As I somewhat expected, the reaction to my post published yesterday was strong, from various perspectives. Love, hate, etc. I’m grateful for friends and connections who were comfortable enough to share their honest feedback with me. Rather than rehash my thinking and my possible errors I wanted to show you a conversation I had with a pastor after he read my post and contacted me. This follows below.
I usually love your posts/articles, and have quoted them in my messages. This post is hateful, extreme, and beneath you.
PS- I am a life-long Democrat recently changed to Independent who did not vote for Trump.
Pastor (name hidden)
Dear Pastor (name hidden)-
I appreciate you reaching out. I hope you know my writing well enough to know I would never purposely intend something hateful.
I did my best to be clear this was how white evangelicals are perceived. I doubt any of those statements (in the post) are reflected in you. They aren’t reflective of me. But I do generally believe it is how a variety of outsiders see us. And I think it would do us some good to recognize that instead of rationalizing it.
I used some hyperbole to make that point. I recognize that. My apologies if I did a poor job of writing clearly.
Do you think my statements are reflective of our perception?
Thank you for your response. We all use hyperbole to get a point across…Jesus used it extensively (“plank in the eye, swallow a camel”…), and I do not disagree that many view Christians/Evangelicals as you portrayed. I am also not unaware that many of those Klansmen attend church somewhere on Sundays. But just like “all Nazis were German” doesn’t mean “all Germans were Nazis”.
To equate the lynchings, cross-burnings and murder done in the name of the vile and evil KKK to a typical Christian evangelical is deeply unfair, and just perpetuates the stereotype that you note that the world has of Christians.
I pastor a small church that is app. 20% black, 20% hispanic, 5% Asian and 55% white. I had to think of these percentages just now, as we don’t categorize people that way, and in fact are much more likely to categorize people by age groups. I am very proud of our diversity, and cannot imagine a church where race is considered something to be concerned about. I am ashamed of some of the history of the white church, more because of what we have ignored, but I also embrace the fact that the Church was the leading force in emancipation and justice in our nation as well.
I look forward to your articles…this one just felt like throwing fuel on a bonfire. It is a tragic time, and as a pastor and a father, I am embarrassed and sickened by recent events in our country. This last election was the first that my 16 year-old daughter was old enough to follow closely, and I apologized to her many times over the fact that it was so base and ugly, and that the “final four” candidates surely were the worst ever presented in history…at least in the last 100 years!
Thanks for your response!
Pastor (name hidden)
Lastly another good friend of mine who took exception to the post shared this wonderful quote to me and I will leave it here without comment because it stands on its own.
“…most of the key leaders in the Civil Rights movement were evangelicals who were motivated by their faith and a deep sense of how Christian ethics should influence not just individuals, but also cultures—especially cultures that claimed to be strongly influenced by Christianity, such as the Jim Crow South. Like abolition in the 19th century, the Civil Rights movement had a strongly evangelical flavor.” -Nathan Finn (quoted from here