December 12, 2018

Lisa Gungor: I Found Unbelief through Pastoring A Megachurch

Lisa Gungor’s new book is called The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen: Opening Your Eyes to Wonder. It is the story of her transformation from serving in a megachurch and singing in a Dove Award-winning Christian band to a painful and wondrous journey in the post-evangelical wilderness.

You can read more of the details over at Relevant, where Tyler Huckabee chronicles “The Evolving Faith of Lisa Gungor.”

For today, here is a video where Lisa describes some of that journey in her own words.

• • •

Comments

  1. I’m of half a mind to look up the Gungors tomorrow here in Denver. I know I won’t, but it’s not for lack of common, Front Range ground.

    I’ve been digesting this blog for the better part of a decade. And the worse part of a decade, for that matter. Like a Playboy Magazine, I affect to read it for the articles, I suppose, but it’s primarily the comments that keep me coming back. (I would also suggest including an actual angel as a centerfold — if Chaplain Mike is OK with it.)

    Robert F’s haikus and literary working-man’s insights arrest my attention (and may his wife continue her recovery.) Adam TW shows how to be opinionated without being insufferable. Mike the Geologist reminds me that thoughtful scientists can and do exhibit a robust traditional faith, and Mike Bell displays what I think of as a tenacious tranquility in his canoe-aided journey through the wilderness.

    Christine’s struggles to understand evangelical subculture as a Catholic show how hard it can be to understand communities from the outside. And Dana introduces a gentle yet thorough EO viewpoint to so many conversations, complementing Mule’s congenitally irascible tone (he has eight to choose from, after all.) HUG is HUG, and deserves more than one. And will someone please just get John Barry to a punnery already. I’ll pay the cab fare.

    And, of course, Chaplain Mike just simply chaps.

    Yet as I listen to Lisa Gungor speak, I can’t help but admit that, after a long and winding road, today I too find myself in Klassie’s Classy Class.

    For, perhaps like Lisa – or more likely, her husband – the move to unbelief feels a lot like Hemmingway’s description of how one goes bankrupt: gradually, gradually, then all at once. My own reasons are the usual mix of the conventional and the idiosyncratic, and are thus not of general interest.

    What is of general interest is that there simply ARE ever more people like me and Klassie and the Gungors. And the thought that keeps coming to mind (I’ll not presume to speak for Lisa) is: “It shouldn’t be this easy.” Current politico-religious events haven’t been the primary reasons in my case (I keep telling myself), but they most certainly have accelerated the process for me.

    As some of us shed a skin that no longer seems to fit, I worry that we lack a deep appreciation of the vacuums that are being created in society. Nature doesn’t even like brooms.

    I’m not one of those budding secularists who thinks that if only people would embrace rationalism and move out from under the shadow of the Almighty, then a thousand flowers could finally bloom in the sunshine of the Enlightenment. No, as Robert F frequently reminds us, the rise of white nationalism, for example, seems to have more to do with a Nordic pagan fantasy than anything deeply Christian. Western Europe’s resurgent nationalism isn’t about Muslim migrants’ failure to become Christians; it’s about their failure to adopt secular norms.

    My hope for Lisa and her family is that they’re able to find community and peace in what’s been a turbulent time. And I hope most of all, that as more of us swim the [Whatever Body of Water Atheists Swim and Styx Isn’t Funny] we will cheer on those who continue to push for a kinder, gentler worldview within their own religious communities.

    We’re all still in this together, after all – and all the more so if this is all there is.

    • It is good to be a fellow traveler with you, Trevis.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      No, as Robert F frequently reminds us, the rise of white nationalism, for example, seems to have more to do with a Nordic pagan fantasy than anything deeply Christian.

      Haven’t we seen that one before?
      With such racist mystical societies as Thule Geselleschaft(sp)?
      And its bastard offspring of the Hakenkreuz?

  2. Susan Dumbrell says:

    ………And then there is us who walk upside down on our blue planet. We are just some of the Aussie watchers and commentators,
    Pelican who is a Taswegian and I, Susan who is a New South Welshman/Woman.
    I am sure there are others of us watching out there.

    We show our roots to the early explorers to our vast and mercyless land.

    Our politics is in upheaval but not as complicated as the USA.
    Every headline must put fear in the mouths of the average reader.

    Pelican, thank you for the link to DailyLectio.net
    I have been using it every day since you suggested it.

    We have Megga churches but no to the same extent as the US.

    I guess we can be thankful for the distance between your culture and our more laid back relationship with each other and to to God .

    May we all be blessed,

    Susan

  3. Not a comment specifically on the Gungors, but a generality:

    I’m really annoyed by the money-making, influential platform that unbelief has given people.

    Same as the fundamental-to-progressive journey. Or vice versa. Platforms in general, really.

    (You know The Liturgists podcast is going to see a spike in listens in these next few weeks).

    I’m more and more inclined to listen to people who live their story by choosing obscurity.

    (And I think IM is a fair place for regular people like ourselves to work out our story, in relative obscurity).

    • Totally with you on platforms, Sean. And thanks, I hope IM will be that “room” where we can talk to one another, and not as a way of drawing attention to ourselves.

    • For the Gungors, it sort of happened the other way around: they were given a platform where they were famous and had to present a certain image to satisfy the evangelical world, and the change in their faith happened after that, or perhaps even because of it. It seems like they were unable to process questions of faith in a healthy way because of having to wear a mask, so when things fell apart they all fell apart at once.

      In terms of platforms, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to want to hear the stories of people who have wrestled with difficult questions about God and the world and themselves and come to a deeper and more satisfying understanding in response to those questions. If someone’s going to have a platform, that’s far better than just giving it to people who have spent their whole lives curating a perfect Christian image on the surface by ignoring what’s going on in the depths of who they are. Unfortunately, evangelicalism more often gives a voice to people like the young 20-something Gungors than to the late 30-something Gungors.

      On the other hand, given how destructive it seems to be for anyone to become a public figure who has to wear a mask to please some crowd, I do agree that none of us should aspire toward that sort of fame.

  4. senecagriggs says:

    I’m always interested in “the end game.” You make choices/decisions now; how does it play out over the years? Ultimately does it end well?

    If you walk away from the faith, does it end well?

    If you join the trek to the “evangelical wilderness,” does it end well?

    If you desert the “old paths, does it end well?

    If you follow the current cultural trajectory, does it end well?

    If you chose to “deconstruct” Scripture, does it end well?

    So, how will it end for the Gungors?

    • My response:

      If it leads one to a more honest faith, a fuller identification with my fellow human beings, a more realistic understanding of the world, a more committed life of doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God — yes, it will end well.

      If it leads to a more narcissistic existence in which the world revolves around myself, my opinions, and a stubborn insistence that my way is right, separating me from others and keeping me from a life of genuine love, then no, it won’t end well.

      • senecagriggs says:

        “If it leads to a more narcissistic existence in which the world revolves around myself, my opinions, and a stubborn insistence that my way is right, separating me from others and keeping me from a life of genuine love, then no, it won’t end well.”

        Subtle shot C.M.? grin

        • No, actually it wasn’t. It was a shot more at what Sean wrote about. In our day when self-absorption and self-promotion seems more prevalent than ever, people who have a platform can make even the poignancy of their journey something they can really cash in on. We ran a post several weeks ago by Ron Rolheiser about how restlessness and spiritual wandering may not lead us in the right direction or to good ends. That’s more what I had in mind.

      • Well said, CM.

    • “If you walk away from the faith, does it end well?” – Nit all paths are straight lines.

      “If you join the trek to the “evangelical wilderness,” does it end well?” – Depends on Who’s out there in the wilderness with you.

      “If you desert the “old paths, does it end well?” – That ENTIRELY depends on where those old paths lead. Especially the broad and easy ones.

      “If you follow the current cultural trajectory, does it end well?” – in the long run, all cultures meet their end. The better question is, where is the current culture right, and where is it wrong?

      “If you chose to “deconstruct” Scripture, does it end well?” – your surety that your interpretation of Scripture IS the original intended meaning is one of those “old paths” you should consider wandering away from.

      “So, how will it end for the Gungors?” – That’s God’s problem – not ours.

    • If the Bible is correct when it teaches that God’s ways are beyond our understanding, then the one thing we can be certain of is that all of us hold wrong beliefs about God.

      And if it is true that some of our beliefs are wrong, the only way that we can identify wrong beliefs and grow into a better understanding of God or ourselves or the world is by questioning those beliefs. If we are afraid to question, we will not grow. And if God is truth, seeking truth wholeheartedly will lead us deeper into God.

      In the process, rather than deserting the “old paths,” many of us have found that modern evangelicalism itself was a departure from the path, and that when we wander out into the wilderness we find the prints of many Christian feet that have gone before us. There are understandings of how to read Scripture, the nature of salvation, how prayer works, etc. that are far more ancient and far more faithful than anything that modern evangelical teaches.

    • Your comments, and this one especially, belie an underlying fear I think you have, Seneca, that God is not in control. Which is probably ironic, considering you strike me as a person who espouses “God is in control” to yourself and others quite frequently.

      Do you really fear the answers to the questions your raise in your comment here? Do really you fear them for others, and for yourself? Are you really going to keep God in the small box you insist on shoving him into, claiming He’s in control yet unable to see these people through to the other side, someway, somehow, through the blood of Jesus Christ?

      You’re enslaved to Bible literacy, Seneca. You’re full of fear that God really isn’t in control. You need to discover a bigger God, the God of the Bible, who came to earth to somehow save us all through His son Jesus. There’s a lot of freedom and peace when you can put those set of questions away and not worry about them, or cause others to become burdened by them.

      • “Enslaved to Bible LITERALISM” that should read. It would help my sermonizing if I got the word right. 🙂

      • senecagriggs says:

        You got the wrong man Rick Ro. I ABSOLUTELY believe in the total sovereignty of God – the God who has never, ever said, “Oops.”

        BUT I’m constantly surprised by people’s willingness to believe other’s post or comments without stepping back and saying, “We’ll see how this plays out.”

        Not at all sure why people “lost in the wilderness” think it’s a grand thing for others to also become lost in the wilderness.

        • Because in God’s eyes, the wilderness is better than Egypt… or even Jerusalem at times.

        • I’m not sure I see people saying “Join me in the wilderness, it’s great,” I see them saying, “If you find yourself there, there are others there, too, and it’s safe. Fear not.”

        • Sen, there are two things much more important than God’s sovereignty. Understanding a bit about those things has helped me more than any and all other assertions about “god”.

          The first is God’s Humility. True Love never forces anything. Think about it – think long and hard about it.

          The second is the reality that Jesus Christ is the full revelation of exactly who “god” is. There is no other god standing behind Jesus – especially not one with a big stick ready to whomp anyone who doesn’t adhere to “his standard”.

          I think those two things are the most important understandings in orthodox (little “o” intentional) Christianity. Any teaching that would gainsay either is just plain wrong.

          Dana

          • Clay Crouch says:

            Amen.

          • senecagriggs says:

            Actually Dana, I can’t think of anything more important that the sovereignty of God.

            • If it’s so important, why did Jesus say so much more about God’s love than His sovereignty?

            • Well, we differ. Sovereignty happens, but not by force or micromanaging. True Love never forces, and to work providentially in the life of every human being requires a God who is greater and more imaginative (if you will) than a Grand Chessmaster. That kind of god is cold, demanding… transactional – not Who we see on the cross allowing his creation to do him in.

              Think about it.

              Dana

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Actually Dana, I can’t think of anything more important that the sovereignty of God.

              Calvin and Mohammed are in full agreement.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Your comments, and this one especially, belie an underlying fear I think you have, Seneca, that God is not in control. Which is probably ironic, considering you strike me as a person who espouses “God is in control” to yourself and others quite frequently.

        The two go together.
        You smother your doubt by Looping the Party Line as a Thoughtstopper.

    • Seneca, I find some irony in your questions, given that evangelicalism itself fits most of those questions.

      “If you walk away from the faith, does it end well?”

      Evangelicalism itself is a departure from the faith and practice of the church for most of its history, and it certainly looks very little like the faith and practice of the early (first-century) Christians. The list of books and articles on the faith, practice, and sociology of the early church is long and well documented. Your ‘evangelical faith’ is not the ‘faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (at least the first-century saints). Sorry.

      “If you join the trek to the “evangelical wilderness,” does it end well?”

      Look how well evangelicalism is doing in America. Look how different the faith and practice of evangelicals is from most conservative Christians in other parts of the world. The first Michael Spencer post I read (recommended by a friend) was ‘The Coming Evangelical Collapse’ (https://internetmonk.com/archive/64287). While all this might not have happened yet, his trajectory is looking pretty much on target. Its likely that the Christianity that survives the 21st century won’t look much like evangelicalism, though I’m sure there will always be a minority evangelical ‘remnant’ (like the Anabaptist remnants of today – the Amish and some very conservative Mennonites).

      “If you desert the “old paths, does it end well?”

      American evangelicalism is itself a departure from the ‘old paths’. It owes far more to western modernism, the Enlightenment, the American frontier revival movement, and the ‘American Dream’ (as defined by 1950s white suburbanism) than it does the Bible. The reasons there are so many post-evangelicals, and why evangelicalism is not being embraced by young people, probably have far more to do with people seeing ‘the emperor has no clothes’ than any conscious desire to ‘abandon the faith’. After I left evangelicalism I found my faith, something far more genuine than I found in almost 40 years in evangelicalism, and far more tied to the faith of Christians for the last 2000 years.

      “If you follow the current cultural trajectory, does it end well?”

      How does evangelicalism’s current trajectory look? It has been profoundly shaped by American culture (without realizing it, though many scholars, such as Mark Noll, have noted that). Now that American culture is changing, evangelicals are trying to hold onto a culture that they identify as part and parcel of their faith (even essential to it). But the mythical ‘Christian Nation’ is not coming back, because it never was. Evangelicals are having a very hard time with this (the election of the current president notwithstanding).

      “If you chose to “deconstruct” Scripture, does it end well?”

      What you consider ‘deconstructing’ Scripture many (including the professors at the conservative evangelical seminary I attended) would call ‘hermeneutics’ – the art and science of interpreting the Bible. And evangelicalism has desconstructed Scripture in a unique and uniquely American way (e.g. https://biologos.org/uploads/projects/Noll_scholarly_essay.pdf). Its approach to the Bible (particularly its emphasis on inerrancy and insistence on young-earth creationism) is a departure from that of the historic church. What many modern biblical scholars (like N. T. Wright and Scott McKnight) are doing is pointing out how wrong western Christians, particularly evangelicals have gotten it. Deconstruction can lead to a more accurate and faithful understanding of the Bible, and more respectful of it, than evangelical biblicism. I think it will end very well.

    • I thought the “end game” was when Thanos comes…

      • That would be Thanos, sovereign loving Thanos, the One who decides 50% must die for the benefit of the 50% he decides to let live, right? That’s an awesome end game!

        I know many people who disliked that movie, but I found it quite intriguing from a Christian/spiritual perspective. And if I were to write the sequel, I’m sure it would take the story in a whole different direction than I’m sure they’ll go.

        • Iain Lovejoy says:

          The god who decides 50% must be killed for the benefit of 50% to be saved sounds like a sappy, hippy version of the Calvinist god who decides that the vast bulk of people have not just to be killed but suffer eternally and then for his own glory rather than any benefit to the remnant saved. I’ll take Thanos any day.

  5. For the back story behind Michael Gungor losing and reclaiming his faith, I highly recommend listening to the “Lost and Found” Liturgists podcasts (just google for “liturgists lost and found podcast”). It’s two incredibly powerful stories from two different people of how letting go of a faith that no longer makes sense to you can pave the way for experiencing God in a much richer and deeper way. If those two podcasts don’t make you cry multiple times, there’s probably something wrong with you. 🙂

    • sometimes people ‘lose’ that which ‘never was’ a real thing to their soul, even though in their minds they thought it was a ‘belief’ . . . .

      life is hard on people and there are times when we are pulled up short and hit with reality like a punch in the gut, and in those moments, what was not digested into our ‘soul’ and into our ‘spirit’ may fall away . . . like something we ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to have been believing but when the pain came, it wasn’t real to us

      so what happens then?

      likely a kind of re-integration where we come to that place of ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief’ . . . . that is a humbled place where in our pain, we become aware of a gentle Presence that comes near without intruding but is there to be ‘with’ . . . .

      atheism? agnosticism? or maybe something more:
      an honest preface to the time when one will say ‘help Thou my unbelief’

  6. @Seneca… did you read the linked article by chance? Tell me, if you would, how you explain this…

    ““I clearly remember looking at Michael and saying, ‘Gosh. I thought an atheist would look different than this.’ He didn’t become a different person,” Lisa recalls. “I think there was this idea in my head that once you don’t believe in God, now he’s gonna cheat on me and murder people. What [is he] gonna do? Have sex with everyone? And I was like, Wow, he is still a great father. He’s committed to me. His moral compass didn’t break and disintegrate.”

    It’s easy to believe that a loss of faith will mean a loss of not just your defining attributes but your own humanity, but Lisa says that was not the case, and she found that hugely reassuring.”

    • senecagriggs says:

      I did indeed read the article Eeyore.

      “She found that hugely reassuring.”

      She’s young Eeyore – the end game is probably a long ways off. She made a statement that got published.

      Tell me how she’s doing 30 years down the road.

      [ You would think someone named Eeyore wouldn’t believe in unicorns and fairydust – smile ]

  7. The saddest part are the opinions of the clueless folks in the comments at the Relevant site. The Gungors weren’t really believers in the first place because real believers obviously never have doubts and fears!

    • Burro (Mule) says:

      Those hurt to read, didn’t they?

      Lord have mercy. I myself would have said the same thing at another time in my life.

      • Hello Burro,
        what changed you? Did you have an ‘epiphany’?

      • Burro (Mule) says:

        Just that I’m not a Calvinist any more.

        Still racist xenophobic (not really afraid of foreigners, just don’t like ’em) misogynist and a gender essentialist

        But no longer a Calvinist.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The Gungors weren’t really believers in the first place because real believers obviously never have doubts and fears!

      I vaguely remember a book from around 40 years ago by Swiss psychologist Paul Tournier — The Strong and the Weak. About “strong reactions” and “weak reactions” at a very deep level in the personality.

      And Hell hath no torment like that of someone of Weak Reactions surrounded by Strong. Doubt assails you constantly, the world around you is complex with few if any all-Black and all-White Boolean dichotomies, and when you say anything about it you get “O Ye of Little FAITH… Tsk. Tsk.” from those Whose Faith Faith Faith has never wavered since they Said the Magic Words. The Perfect Christians(TM),God;’s Speshul Pets, all Serene, all Calm, all Utter FAITH, never had an instant of doubt or anything bad ever happen to them since the Altar Call, angels bearing them up 24/7 so they never ever ever struck their foot against a stone…

  8. Check out the work of James Fowler and Scott Peck on the stages of faith.

    • senecagriggs says:
      • Clay Crouch says:

        Your cynicism is as blinding as it is selective. Why don’t you try turning that fun house mirror on your own religious experience. It must be exhausting perusing the internet for examples of folks you don’t like having failings and failures. How sad. Maybe you could show us what True Believer really looks like?

        • senecagriggs says:

          I am not banned from T.W.W., but they read my post before they publish them.
          Let’s be honest here Clay.

          I’ve been working thru the O.T. in this last year – painfully. You want to know about life and God? The O.T. has it in spades.

          I like reading novels – George Heyer and Louis L’Amour. I think I have all their books on my Kindle. I loved the late Vince Flynn.

          I wish the more liberal/progressive religious types were less dishonest about those who would refer to themselves as Evangelicals – which is primarily a perspective on Scripture.

          I liked M. Scott Peck initially, But I don’t think his life ultimately reflected what he wrote – “Women” ended up being a problem, [ if you believe adultery is a problem.]

          I despise self help books; psych books – pretty shallow. I don’t read them.

          ______
          Most importantly:
          When people “leave” Evangelicalism, doesn’t that actually mean they abandon looking at Scripture from the historic, orthodox perspective. Evangelicalism is just a term that references a perspective on the Word of God.
          Evangelicalism is a pretty big tent in so many ways; except for the perspective on Scripture – authored by God, in no need of revision.

          Here’s the challenge Clay; give me a topic you wish to honestly discuss [ you as an Episcopalian and me as a theologically oriented orthodox believer] and I’ll be glad to share what I believe and why I believe it. I’m good to go Clay.

      • I wasn’t a fan of his, but you don’t get to make the call on whether or not M. Scott Peck failed the “end game.” You don’t even know what the “end game” is, or when it happens. None of us do. Maybe you could consider getting rid of the hubris.

      • Clay Crouch says:

        I suspect that you’re in way over your head.

        Lest we conclude that you are simply a troll who enjoys throwing rocks at folks from behind a bush and have no real intention to engage in honest dialogue, please share what was the last book you read that challenged you and caused you to examine your life.

        You also need to come clean about your banishment from TWW. Trust me, you’ll feel better when you do.

    • For some good case studies on sociopathic behavior—and at Wartburg Watch we’ve had a few discussions on them—read Scott Peck’s People of the Lie.

      PastorM—did Peck write on the stages of faith? I have a book by him on the stages of community building, and it was very helpful: The Different Drum.

  9. Burro (Mule) says:

    The Gungors have a special place in my cramped and twisted heart. Their trilogy Spirit, Soul, andBody has been the only specifically Christian artistic product I have been able to listen to since Iona went SJW.

    Body is the best by half a pace.

    When I first read Lisa Gungor’s counter-testimony in the accompanying article, I remember thinking ‘Oh, here’s another sensitive soul Evangelical Christianity’s fucked over. There’s getting to be a lot of them.’ The truth, as usual, is lot stranger and less comfortable.

    • Sometimes these ‘sensitive souls’ NEED to ‘wander’ before they can ‘wonder’ again.

      It’s not such a bad thing to be an outcast from a hard ball fundamentalist denomination where someone’s spirit suffered, but those who cast a person away either outright or by example, may be setting the person free to go in a good direction

      What is that LOTR phrase from Tolkien? ‘not all who wander are lost’

      A hymn was once written from an old Appalachian phrase . . . .
      ‘I wonder as I wander out under the sky’

      leaving a toxic place is a step forward in a good direction, you bet

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        THE RIDDLE OF STRIDER
        or
        THE SONG OF ARAGORN

        All that is gold does not glitter,
        Not all those who wander are lost;
        The old that is strong does not wither,
        Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
        From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
        A light from the shadows shall spring;
        Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
        The crownless again shall be king.

    • I don’t think Iona has gone SJW. Jo’s just super involved with helping refugees after they land in Europe. As far as I know, the rest of the band is working on their own musical projects and get together sometimes for a studio album. I might be mistaken, but that’s the sense I get.

      Dana

  10. Lisa Gungor: I Found Unbelief through Pastoring A Megachurch

    Pastoring? She pastored a church by leading the worship music? Is that the common idea in the evangelical world? Really? I hope she’s on the path to learning, if she hasn’t learned already, that leading the congregation in song and music is not “pastoring”, and that she was not a pastor. I wonder if the megachurch she was involved in actually had a real pastor.

    • Depends on how you define “real pastor”. If my experience with large evangelical churches is any indication, certainly they will have had a head preacher who talks on Sunday mornings and represents the congregation at all the big conferences. But someone who’s actually involved in the lives, messes, sicknesses and deaths of the congregation? That would be an entirely separate guy, if anyone on staff was directly involved with that at all.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Depends on how you define “real pastor”.

        All too often it’s “Mine, NOT Thine” mixed with “No True Scotsman”.

  11. Greg at 6:45 p.m. said it best, I think.

    Like N.T. Wright, I came to a place where I didn’t believe anymore in the god described by Evangelicalism, nor could I believe in the transactional relationship Lisa describes. I got to that place through a combination of things. Like Lisa, life brought situations that didn’t fit neatly (or at all) into the boxes Evangelicals drew around those situations, including providing adequate understanding of the problem of suffering and theodicy. I also got there through studying Scripture, praying, and starting to read about what Christians believed and how they worshiped in the first few hundred years. Hard on those heels came my discovery of EOrthodoxy.

    In terms of Evangelicalism, I suppose I’m a “heretic” (although the term is actually very specific in describing those who do not believe in the Trinity and/or who Jesus is in relation to the Trinity and humanity, and who teach such wrong belief – the correct term for not believing other points of doctrine is “heterodox”). I’ve been in the Orthodox Church nearly 10 years; my husband (E’ical, currently attending a Foursquare church) believes I’ve nearly fallen away from Christian faith – he admits I’m still a Christian, but just barely – I do everything “Christians” do, but I do all of it the wrong way (“not Biblical”). So, I lost almost all the faith I had – and, as we sing near the end of every Divine Liturgy, after Holy Communion, I “have seen the True Light… received the Heavenly Spirit… found the True Faith, worshiping the undivided Trinity Who has saved us.”

    Yup. Greg at 6:45 p.m.

    Dana

    • Thanks Dana. Your experience sounds a lot like mine. Evangelicalism simply didn’t deliver on what it promised. It’s a faith that, at least in my case, didn’t correspond well with reality. It’s amazing how much your theology can change when ‘life’ happens (and my experience in churches left me questioning doctrines such as regeneration – I have seen little real evidence of that, in others or myself, and much to suggest otherwise). For the first 30 years my faith was unshakable – I was certain, because ‘certainty’ is what it’s all about (which is a poor substitute for faith). But I really became a heretic not by disregarding the Bible but by taking it seriously. One of the dangers of academic biblical studies is that when you realize how little the faith of evangelicals resembles that of the early Christians you can find yourself a ‘man without a country’ (or ‘person without a country’, which is where I am now, and have been for almost 20 years). I found Anglicanism to be an improvement but the particular church we jointed (ACNA) was really too much like the evangelical churches we had attended. Maybe EO is where we’ll end up. I am intrigued by it, but there aren’t many EO churches in my neck of the woods (and where I live there’s a lot of woods).

      Blessings,

      Greg

      • Well, for a start you can read Fr Stephen Freeman’s blog, and see what you think 🙂

        Blessings to you, too.

        D.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It’s a faith that, at least in my case, didn’t correspond well with reality. It’s amazing how much your theology can change when ‘life’ happens

        A continuing tag line of radio talk-host Rich Buhler:
        “God Lives in the Real World.”