Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jars of Clay and Outgrowing Evangelicalism

In July, Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay, posted on his website his experience of being a Christian, a  musician, and why he finds it hard–maybe more than just “hard”–to do that within the world of evangelicalism.

The band’s in a studio trying to finish their latest record–music is down, lyrics are getting polished–and Haseltine has this nagging thought, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

What he really wants to say probably won’t be accepted by the evangelical community because his faith experience is moving him beyond mainstream evangelical views. Yet, those outside of the evangelical mainstream, who might actually like what his band is doing, don’t know who they are because of their long connection with the evangelical subculture. This leaves him in a “middle space,” as he calls it, a socio-religious no-man’s land.

Haseltine isn’t worried about what his evangelical audience might think. In fact, he’s relieved not to feel he has to bend his spirit to conform to an ideal he does not embrace. But he’s not angry. He’s just plain tired.

I am pretty weary from years of pretending to be more of something than I am.  I am tired of carrying evangelical expectations on my shoulders.  I have never been so sure of my faith that I was able to find a true home in the church communities where we played most of our shows.  Our particular style of writing and the perspective that we have written from has not been an easy fit into an artistic community that has such a massive agenda and only a single idea of how that agenda gets accomplished.  I don’t fit there.  I may have at one point.  I did grow up as a youth group kid wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Jesus on it.  I did drive a car with a “Christian” bumper sticker on it.  And at one point, I was sure of who God was, and how God operated.  But I am not that way now.  And so it is impossible to write from that old version of myself. I am in the middle space.
Honestly, this makes me wonder what is going on behind the scenes within evangelicalism. I've heard these types of stories before, with Derek Webb being a prime example.

For the rest, enjoy it here.


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