Four years ago I launched Exvangelical during the 2016 Republican National Convention that saw Donald Trump officially nominated as the Republican candidate. Since that time, Exvangelical has become a big part of my life. I've poured a lot of time and energy into helping tell the stories of people who've left white evangelicalism, find language to express their experiences, and connect to a community of people who can relate to those experiences for however long they need it.
Four years on: 170,000 dead from coronavirus, an economy in tatters, and the worst aspects of our society emboldened, enabled and encouraged by Trump and his evangelical enablers - who still hold steady support for him. Why?
Many of us know why. It breaks our heart and enrages us, but we know why. We know from our own lived experience, and many of us who have been privileged enough to learn about the history of white evangelicalism in academic circles or have sought to teach ourselves know the degree to which our community is complicit in white supremacy and the degradation and corruption of our political systems.
I've felt for a long time that ex/post-evangelicals who make art or other content have two main "audiences:" one is the people who've left and functions as a way to let them know they aren't alone; the other is the people outside the evangelical community who can't understand what motivates either evangelical leaders or evangelicals in general - for whom we can act as "translators" of a sort.
Today is the first day of the 2020 RNC, and I'm launching Powers & Principalities in hopes of reaching that second audience.
Sometimes people who have remained conservative, even as people like me become more politically and theologically liberal, wonder what motivates that change. For me, it was a combination of my lived experience and learning the histories that will be explored in this show. Just like America itself, the white evangelical tradition has lofty ideals that it has never attained. It is incumbent upon us to name and DIS-claim those things, to repudiate them, and to expect more. Not out of spite, nor out of some generational grudge, but because it is the right thing to do.