This week I speak to “Martin Luther,” someone who requested anonymity in order to tell his story. 

Martin finds himself in a situation where he no longer believes in the evangelical worldview (and that’s putting it mildly) but he is unable to extract himself from the social circles that he finds himself in, or unable to express his true beliefs to those around him. Many listeners may relate. 

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This week I’m joined by Becky, Callie, and Amanda–aka The Twisted Sisterds!

The Twisted Sisterds spun out of the Inglorious Pasterds podcast, having met in The Pub, which is the Inglorious Pasterds private Facebook group.

We talk about their stories, deconstruction, responses to social upheaval–as well as Doctor Who, Stargate, and Lord of the Rings.

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Intro/Outro: “Night Owl” by Broke for Free, available on the Free Music Archive
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Interlude 1: “In the Beginning” by Todd Snider
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Interlude 2: “Boy with a Coin” by Iron & Wine
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This article strikes at the heart of what many people within the evangelical community do not understand. Impartiality is no longer a pre-requisite–or even a possibility–for political discourse. Indeed, for many people groups such as the African American community, it never was. But through a broader understanding of sexuality, gender, and an increasingly ethnically diverse and interconnected populace, the number of folks who are concerned about these social and political issues grows larger every day.

A second point: everything now has a political dynamic. If you are against same-sex marriage or believe homosexuality is wrong, that is making a value judgment on a person. Those judgments lead to harsh policies that affect a person’s life in real, tangible ways.

The key quote from the article: 

Impartiality, meanwhile, is an ideal whose time has gone. Imagine a political debate, perhaps in an old-fashioned chamber like Britain’s Houses of Parliament. Facing each other across the aisle are two middle-aged white men, wearing suits and ties. You can look from one to the other and back again, and have no real idea what they believe in, what they stand for. Then they open their mouths, and lay out their respective political agendas, in a back-and-forth exchange. Up in the press gallery, a third middle-aged white man, also wearing a suit and tie, might privately agree with the man on the left, or he might be more partial to the arguments of the man on the right. But when he reports the debate, he puts his personal opinions to one side. He simply reports the facts of the debate, along with whatever facts on the ground might be germane. That man, up in the press gallery, is being impartial.

That is not the world we live in.

Today, the personal is political; identity politics is politics. Political stances aren’t just something that we choose to express when we open our mouths in a certain way; they’re a way of living in the world. If I am a gay Yemeni immigrant, or a black trans woman, or a Muslim trans man who’s a survivor of sexual assault, then to be open and unapologetic about my identity is to be a partisan in the most urgent political debates of the day.

— Felix Salmon, Fusion

Finally, one more quote for the cishet white men like me: 

These issues are largely theoretical for straight white cis men like myself. Sliding behind a veil of journalistic impartiality is no great hardship for us–in fact, it’s something we have a tendency to quietly congratulate ourselves on. Just look at how we rise above the fray! We are safe in our unthreatened identity. For us, being self-effacing is a little bit of a humblebrag: we get to bask in our privilege without calling any particular attention to it.

For our colleagues who are female, of color, and LGBTQ, however, the calculus is very different. For them, being self-effacing is to deny the fact that their own faces, their own bodies, are politically valent. Impartiality, for anybody but a white man, is literally self-defeating.

— Felix Salmon, Fusion

I urge you to read the article, and consider this point of view. I am not impartial. Neither are you.

….and now for something completely different. 

I want to hear from you, the listener. 

I want to know: 
How are you doing? 
How are you coping with an increasingly polarized social media landscape? 
What sort of self-care or spiritual practices are you using?

I also want to hear how you are working through relationships–of any kind–where political, social, and theological disagreements have created a rift in the time leading up to and since the election. What are some examples in your life of ways you’ve struggled to reconcile with others, let alone reality itself?

 

These are open questions for me, and I don’t have a great sense for the best way forward, or even if there is such a thing as a “best” way forward. 

There are several reasons why I want to collect these stories. First, I’d love to collect these stories and share the compilation as part of a future episode. I think we can all benefit from the wisdom of the crowd, and from hearing a diverse set of voices. The Excommunity is much more than just me and my guests. It’s all of you. 

Second, the episcopal lectionary is absolutely killing it with apropos scripture. I’m recording this the week of February 5th, and today’s Old Testament reading was Isaiah 58:1-12. Here is what verses 1 through 9 have to say:

Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.
3 “Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.
4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator[a] shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

— Isaiah 58:1-9

If that doesn’t sum up the struggle a lot of us are feeling, I don’t know what does.


Finally, Felix Salmon wrote a great piece on Fusion called “Impartiality or diversity. Pick one.” Here is a key quote: 

Today, the personal is political; identity politics is politics. Political stances aren’t just something that we choose to express when we open our mouths in a certain way; they’re a way of living in the world. If I am a gay Yemeni immigrant, or a black trans woman, or a Muslim trans man who’s a survivor of sexual assault, then to be open and unapologetic about my identity is to be a partisan in the most urgent political debates of the day.

— Felix Salmon, Fusion

I believe this. We have to understand that identity politics is politics. It takes vulnerability and courage to share our identities, but it can be rewarding as well. For many, “sharing your identify” is not even optional; it’s who we are. And I think sharing your own perspective is the only way forward. 

I’ll be keeping this open for at least a couple of weeks. Use the hashtag #exvshare to propose and answer questions. 

I welcome responses via email, at contact@exvangelicalpodcast.com, or via phone. I have a Google Voice account set up to receive voicemails at 312–857–4196. If you are comfortable having your voicemail or email shared on the show, please say or write that your message is “ok to share.” And of course, you can always provide feedback regarding any episode at contact@exvangelicalpodcast.com.