Yesterday I made a brief post. In that post I shared a link to Andy Campbell’s (terrific) post on the “3 Features of Future Evangelicalism.” I linked to Andy’s post for a few of reasons: 1) it is excellent and rather thought-provoking; 2) Andy’s post highlights what I believe to be three key components of #futuregospel; and, 3) I’ve found that I’m stuck. In other words, I pointed to Andy’s post because he says something of substance about the future of evangelicalism (and the gospel), whereas I have felt as if I have had
little nothing of substance to share.
I’ve spent some time thinking about why that is and here is what I’ve come up with:
- What I’ve had the urge to share has been negative. I’ve wanted to spout out about what the future of the church, evangelicalism and the gospel is not. While deconstruction is important, the task of tearing down is much easier than that of building up. Demolition happens much quicker and comes much easier than the long, arduous work of construction. Over the years I’ve had plenty of things to say about what is wrong, but I’ve had very little to say about the way forward. The way forward is what I want to say something substantive about.
- The period at the end of that sentence terrifies me. That tiny punctuation marks means that I would be making a statement, and statements feel final and appear to not be open to further discussion or revision. At the end of the day that is why we are having this discussion about the future of the gospel –– some years back people made statements regarding the future of the gospel as they saw it and, now, those statements are shown to be inadequate and/or outdated.
- I find that the question evokes a profound sense of discomfort and disequilibrium in that I’m not exactly sure whether the answer should be context specific (local) or framed in generalities (more global). While there is overlap between the two, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that “good news” (gospel) looks and feels different depending on the locality in which it is lived/proclaimed/expressed.
- Having been raised in a conservative evangelical subculture to suggest that the future of the gospel may be different (or look different) than the present and/or past gospel is scary. It makes the gospel sound so relative. Why this sparks such unease, I’m not really sure. My beliefs have undergone a great deal of revision and change. My ties with the conservative evangelical subculture of my youth have for the most part disintegrated. Yet, there is a fear that remains; a fear that lingers to the extent that it causes me to be hesitant about ‘throwing my hat into the ring,’ so to speak.
All of this to say, at the moment, I find myself wrestling with a question hoping that in the days ahead I can offer something of substance (a statement or two or three) to enhance and further the conversation. For now, I deal with my own baggage.
Anyone else struggling with contributing something of substance to this conversation? What is the source of the struggle for you?