There is now an entire industry of writers who leverage their insider experiences of evangelicalism/Catholicism/Mormonism, etc to confirm the biases of secularist, anti-religious elites.

This is my least favorite religious writers market & I’m trying to figure out why.
I’m not talking about the ex- genre of memoirs that parade their subsequent enlightenment. (Yawn.) Instead...
I’m thinking of writers who, if you ask, are still religious, maybe even still embedded in these communities, but their essays & op-eds are all written for non-religious readers who disdain the same people they do. “You’re so right,” these writers purr, “and let me tell you why!”
Do such religious communities deserve critique? Absolutely. But these criticisms are like cheap “Open Letters to X,” addressed to everyone *but* X, really.

There’s nothing “prophetic” about such critiques. The prophets spoke to their own people.
The genre yields writing that is usually flat and predictable, “explainers” whose only value stems from getting an insider to say it.

Such writing often exhibits how provincial the writer’s experience of religion has been.
But perhaps what most worries me is this: In a hungry, hurting age of rage and heartbreak, should a religious writer be giving people just more reasons *not* to believe?
The alternative, of course, is not pollyannish hagiographies. I’m talking about a genre of writing *from* and *about* religion & religious communities with clear-eyed realism that also might stop someone short rather than just confirm their biases.
This is writing where the mystery of mercy, grace, and resurrection is held out to enduring, submerged human longings, and a reader finds herself, perhaps unwillingly, alongside Herod Agrippa: “Almost thou persuadest me.”
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