From the blog

Why I’m Taking a Break from Evangelicals and Cynicism

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t posted anything in so long. At least, I’ve decided to tell myself you’re wondering. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the website and my writing projects. Picture me sitting by a fire with a pipe between my teeth, or perched on a rocky vista under the stars. That’s not how it went, but I’d like you to picture it. So after all this thinking, I came to a conclusion:

I’m taking an indefinite break from my “evangelicals and cynicism” project.

I should unpack this. And because this is a blog, I’ll unpack it in bullet points.

Don’t worry.

Nothing dramatic happened. I haven’t recanted or gone through some crisis of conviction. And I haven’t even abandoned my project forever. I just decided that our current political and cultural situation is not the right time to have this conversation via blog or book.


My website started as a companion to a book project. The idea was to build up a platform to convince the major publishers to accept my book. And it sort of worked. I have a respectable number of readers, and I made it to the last round of consideration at a large publishing house. I reached the point where I would be going to a fresh batch of publishers and doubling down on the project. This is what I’ve decided to pause.

Some Reasons.

I want to make something clear: I’m not pausing this project ONLY because of Trump. But it is mostly because of Trump. I kept getting comments from readers calling me a Trump supporter. At first, my reaction was to roll my eyes and point to the many, many, many times where I criticized Trump and made it clear I wasn’t voting for him.

But the more I thought about it, the more I understood why people had these flip reactions. When I started this project, Obama was president, and the Republican field for the 2016 election wasn’t even solidified. Trump was a punchline with only a crazy fringe of support—certainly not someone that an aspiring evangelical cultural writer should worry about.

Things have changed.[1] It’s not just that Trump is in power: it’s that he’s dragged so many evangelicals along with him. Seeing everyone from Eric Metaxas to Mike Huckabee become standard-bearers for the Trump presidency has been a punch to the gut for a lot of us. Especially those of us who hoped “evangelical” was a term worth fighting for.

So yeah, a bad time for my book project.

Imagine you’re at a party, having a conversation with a group of friends. Midway through, you recall a book passage that you think would add something to the conversation. So you comb through the host’s bookshelves, find the right book, and start flipping through the pages to find the right passage. But as you find the passage, you realize that your friends have moved on. Some have wandered to different groups, one is at the snack table, and the friends who remained have changed subjects.

What do you do? You put the book back on the shelf, and wait for a better time to read the passage. Maybe, later in the party, that old conversation will come back and you’ll have a chance to read it. Maybe not. Either way, you shrug and walk to the snack table to get those figs wrapped in bacon. In addition to eating figs wrapped in bacon, I plan to keep writing, and to keep this website going. But it’s going to be a different kind of writing. I would tell you more, but I’m trying to build suspense to keep interest.

[1] Incisive, I know.

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