Wednesday, 24 July 2013

In Which I Enter a Familiar Yet Foreign Land

Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken," speaks of two roads, diverging from one another,and according to physics diverging lines do no re-intersect each other after their initial point of contact. However, I have found that either the physicists or Mr. Frost have erred as it seems despite my best attempts to leave the road of fervent, even fundamentalist, faith I have found myself skirting its boundaries.

While I know that in practical terms I have never left evangelicalism as it has continually informed my life even as I have done whatever I could to remove myself from its reach, I was not expecting to discover myself on a this road of more traditional fundamentalist faith. The experience has been more akin to realizing I had mistakenly left my homeland and to my surprise enter into a foreign, hostile (to me) land. In an attempt to remain unseen I have found myself plunged into a ditch.

The first rule of thumb when entering a foreign land, even one that looks, sounds and smells familiar, do not drink the water until you know, for certain, it is safe. Unfortunately for myself I have found I am immersed in some unholy water, the backwaters of fundamentalist evangelical thought. I am positive that the whole of evangelicalism is not quite a stinky at this run off and yet I have fears that this water is what is irrigating future generations. This water does not contain the usual farm run off with a healthy growth of green sludge; rather it contains the bacterial strains of gender roles and politics, the language of "masculinity" and "femininity," a healthy dose of shame and a questionable understanding of the Trinity, all together, when swallowed will make you sick. I have spent the last decade of my life trying to avoid this water, these beliefs spewed like a commercial farm sprinkler in the forms of I Kissed Dating Goodbye to the recent "literary works" of Mark Driscoll and fellow neo-Reformers, like John Piper and Douglas Wilson.* The problem is while I know that these men and their thoughts in no way represent the whole of Christian thought, yet they seems to have found the most fertile soil in men aged 25-40. That is not to say they have not also impacted women as well; however, for all the hype that Joshua Harris garnered during my late teens and early twenties, the idea of throwing dating out the window for the purposes of purity did not ring true for me. That is not to suggest I did not want to throw the angst ridden concept of dating out the window altogether for other reasons, namely my awkwardness in the presence of men my age. I did *try* to date with intention which in practice looked much more like Hermione trying to use a crystal ball. For some reason I had mistaken the idea of intention to one of prediction, was he "the One," yes, then hang around waiting for the day he decides he wants to intently pursue you, while emotionally benefiting from your presence.Yes, you are correct, the math is very wrong in that equation, and no fancy calculus formula is going to make that one work out in the end.

So where does that leave me now... well I guess as I'm reading profiles which tout the wonders of John Eldridge or is looking for "someone who appreciates the differences between genders and attempts to understand the mind of a man" while being "oh so very cute," I am trying to decide if I have or am willing to drink a little of the water in an attempt to be polite.

*These men could also fall under the label complementarian. 


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