To help clarify those who thought that the prior post on post-evangelical-here had something to do with post-modern, or Post- Toasties. Let us recap, the last 30 years witnessed a major upturn in conservative religion, many of the children are moving on to new positions. But they do so as ex-Evangelicals who are no longer believers or observant, they do not become liberals or mainline.
Here we have a recent panel on the topic. Some of the interesting points: They did not portray their religious years as dark or anti-intellectual, but they found that the plausibility structure had broken. I wish the interviewer had spent more time asking specifics on what was no longer tenable. From the full article, one gets a sense that liberal political views rendered one outside the community, as does commitment to being an intellectual and not just educated.
I find it fascinating that their own narratives start with why their parents became Evangelical in the first place. Also that they are left with a moral sense for literature and ideas. And as the article itself points out they are left disappointed. What will fill that disappointment for them? Their families? SO how does this play out for Judaism?
New York Literati on Growing Up Evangelical by Kiera Feldman
Malcolm Gladwell and James Wood of The New Yorker and Christine Smallwood of The Nation…discussed how their intellectual lives were shaped by their religious backgrounds. Notably, evangelicalism was not portrayed as something one must inevitably cast-off to live a life of the mind; there were no narratives of recovery, of journeys from the darkness of ignorant faith to the light of reason. To varying degrees, all three panelists traced their thinking to their evangelical upbringings—yet not a one of them today is among the believers.
Gladwell described his upbringing in Canada as liberal evangelical (though his parents, brother, and sister-in-law have since become Mennonites). He seemed to understand his religious self in patrilineal terms, focusing on the story of his father’s faith in lieu of his own. We learned that his father, has spent a lifetime trying to reconcile faith and reason. Ultimately, Gladwell didn’t find these efforts “convincing.” Yet he inherited his father’s project. I have remained within the evangelical tradition,”
Wood called for a “disappointed belief,” but stopped short of explaining what, exactly, that might entail.
All three cited its influence on their modes of reading today. Wood described himself as “marked” by the idea of “high stakes” in literature.
What to put in the hole left by the loss of belief? Alas, nothing, said Gladwell. “My life is less full and real as a result,” he said.