, 22 tweets, 11 min read Read on Twitter
1. I so appreciate this thread by @ToriGlass (#FF). I believe there is value in this #Exvangelical community we’re building as we work and grow through tensions. I hope we can give each other some grace and take a step back to consider the sources of conflicting trauma responses.
2. Of course, we need to actively work not to elevate white feelings over POC as we do so. We white exvies need to be less fragile about being called out. And we need to recognize how the history of colonialism and white supremacism has given rise to different theologies.
3. Since #Exvangelical really began to become a thing, I and others, like @ToriGlass and @cindy_w_brandt and @brchastain, have advocated for the building of bridges between exvies who leave toxic religion for no religion, and exvies who leave for healthy or better religion.
4. Not always, but often, the #StillChristian vs. #ExChristian divide that runs through our community and movement is also a racial divide, for the reasons @ToriGlass lays out in her thread.

Many of us white exvies know only oppressive Christianity. And we want to run far away.
5. And because we white people still have a tendency to see ourselves and our experience as the default, we can be tempted to see toxic Christianity as the only “real” Christianity, and thus to proselytize for atheism or agnosticism or at least for rejecting Christianity.
6. But when we universalize our experience this way, we are again erasing and attempting to colonize people of color and their own experiences of a very different sort of Christianity. Which is not to say it has been perfect or that we should not listen to POC atheists. We should
7. Take what I say here with a grain of salt as it comes from a white person trying to do their best, but in listening to POC exvies, I have repeatedly heard that white exvies universalize our experience in ways that erase them. We need to use more care with our language.
8. And of course, it has to go deeper than just language. We need to read and learn about white supremacism and patriarchy and the ways that different backgrounds make for different experiences in living and leaving evangelicalism? What does that mean in practice?
9. One of the biggest things I think it means—one of the biggest things white exvangelicals need to change—is taking care not to be overly prescriptive about navigating the complexities of #BeingExvangelical. There are many gray areas here. Not everything is one-size-fits-all.
10. We should be able to have open disagreements as well without that constituting an existential crisis. I understand this is hard. White privilege is protected by white fragility, and white evangelicalism takes toxic conflict avoidance and passive aggression to the Nth degree.
11. We’re living in a time of high anxiety. We want to save face. We’re afraid cancel culture will destroy us. For white people, our fears are often exaggerated via the same internalized white supremacist mechanisms that elevate white feelings over black lives in our society.
12. We need to be aware of that and to check those impulses. We need to realize that being wrong is not the end of the world. That there is room to learn and grow. And for white exvies, we need to work to avoid placing an undue burden on POC in this regard as much as possible.
13. Many POC exvies do share their experiences with white exvies, perform emotional labor, and help us learn. And we should be grateful. In addition to listening, amplifying their voices, and not insisting we have one-size-fits-all ways of #BeingExvangelical, what can we do?
14. If we have the means, we can financially support POC exvies via Patreon, for example. We can participate in @ToriGlass’s #FundBWFriday campaign. And if we can’t afford to give we can promote these things. I support @crystalcheatham, @seelolago and @andrehenry on Patreon. #FF
15. And I don’t bring that up to say I’m perfect by any means, but simply to highlight that they’re doing valuable work that we can support financially.

As for the #Exvangelical community and movement, I know a lot of us are hurting, but I think this can be a moment for growth.
16. I don’t think #Exvangelical has to be a temporary thing or a phase that people go through. We’ll always be shaped by having lived and left toxic Christianity. I, for one, find it immensely helpful to have friends who “get it.” Who know the same weird subculture references.
17. And maybe many of us expected that shared background to mean we’d all gel neatly into a cohesive community. Things aren’t that simple. We have to keep listening, learning, growing; not all evangelical or exvangelical experience is the same. But we do share some things.
18. When I imagine the future of the #Exvangelical community, I see more offline events, small local gatherings and more occasional large ones. I also imagine us continuing to use social media and the press to raise awareness of evangelical extremism and to shift public opinion.
19. I imagine more blogs and resources and books and TV representation. I agree with @sparkle_heretic’s (#FF) suggestion that we should focus more on #ExvangelicalHealing, though to be careful not to overstep toward others, esp. if we are not credentialed mental health pros.
20. I don’t think we’re done yet. I think #Exvangelical is part of a critical generational shift in the United States, and that collectively we have a lot to say and achieve. Here’s a reminder that we’ve made progress:

rewire.news/religion-dispa…
21. I don’t have all the answers, but I still think that despite recent painful episodes, the #Exvangelical community has value and will continue to evolve. I hope that this thread will be encouraging to many of us having a hard time right now. Don’t despair.

#FridayThoughts
22. If you value the work I do, #Exvangelical and otherwise, I would also greatly appreciate if you’d pledge $5 a month or more to help me make it sustainable.

Much love and gratitude to all my patrons!

End thread.

patreon.com/cstroop

#EmptyThePews #FridayFeeling #Resist
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