I often joke with my friend Catherine about how we both were on the fringes of fundamentalism when we were in high school and college, and now we are extremely progressive Christians.
In my case, I went to Pacific Lutheran University, which while Lutheran, seemed to attract large numbers of fundamentalists (the faculty were much more liberal than many of the students). I remember being at a bible study my freshman year, in my all-girls’ dorm (which I actually REQUESTED, for God’s sake, because I was rooming with a friend from high school who had a jealous boyfriend back home and didn’t want her to live in a coed dorm). At the bible study, I got into an argument with the other girls because they tried to convince me that my Jewish (and gay) friend from high school would not go to heaven. When I moved into the coed dorm the following year, my whole world opened up. However, I still hung out with some fundamentalists, especially because they had a great folk music (now called "praise”) evening every Wednesday, and I love to sing. I went to some contemporary Christian concerts and hung around the edges.
Then I took feminist theology and my whole concept of religion turned upside down. God is not a father? Women have been excluded from most segments of the church? I left the church for several years and even though I returned when we got married, I really didn’t feel comfortable there until our Lutheran pastor arrived and she really lived out her commitment to inclusive language and embracing different spiritual walks of life. There's still something completely radical to me to take communion and be pastored to by a very cool, wise woman who is my age.
I give you this background to let you know that I know a bit about the Christian evangelical belief system and values. I know some wonderful people who happen to be evangelicals (is that like “my best friend is Black”?). However, I fundamentally (no pun intended) disagree with them on so many things. Because I’m interested in different religions and cultures, I recently read a book analyzing Christian pop culture and saw a movie about the indoctrination of children…Rapture Ready and “Jesus Camp.” I'll tell you more about them in my next post.