In a prior post, I wrote about Reformed theology and how it was an initial gateway for me out of funda-gelicalism (FG). However, I didn’t stay there for long. And I want to make clear that I am not suggesting anyone need go the same route I have to get out of FG. There are Christians from all faith traditions, Reformed, Catholic, and Orthodox who are either not in that world (FG), left that mentality/belief system, or were never there to begin with. I am merely telling my story.
The first Reformed theologian to really impact my thinking (and heart) relative to my journey out of FG was James K.A. Smith (see here). Read anything you can by Smith. But one book (see here) stood out to me as far as my journey goes. It isn’t a long book (only 146 pages) and is very readable/accessible, entitled: “Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?” A very big part of my journey out of FG was understanding how modern it was. I always thought that FG was as close to what the Apostles and early Church taught as any faith tradition could get. To learn how modern it truly was, created cracks in the foundations of my world. It shook me. So, it was a start.
I am aware the postmodern v. modernity conversation has taken many turns, and there are aspects of postmodernism, or the way it is used or understood by some, I don’t agree with. I realize it is a complex subject. However, Smith’s book, in my opinion, gives one of the best explanations for how postmodernism is positive (nothing to be afraid of), and how it opens the door to recovering the Judeo-Christian, what we call “religion” as story, narrative, and not simply a system of intellectual belief. It further opens to door to seeing the mystical aspect of the Church and her teaching, her living, being, and ethos.
There are many good books and resources out there discussing postmodernism. Even from within the evangelical world, there were/are many good books that, while not probably going far enough, laid the groundwork and opened further doors for seeing the Christian faith in a new light. Some of those books were from people like Stanley Grenz (see here), Brian McLaren (see here), Middleton and Walsh (see here), and Leonard Sweet (see here). There were many more, but I can certainly suggest these to you. All, along with Smith, were important and helpful in moving me past FG. For those still coming from within the evangelical traditions, I heartily recommend these writers to you.
If you have been struggling with a sense of something not quite right in the FG world, something missing, something askew, then I recommend you get some of these books and begin the journey. It might not take you to the same places it took me, but, that isn’t the point. The point is not to stay in a place where you know something is wrong.