The Saturday before last was my second day of orientation at the GTU. It actually had little to do with introductions to the school, faculty, and programs. We instead spent the day discussing the concept of "service-learning" prior to going out and doing some actual work in the community. I spent several hours in a creek bed, cleaning up garbage and fallen debris that was either hindering the flow of the stream or detracting from its beauty (pardon the implied spiritual metaphor).
There was a very brief conversation that has stuck with me, in which several of us were discussing our similar college experiences at Evangelical schools. At some point a fellow student asked me if I was an Evangelical. I gave him my answer...which provoked a brief discussion about the scope and boundaries and marks of Evangelicalism.
So what does it mean to be an Evangelical Christian? I’m not convinced there’s one definitive answer, as I sense this descriptor means different things to different people in different contexts. Maybe for you it’s a political term, maybe a spiritual term, maybe a negative or positive term, maybe more a personality descriptor than a theological/religious one, or maybe just a redundant phrase, as for you perhaps true Christians, if they are good Christians, are necessarily Evangelical.
I was curious to hear from any of you—you who venture to this blog regularly or have done so for the first time—your response to any (or all) of the following questions:
- What's an Evangelical Christian (as opposed to any other kind of Christian)?
- What characterisitics—beliefs, practices—do you associate with Evangelicalism?
- Are you an Evangelical Christian? Why or why not?
- Are there specific things which you believe or practice that you think indicate you fall into the Evangelical "camp?" Anything that you think indicates you fall outside of the camp?
- If you don't consider yourself a Christian at all, what do you think of when you think of an Evangelical Christian?
- What do you find most admirable or praiseworthy about Evangelical Christianity?
I’d love to hear your responses to one or all of the above questions, whether you are Christian or not, Evangelical or not, human or not (non-human responses welcome). Don't go read a Wikipedia article for info...I'm less interested in what such sources say and more intrigued by your perception/opinion of the term. Would love your feedback!
And it probably goes without saying, but...please be as kind as you can. Honest, but kind. :)