It’s been a while since I felt the term “Christian” was an adjective I wanted to apply to myself. Despite my best efforts, that word has come to connote to me many more negative attributes than good, even though I know few, if any, of those attributes are things I would consciously associate with Christ. I’m referring to more than just the rampant, increasingly shrill, and occasionally vulgar anti-gay bigotry emanating mostly from people styling themselves conservative Evangelicals, too. A few of the other attributes that involuntarily come to mind when I hear the word “Christian” are provincialism, group-think, anti-intellectualism, and cultural-fascism. I know people who do call themselves “Christian” and who I personally like, but they are increasingly few and far between.
This is Part II of a two-part post. To read Part I, click here.
In many ways, my escape from ORU in spring of 2011 turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory. Over Fall Break in 2010, I had gone on a university-led educational trip to Washington, D.C., which included a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol by noted pseudo-historian David Barton, a tour of Fox News’ D.C. bureau facilitated by Kelly Wright, and, of course, a visit to the Family Research Council. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting. I’ll never forget standing with Barton in the middle of Statuary Hall awkwardly singing “God Bless America,” or seeing Charles Krauthammer whisk by in his wheelchair at Fox en route to pontificate for Special Report, or meeting Juan Williams a few days before he got fired from NPR. It’s just that the irony of it being called an “educational” trip didn’t dawn on me until some time later.
Two years ago, I was in a phase not terribly different from where I am now. I was at home, it was a few days after Christmas, and I had just laid down for sleep when a jolt of excitement shot through my body, beginning at the top of my spine and ending at the soles of my feet. See, I was inching closer and closer, one day at a time, to the day when I would leave on jet plane to a faraway city to begin a new adventure. Okay, granted, it was a less-faraway city and a much shorter adventure, one that had a very different outcome (hopefully) than the one I prepare for now. Just bear with me.
Seeing as how this post is coming mere days before the beginning of a new year, I suppose it’s convenient to make it a “year in review” sort of thing, but, just to be clear, I don’t feel obligated to constrain life’s arcs to an arbitrary unit of time. This particular post picks up primarily in late 2010. Even with my hesitance to impose a narrative structure onto life’s chaotic happenstance, I can comfortably say that the current arc of “my story” began then and with what one might conservatively call a “series of unfortunate events.” (Incidentally, my sole New Year’s resolution is to reach a point of comfort saying “my story” outside quotations.) But first, a bit of back story to get us rolling. After all, the beginning of one arc in a story is quite often the end of another.