Still Evangelical Liberal after all these years?

Astute longer-standing visitors to this blog may have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent for a while. Up till the end of 2016 I was posting monthly (ish), and then Stuff Happened, and I only posted twice in 2017, not at all in 2018 and just once in 2019. Last year with Covid lockdowns I gave it another go, but still only managed 4 posts.

(And it turns out I forget what I’ve said and repeat myself, so I may well just have re-hashed the same post multiple times over the last few years.)

Anyway, it’s been a while since I was blogging regularly, and a fair bit’s happened and changed in that time – both out in the big world and here in my own life, my thinking and beliefs.

So I thought it was time to re-evaluate the blog, its title and its aims – if nothing else, to remind me what it’s about, and as an introduction for newer readers. But also to see whether it’s time to change direction – or to change name.

What’s an Evangelical Liberal anyway?

Why ‘The Evangelical Liberal’? When I started the blog 10 years ago I chose the title partly just because I liked it – it felt playful, paradoxical and mildly provocative. I wasn’t really using it to set out a definite position or to propose a manifesto – almost the opposite. I just wanted to raise questions, to query received orthodoxy, to provoke people (and myself) to think outside boxes and labels.

It was also an expression of where I’d come from, where I was moving towards and the uncomfortable mix of beliefs wrestling within me. I was raised fairly liberal Anglo-Catholic, did the prodigal thing in my late teens, and then ‘converted’ at 21 to a full-on charismatic-evangelical Christianity. I followed this ardently for several years, and then gradually started to notice that I wasn’t convinced by or comfortable with aspects of evangelical Christianity. I even seemed to be becoming that worst of things (from an evangelical perspective) – a liberal Christian. Some would say, no Christian at all.

I struggled with this of course. I was afraid of wandering away from Truth, of Losing my Salvation; yet I felt increasingly unable to offer full assent to many evangelical doctrines and practices. So I explored ways of becoming a bit liberal while still remaining partly evangelical; of incorporating elements of liberal theology within a broadly evangelical framework (or possibly the other way round). I didn’t want to stray too perilously far from the safety of the evangelical fold, but I did want to be honest about my doubts and concerns.

So I started blogging as ‘The Evangelical Liberal’. I didn’t – and still don’t – want to go the whole hog and be just liberal. I didn’t and don’t feel I can entirely chuck out the Bible, or the miraculous, or all of the things I experienced and learnt back in my more full-on charismatic-evangelical days. I still need that anchor, and I still value (and believe) aspects of those traditions. But nor do I want to go back to being just evangelical – that feels to me like returning from freedom to captivity.

So ‘Evangelical Liberal’ is also an attempt at reconciliation or synthesis between these two seeming polar opposites; an effort to make peace between the two apparently opposing camps. I grew up in an ecumenical Anglican and Roman Catholic family and my parents worked hard for unity between these traditionally warring denominations. And it’s built into the fabric of my personality to try and see both sides of any argument or division. I don’t know if it is ever possible to reconcile evangelical with liberal, but I feel compelled to try.

What’s changed?

As I said though, some things have changed over the last few years. Have my beliefs changed significantly in that time? Yes and no.

I hope I’ve become a little less angry and react-y, and have moved on slightly from just knee-jerk reacting against evangelicals. We’ll see.

I’m certainly not actively rejecting most mainstream doctrines – the Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection etc. It’s more a case of re-interpreting some of them, finding new ways to think about them that shed some of the unfortunate baggage they’ve accrued. And it’s also challenging or querying particular emphases – for example, I still think evangelicalism makes too much of divine sovereignty, biblical inerrancy and human depravity, as well as (in my view) slightly misunderstanding them.

I think I’m actually both more liberal and more evangelical than I was 3 years ago. My faith feels more alive again, more real, more meaningful – and it still has both these aspects, the evangelical and the liberal.

However, there are other equally (perhaps more) important aspects – the charismatic and the contemplative in particular. I’m really more charismatic than I am evangelical, and more drawn to the contemplative tradition than to the purely liberal. Maybe ‘The Contemplative Charismatic’ would do more justice to where I’m at these days.

It’s Complicated

Other titles I’ve been considering for this blog are ‘It’s Complicated’, ‘Seeing Both Sides’ and ‘The Excluded Middle’. On pretty much every issue I look at – theological, ethical, political, sociological – my overriding impression is always that ‘it’s complicated’. I’ve rarely found any issue with definite, single, simple answers.

And I do just have the kind of mind that sees complication rather than simplicity; sees nuance rather than black-and-white; sees the exceptions rather than the rules, the little errors rather than the overall consistency.

As I say, I’m also programmed to see both sides, always – I often find it very hard to come down definitely on one side or the other, and usually end up (uncomfortably) in the middle.

Seeing complexity isn’t always helpful. I too easily get lost in the detail and fail to see the bigger picture. And sometimes decisive action is needed rather than endless thinking; sometimes a side has to be chosen and a stand made.

But when pondering the deep questions of theology and faith, I think complexity, nuance and a degree of uncertainty often are helpful – and all too often are lacking. There are things we don’t know and things we maybe can’t know.

There are also things we think we know but are wrong about – plenty in my case. So I think an ability to see the other side is hugely important, to help move us out of entrenchment and conflict into dialogue and maybe ultimately harmony. I don’t want this blog just to be an echo chamber of like-minded people all jaded with evangelicalism. I hugely appreciate those voices that agree with me, but if I’m only ever preaching to the choir then we all might as well be talking to ourselves.

Nonetheless, I think the phrase ‘The Evangelical Liberal’ does already encapsulate complexity, and does already point to seeing both sides. So I’ll probably stick with it for now. But please shout at me if I do just go on writing the same post over and over again in slightly different ways.

And if you’ve got any ideas for things you’d like me to write about and save us all from endless repetition, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

About TheEvangelicalLiberal

Aka Harvey Edser. I'm a web editor, worship leader, wannabe writer, very amateur composer and highly unqualified armchair theologian. My heroes include C.S. Lewis and Homer Simpson.
This entry was posted in Evangelicalism, Liberalism. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Still Evangelical Liberal after all these years?

  1. Carter Bise says:

    I have much in common with you! I was raised VERY conservative Presbyterian in the buckle of the Bible Belt. My church was a bulwark of segrationist theology seasoned with the hardcore doctrines of John Calvin. I began to have by disputes with the church over race relations, which was hard because I felt like one fish swimming in the wrong direction. So I left that church, joined a multiracial Methodist church with a socially liberal minister. About college I discovered the joys of living better chemically and while never leaving church, began to feel that my dual existence was not working.

    At about 21, I reacted strongly at my prodigal ways and converted back to evangelical protestant, and while never returning to racist calvinism, became an ardent champion of inerrancy, And while I had never read the Bible, I sure as hell thumped it!

    Then about 10 years ago, I decided to read the Bible through in a year, in a somewhat historical chronological fashion. While reading Kings and Chronicles together, i was also getting a smattering of the major and minor prophets at the same time; reading all 4 gospels at the same time. What I began to notice was an extreme focus on what my family had disdainfully called “the social gospel:” a strong focus on poverty, inequality, and conforming behavior to love of God.

    By the second year, I was seeing the myriad contradictions. Being an attorney, I can live with different people seeing the same event, such as an accident, and having different versions of what happened, but that logic doesn’t apply to the concept of inerrancy. I read Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong, NT Wright

    I no longer can believe in miracles, inerrancy and such. I am not sure about the resurrection. I am not sure about atonement. But I am sure that God is Love in its most radical form and that it does not matter what label one bears, for God is Love, and I have that in common with everyone with whom I come in contact, whether they be Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist or agnostic. (One of my standard jokes when speaking with an agnostic or atheist is to say that God has a special place in her heart for doubt and disbelief.)

    I still attend a Methodist church. I am still reading the Bible through each year. The last several years have been devoted to reading as the books were completed, according to the wisdom of Wikipedia.

    So, no matter what happens with your blog, I look forward to being challenged and enlightened!

    Like

    • Hi, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story – it certainly does sound like your trajectory and mine have been pretty similar! I think some things here in England / the UK seem quite different to the US, particularly in the religious and political landscapes and with issues like segregation – there is still much racism here but segregationism hasn’t really been a thing (that I’m aware of).

      As Terry’s pointed out in another comment here, UK evangelicalism and US evangelicalism are quite different animals in many ways – related of course, with Calvinism and inerrancy and so forth, but also with some quite distinct characteristics. Perhaps that’s partly because religious affiliation in the US seems to have become more tied up with political allegiance (particularly for white evangelicals?) than seems to be the case in the UK.

      It’s such a human tendency to be tribal – I realise that in moving away from evangelicalism, I’ve too often wanted to form a like-minded ‘liberal’ (or anti-evangelical) group who will just bolster my current views, and I have to keep resisting that, but it’s hard!

      Interestingly at the moment I’m more inclined to believe in the miraculous than you are currently, but less inclined to read the Bible as I find so much of its content too problematic. I do still very much believe in Jesus’s incarnation and resurrection, as for me those are foundational to how I understand so much of everything else – but I’m happy to put most other miracles in a not-too-sure / not-too-fussed category!

      Thanks so much again for your very thoughtful, generous and encouraging words!

      Like

  2. carter says:

    Oops! Too late to edit. “my disputes” rather than “by disputes.”

    Like

  3. I think I’ve read your posts at least a few times, but don’t recall which or when. I much appreciate your reflection and candor… definitely not evangelical-like in my long experience among them (all of childhood, teen years and 27 adult years to age 45….attending 9 years of Biola and Talbot for 3 degrees, doing Xn ministry in churches and counseling agencies).

    My unending thirst to understand and go deeper led me gradually, along with PhD work at Claremont School of Theology in my 40s, into an eventual embrace of the “middle way” of Process-relational Theology… taken on in any thorough way only after leaving Claremont … My abandonment of dogmas of Evangelicalism was mostly gradual and quite deliberated, studied. I finally faced the inadequate circular reasoning and superficial, history-ignoring reasoning I’d long read of as charges, but defended against (without ever defending inerrancy or patriarchal dominance, and a few other elements).

    I, too, had become an enthusiastic Charismatic and both received and helped facilitate some seemingly miraculous events. I don’t “deny” their beneficial effects but now know that such phenomena are widespread, ancient, and not solely tied to Christianity by any means!

    There is little I continue to miss from my Evangelical or Charismatic days, but can still be stirred by and appreciate some of the worship music. In a world with oodles of time, I might occasionally attend some of the extended worship services of the Vineyard style. I recognize I might even get a special “blessing”… without associating it with any particular theology (and I used to micromanage my theology, and still do, in a way… but much more humbly, with a whole lot more happily left unsettled). I now encourage others to TRUST a lot more and “believe” a lot less… minimalist theology).

    The Bible I see as targeted narrative, for the most part, with the love from God and OF God and self being the cream that’s risen to the top… and love as mainly a verb.

    Process itself has “branches”, some being fairly evangelical, united around a more-explanatory-and- flexible way of seeing reality and the God/human interaction.

    Like

    • Thanks Howard – really good to hear from you as always. I’m definitely interested in Process Theology, particularly perhaps the more evangelical-friendly branches at this stage.

      Yes, for me Charismatic phenomena were once my ‘proof’ that Christianity was real and that I’d found the true or best version. I still believe in a God who does (sometimes) get involved in the world and our lives, and I love (and still often ‘lead’!) charismatic worship – for me it’s one of the ways in which I feel I encounter the reality of God’s loving presence. Though I find the content of many worship songs a bit difficult – triumphalistic, or narrowly exclusivist, or overly me-centred, or just too evangelical!

      I think, deep down and if I’m really honest, one of the reasons I keep blogging is to seek human reassurance that I’m not going to hell for no longer being a good evangelical! And of course no-one but God can really reassure me of that.

      Like

      • Apparently you remember my comments earlier, better than I do.
        Gratifying on one level, frustrating (re. my limitations) on another.

        One thing that might help is to know if you reveal your real name somewhere that I’ve not run across (or forgotten :), and what it is. If you’re preferring to stay anonymous, I get that.

        I appreciate the additional sharing. With so much psychology in my background along with theology, I’m fascinated with the infinite variety of thinking, feeling, experiencing “styles” and effects in people. While I love music, I’m not any kind of musician, and believe that many (not all) who are, have a stronger “right brain” function that can include tendency toward “subjective” brain processing relative to my strongly “objective” or analytical tendency…. not making objective superior at all, but perhaps tending toward stability of feeling states. (I rarely vary much in major mood states or feel sharply my many insecurities, apart from strong external stresses.)

        If I didn’t earlier give this URL, I want you and any other readers interested to see the fairly recent, and now well developed site to help people get introduced to the Process worldview and “world” of events and people. It is cobb.institute. Just that spelling.

        What I’ve loved for 2 years is our weekly Zoom gatherings with great presentations (often US or international experts or leaders on relevant topics), ample opportunities for questions/comments, for optional involvement in a number of practical projects, both local to Claremont, CA, or the broader LA area and, additionally, non-local.

        Some of the national and international aspects involve the connected organization, EcoCiv (.org). That is short for “ecological civilization,” perhaps the most developed and interdisciplinary framework for our common human/earthly future, again with “real world” practical projects, many in other countries (often more responsive and creative than US people and organizations).

        You or anyone can sign up at cobb.institute for email notifications to join us… or just get informed… and I guarantee you will meet some wonderful and fascinating people and probably be amazed at what is going on, almost completely beneath the major AND social media radar… tho that may change soon, as certain things build momentum.

        Like

        • Harvey, a comment I should have read earlier reminded me of your name… to spare you addressing that point… sorry.

          Like

        • Hi Howard, I’ve been having a look at cobb.institute and I really like the look of what you’re doing there.

          Re the right/left brain thing, it’s interesting – I come from a family of scientist-artists who seem to encompass both sides, though not all to the same extent. My Dad and siblings have all been scientists or engineers by training and profession, but all creative artists of one form or another in their spare time. Whereas I tried to pursue engineering but hated it and switched to English, and I think of all of us I’m the least science-y. Analytical thinking, or ‘objective truth’, is still very important to me – but perhaps not as important as creative thinking, poetry, music and relationship (‘love’). And when it comes to Christianity/faith, I’m more interested in encounter, presence and relationship than I am in ‘Biblical truth’.

          Like

  4. Terry says:

    In terms of your blog, Harvey, I wonder if the real question is whether you truly have the desire to continue blogging regularly. I hope you do, of course, as I enjoy reading the way you put things. If you do ever change the blog name, ‘The Contemplative Charismatic’ would work fine and stands in some kind of continuity with ‘The Evangelical Liberal’.

    Otherwise, I wouldn’t get too hung up over labels. I suspect the majority of people who comment on your blog are from the US, where I presume ‘big-E’ Evangelicalism diverges from UK ‘big-E’ Evangelicalism in significant ways. And as I think I’ve written in a comment here before, none of the faith issues you wrestle with, intellectual or otherwise, are uncommon; nor is the desire to see things from multiple perspectives. You’re in good company.

    Like

    • Thanks Terry! I do have the desire to continue blogging – the tricky part is simply finding time for it. My old work routines used to make it much easier to fit it in, whereas now I have to squeeze it around so many other things and it too often ends up squeezed out. Plus there are so many other things I’d like to do like writing songs!

      Good points about not getting hung up on labels, and about US and UK evangelicalism. I think what fuels my ongoing debates with both kinds of evangelicalism are my experiences at church (quite US-influenced currently e.g Bethel worship and theology), and also with conservative evangelicals in my own family (both UK and US-influenced in terms of books and preachers).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jenny Rayner says:

    I love this, as usual. Coming from a Calvinist Strict-Baptist background and now in New Frontiers, which has strong Calvinist leanings, I have always struggled with Calvinism! I am currently reading the life story of William and Catherine Booth, who were ardent anti-Calvinism. I am saddened though that the Salvation Army as a Charity seems to have distanced itself from the evangelicalism with which it started, in that no mention is made of the gospel or prayer for its work in their literature.
    I am currently exploring Open Theism, flagged up by one of our charity Hope into Action’s tenants, who argues that if God had known how she was going to be abused, He would have stepped in and prevented it. I’d be interested in your thoughts – a topic for your next blog maybe?

    (My thoughts do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of our charity).

    Like

    • Terry says:

      Harvey has already done a post on open theism, Jenny: https://evangelicaliberal.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/does-god-know-the-future/

      But it would be interesting to see a follow-up all the same: Did Harvey know back in 2014 what he would now know in 2021? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jenny, brilliant to hear from you – it’s been a while! I hadn’t realised that the Booths were anti-Calvinist – they’ve just gone up in my estimation! I know the Sally Army do some great stuff still – they may just steer clear of sounding too overtly Christian in their literature, but I suspect their work on the ground may well be different to that. Hope in Action sounds great by the way!

      I did actually put up a post about Open Theism back in 2014 – worth reading Terry’s comments on it too as they correct some of my points! I’m certainly still of the view that God may not know all of the future (because the future isn’t a ‘real’ thing – just a potential thing until it’s happened).

      I’m not so sure on the whole idea of ‘God would have prevented the bad thing if he’d known’ though… part of me would really like to believe that, but I can’t reconcile it with history and my experience. Surely God could have foreseen things like the Holocaust – if not the full details, then at least that something like that might be about to happen? Or natural disasters like volcanic eruptions or hurricanes that are to some degree predictable – yet God does let these things happen. I don’t know why, but for me it always has to be part of a much bigger picture of redemption where bad is turned to good, and where love ultimately wins.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this Jenny. I should have read this and the replies to it before posting my comment to Harvey (now reminded of his name) moments ago. The Open Theology referred to is one aspect of a broader “process” philosophy/theology framework represented by, among others, the Cobb Institute (cobb.institute, per my comment you might reference). But more specifically, a Process/Open Theist you might enjoy interacting with is Thomas Jay Oord. I personally know Tom to be a warm, empathic person while a serious, deep thinker… and I believe he continues to identify as Evangelical, tho on tenuous ground with his Nazarene denominational ties, if they are still in place to some degree.

      He has, among other great resources, a book entitled God Can’t… (stop catastrophic events or causes of suffering, e.g.). He is often with us in the Cobb Institute weekly Zoom events, and beloved in this growing community… I think his own site is opentheism.org… or similar. You’ll find it via Google if that’s not quite right.

      Like

    • David Summers says:

      Jenny, have you come across the writings of Roger Olson? He has a blog on Patheos subtitled “My evangelical Arminian theological musings” and among his many books is one (which I haven’t read) called “Against Calvinism”. The only book of his which I have read, “Counterfeit Christianity”, is mostly about heresies which arose in the early centuries of Christianity, but it includes a chapter “Making God a Monster” which is essentially about the determinist themes of Calvinism.
      In case that sounds too exclusive or sectarian, it’s worth saying that the bulk of the book is about views which have been defined as heretical by most churches, and not just by one branch of the church, and his blog is written for discussion among, as he puts it, “evangelical Christians, very broadly defined). (There is also an atheist who comments regularly, and the two of them seem to have quite a respect for each other, despite their different world views.)

      Like

  6. doncher1 says:

    It would be great if you were able to take up your blog more regularly again. I’m in the UK, too, but always loved the US internetmonk blog, until it ended in January after many years. I’ve been a little bereft since then!

    I can relate to your ‘it’s complicated’ comment. I, too, am designed to see complication in most things and particularly in relation to God and faith. I often long for a simpler faith, especially as I think that, in some ways, it IS simple…. and, yet, not!

    I’m interested in your mention of the contemplative. I’ve only been ‘a Christian’ for around 9 years, but have recently been exploring more around contemplative prayer. My hope is that this may help with balancing out some of the ‘overcomplicating’ tendencies, which, for me, can lead to me pulling away from church (because it’s difficult) and also pulling away from prayer / the Bible/ all the things that actually cultivate a deeper relationship with God (which is, ultimately, what I want to pursue). If you felt inclined, I’d be interested in reading more about your thoughts/ experiences around contemplation and stuff in your future blogging.

    Like

    • Jenny David Rayner says:

      My grandmother had a simple faith (which my husband shares) and said “I believe what I understand, and what I don’t understand I don’t worry about.” But I’m afraid I’m not made like that! Whenever I read anything, even the Bible, my mind is always drawn towards what I perceive as anomalies, and I want to investigate further.

      Like

  7. doncher1 says:

    I think that your grandmother’s approach sounds very healthy, but I’m with you – I just don’t feel I’m made like that! However, I definitely think it’d be a good idea (for me) to remember your grandmother’s words sometimes!

    Like

  8. Summers-lad says:

    I used to call myself a liberal evangelical (reverse word order to yours, but in contrast to “conservative evangelical”) 30 or so years ago, and I think it roughly still holds for me. I used to read your blog now and again, and it was bookmarked in the favourites on my old computer, but I think this is the first time I’ve been here since buying my new one over 2 years ago. And wow! how close is your outlook to mine!
    I regularly read Richard Beck’s “Experimental Theology” blog, and it was his post today that made me look to see if yours was still live. I’m glad it is. Richard’s writing on becoming what he calls “post-progressive” is what made me think of you.
    For myself, although I’ve been up and down on the evangelical/liberal see-saw a bit, but basically I’m somewhere in between. If I challenge evangelical orthodoxy and tradition, I do so (in my better moments anyway) from a biblical perspective, but I don’t agree with inerrancy. I’m definitely not a liberal in the theological sense (e.g. the physical resurrection is fundamental) although I am in other ways.
    So please keep the blog going. It’s valuable, and I’ll try to visit more often.

    Dave

    Like

    • Hi Dave, brilliant to hear from you, and it’s always good to connect with other people who are viewing things from a similar perspective! I suspect there are quite a few of us around, but if you’re anything like me it’s easy to feel that you’re alone – that everyone else either thinks you’re too liberal or too evangelical. I’m really encouraged if you find anything in this blog helpful! Great to hear a bit about your own story and journey – thank you.

      Like

  9. Stephanie says:

    Late to the party, but I feel compelled to comment. I’m coming from the opposite end of the spectrum to you and most here: I grew up in an ultra-liberal American Unitarian tradition, in a predominantly Catholic town. I was proud of the open-mindedness of our church compared to my school friends who were memorizing the catechism. We were taught that it was up to us, individually, to find our own truths. I’ve always loved “big questions,” and this approach made so much sense to me that I entered the Unitarian Universalist ministry and served for about 20 years.

    Over time, two things happened. The process of asking questions never satisfied my longing for answers. I wanted a faith in God, but my mind was steeped in rationalism. I had dabbled in many faith stances — Christian and otherwise — but not deeply committed to any. This became increasingly unsatisfying. At some point, I believe you need to choose a path and mine it deeply.

    Secondly, the American Unitarian Universalist church evolved from one that supported social causes to one that insisted on particular forms of activism. Social justice became a substitute creed, for a church that eschewed religious creeds.

    Parish ministry has been in my rearview mirror for over a decade now, and in the past couple of years I’ve embarked on a serious exploration of Christian faith. And….. I’m confused! I put “confused” in my search term and found this blog, for which I thank you. Ha.

    I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis and other apologists. Also the Bible, with seriousness for the first time, aided by commentaries I’ve found online. But like you, Harvey, and others here, I find myself standing between liberals who pick and choose what they want to believe, and evangelicals who insist on inerrancy and some social stances I can’t support. What is metaphorical and what is literal in the pages of the Bible, and on what basis do we decide? I don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but I need guides to help work out which is which.

    I’m sorry this got long. I would welcome suggestions for guides, if anyone has any. Books, blogs, websites, etc.

    Thanks for being here, even sporadically!

    Like

    • Hi Stephanie, thanks so much for your comment, and yes, as you can see I’m still very sporadic in checking my blog – sorry!

      I do agree with you that it’s good to choose a path and mine it deeply – and if you happen to have chosen the ‘wrong’ path I’m not always sure that’s such a problem. I think God finds us where we are if we’re really looking for him… which I have to admit I’m also only doing quite sporadically.

      I think there is a middle way between the inerrantist ultra-evangelicals and the pick-and-choose ultra-liberals. But it’s not always easy to find! The extremes are simpler – I think that’s partly why so many end up there. But they’re also less satisfying.

      I like C.S. Lewis, and I’d also recommend Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, Brian McLaren, Philip Yancey, some Rob Bell… but that may just be my own tastes and theology. I do really struggle with the Bible at the moment!

      ‘Confused’ does describe pretty well where I’m at… but I think I’m mostly okay with that, all the while it feels like God’s also okay with it. When I occasionally feel like I’m just out on a shaky limb then I’m less okay with it! And I do always want to be aware that I just might be heading in totally the wrong direction.

      Bless you lots.

      Like

    • David Summers says:

      Stephanie, it’s interesting to read your experience. C S Lewis wrote somewhere (I forget where) that he took parts of the Bible as literal or metaphorical according to the genre of the writing. Thus, for example, the miracles in the Gospels were recorded as factual accounts, so that is how he took them, but the creation stories were written in the language and style of myth or legend. (I hope that’s a fair summary of what he said.) As an expert in ancient literature he was, of course, unusually well placed to do this, but I think most of us can probably pick up a similar sense.
      And I’d like to add the sadly missed Rachel Held Evans to Harvey’s recommendations. Her last book was called “Inspired” which is a creative look at different types of writing in the Bible, and her blog is still available on-line.

      Like

    • Carter says:

      Stephanie: I find much of thought provoking reassurance in BioLogos.org.

      Like

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