If You Didn't Think It Was Worth It, You Wouldn't Fight For It
I am the oldest of four--a brother and two sisters. I will get to see all of them this weekend, when my youngest sister graduates from college. Each one of them is a wonderful, interesting person. I love them with all my heart.
We are alike in many, many ways, but there is one way in which I am very different from my brothers and sisters. None of them practice Catholicism, or any other religion for that matter. They are not angry at Catholicism, not really (well, maybe one of my sisters is, but in general not). They just don't care. I think, on many levels, they don't think religion is worth being angry about.
As anyone who has read this blog will probably gather, I do care. You have to care to take the time to follow what is going on in Christianity and Catholicism. You have to care to dive deep into theological issues, about God, about Jesus. You have to care in order to advocate for change. You have to care in order to take the time to write a blog. Because, if you don't care, you simply won't engage.
I was thinking of my brother and sisters when I read tonight's post from Rachel Held Evans. She is reacting to a standard set of talking points from more traditional religious people toward the more progressive folks--that the progressives want to sell out Christianity in order to "conform to the world." In other words, a Christian who supports gay marriage is doing so for the purpose of making the church be just like the broader society.
Evans does a great job in explaining why she believes what she believes, and why her writing and her speaking is motivated by her vision of the Gospel. As usual, she articulates her perspective in a heart-felt and articulate way. But she misses the simplest argument--real people don't behave the way the traditionalists ascribe to folks like Evans. If all Evans wanted to do was live a life consistent with the values of the broader culture, she would simply do that. She would just leave. She wouldn't have to leave angry, with big dramatic gestures. She could just walk away. She doesn't have to write a blog about evangelical Christianity. She doesn't have to expose herself to pretty relentless criticism from her own tribe. She's an excellent writer--she could find something else to write about.
Good people just walk away every day. Those that stay do so because they are committed. They believe the message of Christianity is worth fighting for, despite the annoyances and pettiness and mean-spirited behavior of those that are set in their self-righteousness. They believe there is a better way, a more Christ-like way, to live a life of faith. And they are willing to put up with the crap to get there, and to help others get there. It's worth it to her to keep going. If that's not faith, I don't know what is.