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I debated whether to call this a love letter or an open letter. Love letter feels like a very southern white evangelical thing to call something that involves critical reflection and wrestling with concerns. But open letter feels too adversarial. We write open letters to celebrities with big platforms who might not engage us in direct conversation otherwise.
If you’ve been active in ex-evangelical Twitter lately, I imagine you already know what I’m going to write about. I’ve watched two personal mentors and close friends get quote-tweeted and dragged all over Twitter recently: first Jonathan Martin and now Brian Zahnd. Jonathan Martin got in trouble for saying the Christian communion table is where oppressors and oppressed are reconciled. Brian Zahnd upset people by saying that gay people are welcome to participate in every aspect of the life of his church but they don’t do gay weddings (which is a very important aspect of the life of a church).
Emotions - Rebukes - Men - Hours - Time
I felt some emotions seeing public rebukes of two men who have each poured hours of their time into personally encouraging me and building me up when my ministry was kicking my ****. Zahnd’s Beauty Will Save the World and Martin’s Prototype were incredibly formative for me and I quoted both of them extensively in my own book How Jesus Saves the World From Us. So that’s just to say that my mind is certainly clouded by some sense of personal loyalty to two people who helped me a lot in my journey.
I understand and agree with the critiques that were made of each of them, though I’m not 100% on board with the critique of Jonathan. I do think it’s easy for those of us with privilege to be overly facile about the reconciliation of oppressed and oppressor. A big theological stumbling block...
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