This article was originally published on The Gospel Coalition:
Confession: When I was a kid, I was in love with Ricky Schroder. He was the only one for me. (Except for a short hiatus after The Karate Kid, when Ralph Macchio was my all in all for a few months.) That tow-headed heartthrob who took my breath away with every episode of the 1980s sitcom Silver Spoons.
As much as I felt undying love for Ricky Schroder, I knew little about him. I didn’t have the opportunity to open my laptop (they didn’t yet exist) or turn on our home computer (we didn’t own one), hop on YouTube, and watch my future husband walk me through his breakfast choices, morning drive, and whimsical musings. I couldn’t check his Instagram for updates every hour or tweet at him with the real possibility he might tweet back. The best chance I had of communicating with him was writing a letter to his fan club. I never got a reply. I was crushed. If I would’ve found out he was a former Christian now identifying as agnostic, it would have broken my heart. But it wouldn’t have shaken my own faith.
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This article originally published at The Gospel Coalition:
“Do not hide your face away from me, for I would gladly meet my death to see it, since not to see it would be death indeed.” — Augustine
Confessions is an autobiography, yet it’s much more. It’s a theological treatise, though it’s much broader. It’s a prayer, but it goes much deeper. To read Confessions is to witness a brilliant and flawed man contending with the God he loves. In fact, the book in its entirety is addressed to God. With the intimacy of a memoir, the sophistication of a philosophical dissertation, and the honesty of a brokenhearted child crying out to his father, Confessions transcends the signification of genre. It can’t be classified. But it must be reckoned with.
In the past couple of years, Jen Hatmaker has received quite a bit of attention, not only as a New York Times best-selling author and social media sensation, but also as one of the most high-profile Christians to affirm same-sex marriage. This ignited a controversy that lit up the blogosphere with equal parts disagreement and praise. Despite being given the boot by Southern Baptist retailer LifeWay, her following has slowly gained steam, establishing her as a successful podcaster (her podcast, For The Love! is regularly found in the iTunes top 10 list of its category) and a persuasive voice in the progressive Christian movement.
Her shift on same-sex marriage isn’t the only indicator that her beliefs about Christianity have changed. Since its launch in 2017, Hatmaker’s podcast has been a veritable “who’s who” of progressive Christian leaders such as Sarah Bessey, Rachel Held Evans, Pete Enns, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Richard Rohr, Jeff Chu, Mike McHargue (“Science Mike”), Barbara Brown Taylor, Austin Channing Brown, Lisa Sharon Harper, Rachel Hollis, and Glennon Doyle. As I’ve written about previously, progressive Christianity affirms a different gospel.
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