Philip Yancey had an interview in Publisher’s Weekly reflecting on his upbringing. I wish I had been a bit quicker to my own realizations like Yancey, or Eugene Peterson. I’m a slow learner.
From the interview:
What changed for you?
It started cracking apart when I realized that this “Southern culture” I grew up in was a deeply flawed, whitewashed, and racist narrative. It was in my high school days when those cracks started to appear in my own life and I wanted to separate myself from that culture. I was attracted to literature, good music, and the culture around me was not something that really nourished that. I wanted to find a different place. I wanted to distance myself.
What perspective has this given you on evangelical Christianity in the U.S.?
Somehow, in the midst of all that fear and fundamentalism, the light of God’s love seeped through. In my own story, along with the worst, I had very good experiences within evangelical subculture. Along the way, I gravitated toward people who were positive models, people fighting sex trafficking or visiting prisoners. At root, the word evangelical means “good news.” I cling to that. While the rest of culture hears “evangelical” and thinks of a media caricature of a redneck racist who supports Trump, my experience is with people who sacrifice themselves, reach out to others, and spread mercy and compassion and love.