Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Thanksgiving Prayer

This morning at church we were encouraged to offer our prayers of thanksgiving. The following prayer came to mind. It didn't come out quite like this, but this is what I wanted to say:

* * * * *

Dear God, thank you for the amazing variety in your creation:
The variety of objects in the universe,
as well as the variety of life here on earth.
Thank you for giving your creation the ability to adapt
and to thrive whatever the challenge.

Thank you also, God, that even though you made your creation
so that it can run quite well enough on its own,
you also made it possible that we can call on you
when we need you to intervene.
And we thank you that you do intervene:
to heal, to create, to re-create.
All we need is a little faith.

Finally, God, thank you that even though you made humans
with the ability to make decisions freely,
you chose to intervene in our lives,
by reaching into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,
to draw us to yourself and to make us your own.
Thank you for that most precious gift: for choosing me.

* * * *

Hope the reader(s) had a nice Thanksgiving holiday. Hopefully the posting pace will pick up some in the coming weeks.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Evangelical vs. evangelical

As promised, we need to cover what I mean by "evangelical" (little-e) and why it is different from "Evangelical" (capital-E). While I have had an intuitive notion of the difference for a while, reading Brian McLaren's book A Generous Orthodoxy helped put it into words. This is a great book (so far) that I will probably discuss in a future post after I have finished reading it. In the chapter entitled "Why I Am evangelical" he lists several different "definitions" of the word Evangelical (pp. 128-129):

"Big E" Evangelical, as some use the term (especially in the U.S.), increasingly refers to "the Religious Right."...In contrast, evangelicals include both political conservatives and liberals, and those who, like me, don't fit in either category.

As used by others, Evangelical sometimes means "Fundamentalists of a slightly less narrow-minded and arrogant attitude," which is...a small step in the right direction...I would heartily like to be included among any group making even small steps in the right direction...as long as that label means "adhering to fundamentals," and as long as fundamentals itself means "loving God and loving neighbors" above all.

...More positively, Evangelical generally refers to people who (a) highly respect the Bible...(b) emphasize personal conversion...(c) believe that God can be known and experienced with something like intimacy..., and (d) want to share their faith with others...

Thus, while the term Evangelical has some positive connotations, the association with the Religion Right and Fundamentalism makes it a hard label to own up to. McLaren points out that the term evangelical etymologically means "pertaining to the good news" and proposes his own definition of evangelical (pp. 130-133):

When I say I cherish an evangelical identity, I mean somethign beyond a belief system or doctrinal array or even a practice. I mean an attitude--an attitude toward God and our neighbor and our mission that is passionate....When evangelicals are being true to their identity, they do whatever it takes to express their love for God and God's love for their neighbors--however unconventional and innovative their methods may be....I hope evangelical can become an inclusive and positive term, rather than a sectarian and restrictive one--an essential element of a generous orthodoxy.

So, in good Chinese menu tradition, when I refer to the term evangelical I am choosing one definition from Column A (pertaining to the Bible, personal salvation and evangelism) and one from Column B (passionate about loving God and neighbor). This is not only a more accurate and useful definition, but one to which one can aspire and which is more of a challenge than simply pulling the right levers on Election Day.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Etymology

As I mentioned in the inaugural post, this blog was created rather suddenly and without a lot of forethought. Consequently, I had no idea whether the name "Evangelution" had ever been used before on the internet. Since then, I Googled "Evangelution" and found only 4 different hits with two different usages of the word:

1. Combination of the words evangelization and revolution; i.e., a new way of doing evangelism
2. The evolution of Evangelicals: the two references with this usage were not clear exactly what they were referring to. From the context, it appears to refer to the adaption of Evanglicals to differing political environments so as to ensure their survival. In one of the references it definitely had negative connotations.

There was another hit in German which had something to do with Japanese anime. Go figure!

Just to be thorough, I also googled "Evangolution" and got one hit which was an irreverent parody about preaching evolution.

So, it appears that no one on the web has used this term to refer to an evangelical perspective on evolution. It's not so easy to be first on the web anymore! However, as will be discussed in future posts, this is not a new idea; evangelicals have been exploring evolution for a while and there are several good books that have come out recently from this perspective.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Welcome!

This blog came about by accident: I was trying to leave comments on a friend's blog and only other bloggers could leave comments. My first attempt at creating a new blog resulted in my choice of name (jaycasey--taken from my initials, JKC) was already taken (he/she is not even using it--the nerve!). Then I starting thinking, wouldn't it be fun to have a blog where I could post my latest thoughts and findings on the subject of evangelution. So, here we are. Despite its accidental origins, the blog will (hopefully) be intelligently designed from here on.

For this inaugural post, some definitions are in order. Evangelution could mean one of (at least) two things: (1) attempts to convert people to evolution and (2) evolution from an evangelical perspective. As to the former, there are many others who are more qualified and more adept than I, including my friend Abdul Muhib, so I will not be using that definition for the time being. By virtue of having created a false dualism, by default I will be discussing evolution from an evangelical perspective.

I should also define evangelical. For now, all I am going to say is that I mean evangelical (with a small "e") not Evangelical. The difference between these two is left as an exercise for the reader, and the answer will be in a (not-too-distant) future post.