No, it’s not a typo. It’s a real word with a lot meaning for a lot folks who grew up in the church. When I say “the church” I’m referring to evangelical Christian churches, mostly on the North American continent.
Lately I’ve had a couple people hanging out in my DM’s on Twitter asking a lot of questions, like “why exvangelical?” and “does it mean anti-religious?” The answers are complicated and not always. And that’s why it’s important to ask, instead of assume. We often see Christians engaging in our conversations, who are defensive, aggressive and unwilling to listen and learn. That’s a good way to get blocked by a lot of us.
That being said I’ll start with this; the best part of the exvangelical community is that no matter where we’ve ended up spiritually, or where we are in the process; we all share a similar past. And for that reason we all listen and learn from one another, respecting and accepting each other’s current belief system (or lack there of), no questions asked. Meaning I can express my hurts, my concerns, my questions with the expectation that no one is going to judge me. This also means all are welcome. Every skin color. Every gender. No matter who you love.
A large number of exvies (hi we abbreviate a lot its a long word) are also trauma survivors. They have already suffered greatly at the hands of church members, clergy, friends and even their own family. Some have lost their whole community by leaving the church. So the exvie community online is SAFE space. And those of us who participate will do everything in our power to make sure it remains that way.
The most important thing for a Christian to understand, from the outside looking in, is this; We are not a threat to you and your beliefs. In any way. We are not in the business of recruiting. No one is going to try to convince you to be an atheist or a pagan. Or an Episcopalian (yeah there’s a lot exvies who are that too!) A good portion of us still do believe in God, we just don’t buy into the elitist, Christian sub-culture that’s been created by American evangelicalism. We have found ways to express our faith without the need for marginalizing women and people of color and the LGBTQ community. We are working hard to let go of the guilt and shame felt from years of not measuring up to an imaginary standard created by man, not Jesus. And the best part of all, for those of us who still believe, we have formed life-giving friendships with other exvies who don’t believe anything at all, or a little the same, or something completely different. Because no one is in the business of proselytizing or evangelizing.
We exist to love, and be loved. And the glory of that is that it can (and should) be done outside church walls.
I’m writing all of this so that should you chose to engage in a conversation with someone who uses this title, you can know what to expect and hopefully reserve your judgement until asking some thoughtful questions. There is a lot more to exvies than this post. A lot of exvies are actively trying to expose Chrisitan schools for false teachings, advocating for victims of sexual abuse in the church, and fighting to end Christian Nationalism.
If you would like to learn more, you can send me an email or comment below and I can direct you to some resources to help you out.