“On Evangelical Paradoxes” (Part 2)
Two years ago, I signed a book contract with @wipfandstock to publish a text tentatively called “Evangelical Paradoxes: American Evangelicalism and the Destruction of American Christianity.” The book is a critique on “the evangelical worldview” and to engage some of the socio-political ills and cultural malaise in contemporary American Evangelicalism. (Yet these issues and “evangelical practices” have deep theological foundations and associations.) It is also a very personal book, as I attempt to chronicle my own struggles to understand how Evangelicals have responded and continue to react to some of the most urgent issues of our time and in our culture, such as political party’s affiliation and advocacy, immigration, police brutality, mass incarceration, abortion, white supremacy, race, gender and sexuality issues, social justice issues, etc.
I also attempt to write about my personal journey in Evangelical schools and circles such as @BCF, @SBTS, & @SWBTS and express my discontent about the theological curriculum and religious education in my own affiliated denomination, which are very inclusive, white, male, ideological, homogeneous, and monolithic. The book is also a critique on the problem of diversity, Christian fellowship, and interracial relations in Evangelical circles and Christian churches in America.
In addition, I explain my experience with race and of racism and “cultural prejudice” in the schools cited above, as well as the humiliation and isolation that I have endured in Evangelical places. “Evangelical Paradoxes” is intended for pastors, seminarians, and lay people. My ultimate goal for writing this book is threefold: (1) to disturb the evangelical conscience; (2) to foster candid conversations among Christians around these pivotal and problematic issues; and (3) to redirect the Evangelical conscience from its crave for political power and cultural influence to embrace a Christ-centered politics and ethics, and a Biblical-centered anthropological relationality that give primacy to hospitality, self-sacrifice, servant leadership, mutual reciprocity, justice, and compassion, as well as to attend to the existential needs (and be concerned about the living conditions) of the poor, the vulnerable, and the economically-disadvantaged populations in this country. As I am wrapping up this manuscript, I begin to think seriously about how this book will be received among friends whom I dearly love and the schools that I have trained me and informed me theologically, but not socially. (The latter I received from my secular education at the University.)
On the other hand, and in the course of time, I have written two manuscripts to engage the notion I call “Evangelical Paradoxes.” Two weeks ago, I submitted the second volume (about 400 pages) to the publisher even before I was through with the first volume (about 400 pages also). The second volume, “Theologizing in Black,” is intended for scholars and Christian thinkers, while the first one is directed toward the people in the pew and the thinking christian. The second volume attempts to provide some possible solutions to the Evangelical paradoxes. It seems to me that the second volume will be first published, as I intend to submit volume one to the publisher by the beginning of August this year. Yet the first volume is a very personal book. It reveals mon cri de coeur for shalom, renewal, transformation, and a kind of radically Gospel-centered rebirth in contemporary American Christianity.
The more I study American Christianity and American Evangelicalism, the more I am realizing that contemporary American Evangelicals have destroyed Biblical Christianity and have become perhaps the greatest enemy of the Gospel and perhaps the greatest opponents of social justice and racial issues in this culture.
May God give us enough grace and radically transform the Christian conscience in this nation to turn away from its obsession with cultural practices, religious habitus, and political idols that have taken captive the liberative message and teachings of Christ to become a dangerous community of faith that champions human flourishing, the common good, and a great people who embodies God’s grace compassion, humility, and love in public!