The Heart of the Evangelical Crisis

Featured Photo above is of a Mandinka Potter in the Makasutu Forest of The Gambia, West Africa using an old foot-treadle potter’s wheel. Scripture is my addition to a favorite photo from my 3 years in The Gambia, a print of which hangs in my bedroom here.

Though I dropped my paid subscription to Christianity Today, I continue to get the free CT Newsletter and just read this article that speaks to my desire for a new church and new identity: The Heart of the Evangelical Crisis. I hope the link works for you to read it. Like other writers on the subject, he does not have all the answers, but describes the problem in an interesting way that rings true with much of my life experiences.

While serving as a missionary in The Gambia, West Africa, I soon quit calling myself a “Christian,” a “Baptist” or an “Evangelical” as I related to Muslim friends calling myself “A Follower of Jesus.” The difference in our relationships was amazing with a new label and I found other reasons for the title when I returned to the states for the first 12 years of my retirement and even now while living as an expat American Retiree in the Roman Catholic Costa Rica. I’m a follower of Jesus!   🙂

The primary focus of this blog is retirement in Costa Rica, my love of nature and especially the birds here in Costa Rica, but occasionally I feel the need to speak my deep feelings about what I consider a crisis in America today, for which I partly blame Southern Baptists (the largest of the Evangelicals) for whom I worked my total adult working life. I now have no pride in those years, even though the denomination was different when I started. I apologize to the readers whom I offend when I speak like this, but it is a sincere concern of mine that I feel compelled to express at times. We who follow Jesus cannot allow the “Republican Trump America” of today to define Christianity! Far from it!

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 

Matthew 16:24-26

And it was accentuated by this morning’s Bible reading in The Message, Matthew 7:13-29 titled “Being and Doing,” a sort of warning to us believers.
WWJD?
¡Pura vida!

12 Replies to “The Heart of the Evangelical Crisis”

  1. Thanks, Charlie. We’ll read this with profit, I’m sure. We often use this term for ourselves instead of other terms deemed derogatory.

  2. Excellent expression of your “follower of Jesus” faith. You are not alone.

    I often pray for you and value from your blog.

  3. Such an important post, and I greatly appreciate your perspective on the very sad and frightening state of things here in the US–in large part because of fundamentalists who seem to have lost any commitment to real humanity. I don’t understand their motivation, which seems like ignorance to me (and almost a psychosis) like followers of Jim Jones who drank the kool-aide.

  4. Well said Charlie. I have been following your blog for about a month now, and I enjoy it tremendously.
    I was born in western Africa in a country called Angola, and I am now living in the States, but in about 8 years I am planning to retire to Costa Rica, and start to enjoy the ” PURA VIDA “.

    1. Paz para ti Mario! And thanks for following my little nature-lovers blog. I will look forward to welcoming you to retirement in Costa Rica and I hope on some visits here before then. Please use the “Contact” menu item to contact me when coming. You should know that I am also a lover of Africa, having lived and worked in The Gambia, West Africa for 3 years. I considered retirement there but not practical for many reasons. Let’s have lunch together the next time you are here in Costa Rica! ~Charlie

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