I wanted to share my story as it may be quite different than what seems to be your typical listener. I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church in North Carolina during the conservative resurgence (think Adrian Rodgers and Paige Patterson), but I attended an IFB school where I was religiously abused. After high school, I began to shed some of those Baptist beliefs, but I still attended an evangelical Christian college in Michigan and then went on to seminary to prepare to be a spiritual leader of some sort. Unfortunately, just a few months after graduating seminary, I caught my wife cheating on me. As you know, in IFB circles and in certain evangelical circles, divorce is the kiss of death for anyone who wants to be a pastor. My life, at this point, took a totally different turn. I moved back to my home state of NC and soon remarried and got a job outside of ministry while I figured out what I wanted to do.
As long as I can remember, I have struggled with my sexuality. Without going into all the details, my second marriage also failed and one Sunday I walked into an Episcopal Church and never left. The love that I felt there was absolutely a love that I have never known and it gave me the courage to come out as bisexual. Since then, I have spent much time reading and looking at scripture in a whole different light.
The evolution of my beliefs led me to believe that the Bible was not inerrant. While it was certainly inspired, reason and tradition are needed to inform our reading of scripture. When I hear you guys talk about elevating tradition over scripture, I cringe a little because it is tradition that informs my reading of scripture, albeit a tradition that is rooted in centuries of Christianity as opposed to what I believe is just a couple of hundred years of fundamentalist tradition.
I am not sharing this short version of my story as a “gotcha!” I think I am hearing what you’re saying and I am respecting your stories. You were able to maintain your evangelical faith while leaving fundamentalism. I was not. My personal beliefs and theology are very different from yours, but I completely respect your stories because I sense your heart is in the right place. I am going to continue to listen because you guys are informative and entertaining and seem to really be doing some good work at helping people shed legalism.
Thanks again for what you’re doing.
Your liberal listener,