Seems to me that for you, evangelicalism is like the boyfriend you broke up with two years ago, but whose Facebook page you still check compulsively.
Dollars had once gathered like autumn leaves on the wooden collection plates; dollars were the flourishing sign of God's specifically American favor, made manifest in the uncountable millions of Carnegie and Mellon and Henry Ford and Catholina Lambert. But amid this fabled plenty the whiff of damnation had cleared of dollars and cents the parched ground around Clarence Wilmot.
Wasn't that what Jesus said: do what I do? He was here as an example for us to follow. Same with all prophets. Didn't the prophets tell us to be like them? That's what's wrong with Christianity. They make Jesus and the prophets into icons, take them off of earth, and put them in heaven to worship them, so they're no longer accessible. You've taken a reality and made it into a worthless idol. Christians talk about the idolatry of other religions, but when they no longer live principles and just worship the people who taught them, that's exactly what they're doing.
It was evangelicals' sense of rudderlessness - their desire for an authority to guide them in questions of dogma, life, and worship - that led them to rediscover liturgy and history in the first place. The irony was that in their smorgasbord approach to non-Protestant tradition, in their individualistic rejection of the rules of any one church in favor of a free run of the so-called church universal, in their repudiation of American nationalism in favor of cosmopolitanism, young evangelicals were being quintessentially evangelical and stereotypically American, doing as they pleased according to no authority but their own. The principle of sola scriptura was far clearer in theory than in practice. No matter evangelicals' faith that, with the 'illumination of the Holy Spirit,' 'Scripture could and should interpret itself,' too many illuminated believers came to different conclusions about what the Bible meant. Inerrantists who asserted their 'literal' interpretation with absolute certainty could do so only by covertly relying on modern, manmade assumptions. Other evangelicals were now searching for similar assurance in the authority of church history and the mystery of worship.
And what is that religion that sanctions, even by its silence, all that is embraced in the 'Peculiar Institution'? If there can be any thing more diametrically opposed to the religion of Jesus, than the working of this soul-killing system - which is as truly sanctioned by the religion of America as are her minsters and churches - we wish to be shown where it can be found.
I suspect the next 10 years will be years of turmoil and hardship the globe over, and with that will come a surge in a certain kind of American patriotism. Therefore, American Christians will be challenged to remember where our true fealty lies. I’m not saying there’s no place for patriotism. But Christians are people whose first allegiance cannot be to a nation-state, not to any nation-state. Increased geopolitical tension may tempt us to forget that.