There’s a rising market of books geared toward the rising audience of ex-vangelicals, those deconstructing their faith, nones, and young adults who are also struggling with doubt in the Christian faith they were raised in. There are multiple reasons for this rising audience. How many were spiritually abused or saw abuse in their own churches or denominations? How many were shamed when they were honest about their doubts? How many saw the disconnect between the truths confessed and lives lived in the church? How many observed the tribalism and anger in debating (and squeezing out) over secondary issues? How many never saw or experienced love in the church and delight in Christ? How many realized their faith was really in an ideology that could not bring them peace? How many were just going through the motions, so when it came time to bear their cross they were seduced by the world?
I’ve been reading some of these books. My favorite so far is Joshua McNall’s latest, Perhaps: Reclaiming the Space Between Doubt and Dogmatism. And I think we all should read it. It’s really written for the church.
One of the things that I love about this book is that it is playing my jam on the importance of the imagination in the Christian life. God created us with something amazing—the ability to discover, envision, and embrace beauty. And he continuously ignites our eschatological imaginations in his word. Here’s McNall’s challenge:
The importance of what I define as “faith seeking imagination” increases in a cultural moment when the church is torn by two unsavory extremes: the force of crippling secular doubt and the zealotry of partisan religious dogmatism. Rekindling a gracious theological imagination—rooted in orthodoxy, Scripture, tradition, community, and great works of art—is essential to confront the “resounding gong[s]” (1 Cor. 13:1) of our day with something better than pervasive skepticism or abrasive certainty. In this blank space between unchecked doubt and dogmatism, Christians must relearn how to say “perhaps.”