2015: Advent Religion: Ex-GLE

by on December 1, 2015

Finding an Advent Science subject was difficult this year. I seriously considered not taking part at all. It’s been several years since I graduated and my professional speciality is pretty arcane, though one of these years I might regale you with tales from the self-corrective arm of the human technology called the NHS. But I don’t have anything I’ve recently studied to teach out. It took until late November to have an idea. So if the topic seems a little odd, that’s why.

This year, more than usual, I’m relying on my darling readers to ask me questions. I can ramble about stuff that I think might be interesting, but I’d prefer to be right about that! So if there’s something you want to know or don’t understand about the subject, please please ask.

That subject being: the insular evangelical Christian subculture I grew up in around the turn of the millennium in southeast England. Because I have spent nearly a decade gradually growing away from that culture, found other subcultures where I can be a better self, and finally have the distance necessary to see that where I came from is a pretty strange place.

Let’s start with the bare facts:

I’m white, middle-class, and as English as breakfast tea. My parents are also white, middle-class and English, and I was raised in a pair of white middle-class English church communities of a generally evangelical bent. The first was Baptist, the second Congregationalist. Both practiced adult baptism and male-only leadership. We weren’t young-earth creationists, but we were creationists. We weren’t millennialists and didn’t talk about the end of the world much. We weren’t actively Quiverfull (see lovejoyfeminism for Libby Anne’s insider view on that particular strand of theology), but were strongly complementarian with respect to gender roles. We were homophobic, transphobic, anti-feminist, racist and religiously bigoted, and I use “we” deliberately. I believed these things. I participated in the harm we did.

I now believe that the sexual attitudes of that subculture are fucked up, the gender roles deserve ridicule and scorn, and the theology is damaging. I don’t think proof-texting proves anything much. I like smells and bells. I spent several years going to a Church of England service and I called the vicar Father(!). I am not a good little evangelical. But I was. What do you want to know?

4 Responses to “Ex-GLE”

  • Kit says:

    Do you regret getting baptised? I kinda feel ick that I was confirmed into the cofe, but I was uncertain about religion at the time and thought confirmation would convince me that the cofe were correct about things. (It didn’t.) Or is that just part of the whole past?

  • I would like to hear about Biblical literalism in the churches you grew up in.

  • 1. I’m interested that you take responsibility for being part of a church which harmed others. Most church leavers don’t. How have you come to that, and has that had practical expressions?

    2. What encouraged you to leave, and what kept you there?

    3. ‘High church’ smells and bells places are as denominations every bit as ‘homophobic, transphobic, anti-feminist, racist and religiously bigoted’ as GLE, even though some congregations of both flavours can be more inclusive. Discuss.

    4. Why did it take you so long to leave? Growing up before widespread Internet, I literally didn’t know about things like the CofE problem with women in ministry. I left within a few months of finding out about it. These days, it’s a lot harder to only be aware of your own parish. Many people I have a lot of respect for (including the person I’m marrying) continue to be active members of denominations which they know do shitty things, when in other areas of life they would leave similarly harmful organisations. I struggle to understand this.

  • Kit says:

    What is a proof text?

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