I've written several times about why I wrote Fundamorphosis: How I Left Fundamentalism But Didn't Lose My Faith (here, here, and here). I've talked about some of the process and what I hoped to accomplish by telling my story. Today I thought I'd flip the coin and talk about some of the things I didn't write Fundamorphosis to accomplish.
These things were not my goal:
1. I did not write Fundamorphosis to convince you to agree with me.
The book is my story not yours. I hope that some of you will find yourself in it, that it will resonate with you in some way. But I don't judge the success or failure of Fundamorphosis based on how many people I persuade to agree with me. I don't mind if you disagree with my theological conclusions. I'm ok with it if you think I've gone down the wrong road. I'm cool with you saying, "Yeah ... I just don't agree with that." I think there is something much more beautiful than theological homogeny. I love the variegated beauty of truth expressed in the church. In fact, I think the church will be weaker and uglier if everyone thinks and believes like I do.
2. I did not write Fundamorphosis to make you emergent.
I self-identify as "emergent." That is a label that is anathema to some people. I've been told that the emergent church is "dangerous" and is the precursor of the one world religion of the AntiChrist. It's also a label that some think is already outdated and no longer useful. One friend who was a leading voice in the early emergent church conversation told me not to use the term at all. And, for a lot of people, it's a label that means absolutely nothing. As a proud member of gen-x, I'm supposed to eschew all labels, but I kind of like self-identifying as "emergent." And I don't mind if you don't.
3. I did not write Fundamorphosis to make you hate fundamentalists.
This book is not a polemic against fundamentalism. I tell my story and highlight what I think is wrong with fundamentalism, but I try to be very careful not to denigrate fundamentalists or their faith. I have a deep respect for fundamentalists like my grandfather, Bob Ryerse, who risked much to stand on their principles and resist what they thought was encroaching modernism in the church. As I say in the book, I could not be who I am if I had not been who I once was. I am not angry or hateful or bitter. I'm just glad that God has moved me on.