An Earnest Question About Anti-science, Poor hating, Narrow-minded Republican evangelicals

Every time I hear someone pontificating about how evangelicals don’t care about science or the poor or don’t like “hard questions” or are way into being Republican, I always wonder the same thing: Who are these people they’re talking about?

I am an evangelical. I know a whole, whole lot of different sorts of evangelicals all over the world, and I’m increasingly  confused by the ever-recycled, echo chamber truisms about evangelicals.

I’m bewildered because many of the folks I know who are doing the most rigorous scientific research and working hardest to bring hope, help, and justice to the poor are evangelicals. Like these folks.
Or any number of the (literally) hundreds of evangelical students I could link to who I have personally met who are doing incredible work in science. Not to mention, this guy.

Or our dearest of friends who started this or this or this. Not to mention, these guys who were talking about social justice before it was cool (and before I was born). Or this dude. Or these guys, who just might be saving the world.

Some people like my friend Daniel so hate science and poor people that they become top of their field in medicine and then move with their families to developing nations where they give quality care to the sick.

And then folks are writing about a new sort of evangelicalism.
And stuff like this keeps happening. And this. And this.

And I hear about these stories of tremendous beauty in a dark world and talk to these kind of science loving, compassionate, justice seeking evangelical weirdos every single day.

I want to be clear: I’m not saying that this litany makes the gospel evangelicals believe true or that you should be an evangelical or that we’re worthy of any kind of respect or that the evangelical church doesn’t deserve criticism or that we aren’t all completely nuts.

But here is my honest question: Am I just really lucky?

I’m asking this earnestly. Do I just happen to know the ‘right sort of’ evangelicals, a negligible, invisible sect within a sect? Granted, I work for these guys. And they’re always coming up with things like this. But is my sample that skewed? Have I just gone to above averagely awesome churches? Because none of these science-rejecting, poor ignoring, homophobes go to church with me.  So is my experience all that unique? Or is this stereotype based on partial truths or the Moral Majority of  twenty years ago? Or is this a strawman that is being trotted out and bashed again and again? And if so, why?

A Broken Dryer in Springtime

Note: this entry is from last Spring. I’m reposting it here because the content still seems relevant to me.

When we moved into our house, there were clotheslines in the backyard already here and all set up,  so I said that I’d hang out clothes to dry all the time.  However, as of a year and a half in our house, I’d hung out the clothes to dry exactly zero times.

See, there are a lot of good reasons to dry clothes outside.  It saves money and electricity, and it’s good for the environment and for your clothes.  The only reason to not do it really is that I’m lazy and that is the reason that won out.

But then our clothes dryer stopped working and fixing it requires money and calling a repair person, and the same laziness that kept me from drying the clothes kept my husband and I from calling the repair guy.   I mentioned the recent passing of our dryer to our good friend Woody, who is never ever lazy and was raised by hippies, and he said, “Oh good, this will make you hang out your clothes to dry.”

The gauntlet was laid down and I had no choice but to either hang something or call someone.  The jig was up for laziness.

The next day happened to be the perfect clothes drying weather – breezy, warm, and dry, and we had a few clothes pins leftover that I’d used to hold up party decorations sometime last year, so the baby napped, and I hang out clothes.

Well actually, first I went to the internet and googled, ‘how to use a clothesline,’ because I wanted to do it just right so the clothes dried well and didn’t overlap too much and hung correctly and I read a thousand very detailed, long instructions, which basically all summed up said, ‘Just put the clothes on the line, idiot. You’ll be fine.” And I was.

In fact, I’ve done it again a couple more times and really love it.  First, it is so relaxing.  It feels so calming and historic and simple.  Turns out, clothes hanging though a totally plain, ordinary practice is somehow meditative or, at least, causes me to notice the breeze, the sun, and the texture of the day.  Also, it makes your clothes smell amazing.  I can’t explain how this happens, but when Jonathan and I wrapped up in the sheets that night, they smelled like a mix of springtime grass, sunshine, and slowness.   I also love how the clothes feel all crinkly. I saw in my research that this bugged some people, but I liked it.

All in all, I’m glad our dryer broke. It forced me to do something that yielded more than convenience can–a little bit of peace and beauty in the day.

And it saved electricity, which hopefully contributes in the most minute of minute ways to peace on a grander scale.  After I finished, the baby woke up and I took off her clothes (because our crunchy earthy doctor told us that sun and air are the best cure for diaper rash)  and my naked baby and I laid on a blanket on the grass and had a lovely time playing in the sun as the clothes dried and imagining that we lived in the 1800′s.

The afternoon felt timeless.