The past two weeks I’ve returned to the land of the evangelicals.
It all started with promising to drive some ladies to out bible study reunion out in the mountains. It was a beautiful weekend and I enjoyed going for hikes and our unconventional host’s fantastic martinis. Sunrise in the mountains almost made up for missing a livingroom dance party. Almost.
During the weekend, I did a fairly good job of staying quiet. However, I failed to respond enthusiastically enough to one woman’s ‘miracle’ of painting a sunset over a hill on the family farm in the exact place her grandfather had once seen a sunset. But she didn’t know until after she painted it that her grandfather had also seen a sunset there! Suspicious at my weak “oh, I’m glad to hear you are painting again”, she began to interrogate me on my spiritual state.
I remained polite and answered honestly and carefully until she started to get aggressive. I assume she thought she was ‘loving’ me by letting me know she disapproved of our family time Sundays. She asked questions like how often I met with others to discuss spiritual things. I told her I talk about it with friends and online. She asked what I was learning. I talked about how learning about who wrote each book of the bible and comparing them to each other was really helping me understand it. She wanted to know specific examples. She was impatient when I asked for a few minutes to think of something she might appreciate and refused to give me a minute to think.
By then I was mad, so I told her the most freeing thing about what I was learning was that I no longer felt obligated to make the morality of the bible make sense. I was free to call genocide, rape, slavery, and torture plain evil. Of course she didn’t like this and tried to justify why genocide was good. It felt good to turn the tables on her and start interrogating her as to how she could possibly promote such cruelty.
Then I learned that this church I had been involved with, who lost members for being too moderate, is now promoting Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill as “good bible teaching”. This woman and her husband love Mark. Here is a story about Mark and another couple. Heartbreaking and disgusting. http://matthewpaulturner.net/jesus-needs-new-pr/exorcism-at-mars-hill-one-womans-story/
The rest of the weekend went much better. The group who wouldn’t drink with us also wouldn’t miss Sunday service so they left a day early. The group who stayed preferred to talk about half-naked guys on TV shows and movies. It was entertaining.
Another day, by unfortunate timing, I was introduced to an immigrant couple as a former missionary. Then I had to pray for them. During the impromptu prayer meeting Lil’T grew really uncomfortable. She said that she didn’t feel safe. Given that several of the prayers weren’t in English, and that some people got really emotional and trance-like, I can understand.
All of this has resulted in being invited to a bible study with the non-teetotalers where they talk about ‘controversial’ topics like Mormonism, homosexuality and different concepts of heaven. I’m actually excited!
I am also scheduled to go to 3 church events in the next little while. One of which, I’ll be sharing a talk called “How Not to talk to Atheists and Agnostics”.