50 Signs You Might Have Grown Up in Evangelical Subculture

 

1. You regularly prayed at the altar for your high school crush to get saved, mostly because you wanted to be free to date him or her without having to worry about being “unequally yoked.”

2. When you couldn’t find any of your friends from youth group at school, you were a little worried the rapture had taken place and you were left behind.

3. After your many unsuccessful attempts at tearing a phone book in half, you secretly wondered if the Power Team was on steroids.

4. When Amy Grant went secular, you questioned her salvation.

5. You once apologized to others for going through your “Petra phase.”

6. You felt guilty for missing your quiet time. Every day.

7. You made others feel guilty for missing their quiet time. Every day.

8. While you or someone you knew was praying publicly, “Lord” was invoked every three to four words. Or “Father God.”

9. You dreamed of one day becoming a Promise Keeper.

10. You’ve used the following terms or phrases in serious conversation: accountability partner, the Lord laid it on my heart, hate the sin but love the sinner, it’s about relationship not religion, 2 Chronicles 7:14, soul-winning, backslidden.

11. You know that the old Larry Norman Thief in the Night rapture movies are way better than Kirk Cameron’s new ones.

12. The lyrics from DC Talk’s Jesus Freak have stayed with you all these years.

13. You’re pretty sure nothing can scar you any more than what you already experienced when you saw Carman live in concert. Thanks for the memories, Carman!

14. Your church used Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ as a marketing strategy an evangelistic outreach.

15. You can differentiate between the terms pre-tribulation and post-tribulation with relative ease.

16. You only read the books Rob Bell wrote *before* he lost his salvation.

17. Back in the 80s, you knew that the name for the band KISS was an acronym that stands for “Knights in Satan’s Service.”

18. You were also really bummed to learn that Hotel California was Satanic.

19. At church camp, especially toward the end of the late service, you were frequently torn between spending more time at the altar or getting to the concession stand before it closed.

20. You know what the Roman Road is.

21. You know the identity of The Painter of Light.

22. You can name every single character from VeggieTales.

23. You liked to speak about your unspoken prayer requests.

24. You know that Jesus — not Coke — is the real thing. Relatedly, you have the keen ability to instantly turn any popular marketing phrase into a Christian platitude.

25. Jesus Camp wasn’t just a movie. It was your life.

26. Despite all the goofy hair, Ray Boltz could bring your church to tears, every time. (Now he just brings your church to tears because he’s gay.)

27. During youth group nobody ever mentioned that the pastor who originally coined the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” was actually a socialist. (Funny how some stuff gets left out.)

28. You died a little on the inside when you learned that Rich Mullins smoked.

29. Listening to Tooth and Nail records made you feel so edgy. And going to the Cornerstone Festival? That was so alternative!!

30. You can instantly recognize and participate in this exchange with ease: “Do you listen to __________? Then you might like __________!”

31. You were an expert on things you had never studied, e.g. the Bible, feminism, postmodernism, etc.

32. There was a time when you thought that biblical scholarship and apologetics were the same thing.

33. Anytime you needed a particular text to suit your needs, you were prone to say, “When you examine the original Greek…”

34. You knew that Thompson could chain reference the hell out of anything. (If you don’t know what this means, see #6 above.)

35. You loved the early church fathers even though you had never actually read them.

36. You combed over Evidence That Demands a Verdict all the time, but when even that wasn’t enough you were so relieved when The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict was released. Because then you could especially be sure you were right. So you could prove it to others, of course.

37. Depending on the era in which you were born, your childhood did not include Dungeons and Dragons or Harry Potter.

38. At one point in time, you thought doing all the hand motions to Lord I Lift Your Name on High was somehow a good idea.

39. You left tracts wherever you went (and, if truth be told, you would’ve been pretty shocked if a tract ever produced a converted soul).

40. You hovered just outside the philosophy section of Barnes and Noble, judging the customers you should have been witnessing to. (You also wondered why you had to witness so much given the doctrine of sovereignty.)

41. Every judgmental statement you ever made started with, “I know that as Christians we aren’t supposed to judge, but . . .”

42. You harbored a sincere conviction that Louie Giglio could save Christianity. Then you thought Mark Driscoll could. Now you wonder if the Christianity you once knew is even worth saving.

43. You believed that owning a copy of Strong’s Concordance meant that you were an expert on Hebrew and Greek. If you didn’t believe this, it was because you knew that anyone who was serious about biblical languages used Vine’s.

44. You made sure to “break in” your new, pleather-bound Bible like a baseball glove so that it looked well-used, and then you toted it around in a zip-up carrying case so it didn’t get *too* messed up.

45. If you ever missed a church event, you asked your friends if you could copy their sermon notes.

46. You aren’t entirely convinced that the “True Love Waits” leaders had their love lives together anymore than did the popular (yet far too “worldly”) students you were always praying for.

47. Your favorite part of the “See You At The Pole” rally was the opportunity to hold hands with someone you liked. The post-rally donuts came in a close second.

48. You still have that concert t-shirt that you had autographed by the bass player from Caedmon’s Call.

49. Deep down you knew the Bible contradicted itself, but you could never really admit it. (Coincidentally you became really good at repressing stuff.)

50. Your evangelical friends are still praying for you to come back to the Lord.

——

My thanks to @darrylschafer, @corygoode and @travismarler for collaborating with me on this list. Some of these are more true than we’d like to admit. They also inevitably reflect our own particular experiences in the evangelical church (especially as GenXers), so please free to broaden this list by adding your own Signs You Might Have Been an Evangelical Christian in the comments!

27 Comments

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27 responses to “50 Signs You Might Have Grown Up in Evangelical Subculture

  1. You destroyed all of your secular tapes/cds!!! (And now you regret it!)

  2. Josh Man

    You had to sit through the crappy movie on why sex/rock and roll/whatever other pop culture thing was bad before you could do the fun stuff at a church lock-in

  3. As a woman, you thought God may have called you to being single forever because submitting to male authority just wasn’t altogether something you enjoyed.

  4. You were conflicted over your deep devotion to C.S. Lewis’ books and concern for his soul when you found out he smoked and drank.

  5. Colbert

    You grew up loving science and dinosaurs so you became a master at cognitive dissonance in order to accept your church’s view of evolution and archaeology and still enjoy documentaries on the discovery channel.

  6. Gawd. I’ll add one: you wore out your Imperials album. Dates me, I know. :o.

  7. You had to explain away the obvious text of 1 Peter 3:21 (Baptism now saves you) and Luke 22:19 (This IS my body), and promote the tenants of the Altar Call (“age of accountability” and “making a decision”), without a single biblical reference.

  8. I am embarrassed to own up to quite a few of these.

  9. For the record, it was possible to live through a cheesy and often misguided evangelical subculture and still come out with a strong, more mature faith. (#49, 50)

  10. Logan

    You never dated anyone, but was “in a relationship” off and on all throughout high school.

  11. You just really had to just use the word ‘just’ repeatedly in just about just every prayer you just passionately prayed, with just your best Christian friends.

  12. Karen

    You never hung out with people, you had “fellowship.” You never helped someone, you “ministered” to him/her. You never say you made a life decision about something, you say you were “called” to it. You felt comforted when to know Jesus was always with you, except when you were in the shower.

  13. BRILLIANT. Seriously, this was exactly it for me. It’s craaaaazy. Here’s a couple more- trying to save your pets!!!! Boycotting any brand that Focus On The Family told you to because they were putting 666 on cereal boxes… Or as a kid sneaking back to the kitchen to polish off the rest of the communion crackers and fruit juice… Ha!!! Knowing the words to Bullfrogs and Butterflies or Music Machine… Geez… I could give you another 50.

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