haven't washed my hands of 90% of the people who claim to belong to Jesus."
I get what Bill is saying here, and am at times guilty of the attitude he is protesting - hopefully not usually but sometimes.
But I did find that sentence a little ironic given that most mainstream evangelicals who I know (not you, Bill), HAVE washed their hands of a bunch of people who claim to belong to Jesus - Catholics, liberal Christians, pretty much all who aren't evangelicals.
Overall though, I took the post and Bill's comment in #2 as a good personal reminder not to be contemptuous toward people whose attempts to follow Jesus look different than mine.
True Karl. It seems that this tendency to be contemptuous tends to relate more to moral issues (bikinis and pornography for example:)), than to theological issues.
I know that I struggle with Christians advocating moral causes, but I should not be adversarial about that.....even though it (mostly) drives me nuts!
In the spirit of the comments above regarding Courageous, we could start a Jeff Foxworthy-like "You might be a mainstream evangelical if . . ." list. Then again, that has probably been done somewhere already. Jon Acuff's Stuff Christians Like is the best such example I can think of.
You start Karl, and I'll chime in. I'm too jaded on the subject to take the lead.
I am afraid NHE. Best to leave it to Jon Acuff.