Wednesday, September 5, 2012

EverydayRev: A Re-evaluation

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might have noticed a few changes being gradually applied to EverydayRev over the last few months. Not only have the background and header image been changed and the layout altered, the general content of the website has changed, as well. Here’s an explanation for that.

It has been a long and difficult road to my current status as a MATS student. Everyday Revolutionary has been for me at various times over the years a lint trap of mundane photos and recipes, a place of emotional catharsis, a political soap box, and a venue to discuss my dreams with others. Since EverydayRev began in March 2010, I have gotten married to my best friend, graduated college, moved four times, started seminary, worked for three different churches, and suffered a violent spiritual and existential struggle that still continues today. After all that, I can now say that I am once again in a period of transition. But this time there is something different involved. Something new.

If you are someone who read my blog back in the early days because it was edgy or cool (if it was ever either of those things), and you are now frustrated that the vast majority of my latest posts involve textual studies and adventures in neo-orthodox biblical theology, I apologize. If it is any consolation, I can honestly tell you that in some ways, I’m the same old rabble-rouser wannabe with anarchist leanings that I’ve always been. But change is inevitable, and as I learn and grow both as a Christian and as a student of scripture, I am drawn again and again to a deeper, more thorough understanding of the faith than that which easy answers and bumper sticker slogans can afford. I’m learning to see that not everything has to hinge on the buzzword, “radical,” and that there is something quite lovely about finding God unexpectedly in the quotidian, something inherently extraordinary about God working in and through all things ordinary.  In this respect, the title of my blog has begun to take on a distinct new meaning for me. Before, I always emphasized the revolutionary piece of the title. It characterized my desire to be anything other than a white, male, middle-class Protestant. My original intent was to “make every day revolutionary.” Now, however, the words have shifted in meaning. I feel as though my intent now may be to “find the revolutionary quality of the everyday.”

I am coming to understand that for much of my adult life, my god has been a small god, confined by social expectations and reactions to even smaller conservative American evangelical gods. I have spent too much time ranting about the treatment of the poor by the wealthiest margins of society, and too little time doing anything about it. Too much time shouting at people about what God is really like, and too little time listening for God to tell me what she is like.

“We readily forget,” Anthony Thiselton writes in Life After Death, “what it means to be ‘oppressed.’ Liberation Theology has made it fashionable to speak of ‘the poor’ and ‘the disempowered.’ But this approach is too narrow…If God’s vindication of the oppressed includes those weighed down with constraints imposed upon them, by their race, gender, or society, who is to say how far God’s act of vindication can reach?”[1] In other words, it is possible to search so rigorously for the presence of God among the economically disadvantaged (or whichever category we choose to fixate upon) that we neglect the opportunity to seek the justice of the Deity among the morally bankrupt. There are many, many shades of poverty, and it is all too often that we choose to work with a black-and-white palette. But I believe that the God of Jesus is a Technicolor God.

I don’t know where I’m headed next. My theology is changing, my worldview is changing. My surroundings are changing—I am no longer surrounded by the supportive community that I once had, and this has caused some emotional and spiritual stress. I am thinking more about PhD work in New Testament, and how to go about taking those first few steps in that direction. I can now say, however—with the least amount of doubt that I have felt in years—that whatever path I follow, God will be there.

[1] Anthony C. Thiselton, Life After Death: A New Approach to the Last Things. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012). 182.

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