T.S. Eliot surely did not have academia in mind when he wrote “April is the cruelest month,” but his assertion does apply well enough to academia. It’s a “wasteland” for the vast majority of Ph.D.s minted in the last 10 years or so, after all, and, for those of us holding on to academic employment, April also tends to be exhausting as the academic year winds up. I’ve been turning over a number of ideas for new blog posts in my head for a good while, but with the end of the academic year looming until recently, I’ve had to put many of them on hold. Now that I’ve completed this particular academic year, the fact that I no longer have a full-time teaching job with benefits to look forward to for the next academic year is weighing on me heavily. I spent 2015-2017 as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of South Florida, and for the 2017-2018 academic year I’ve been a visiting instructor in the Honors College. But now my streak has run out.
Since completing my Ph.D. in 2012, I’ve been chasing a tenure-track position that is likely never to materialize at this point, and so I have to figure out how I’m going to make it going ahead. I do have an affiliation with the international, interdisciplinary research project Postsecular Conflicts based at the University of Innsbruck, and I’ll go spend some compensated time there in residence next spring. It’s figuring out what to do in the fall–find a much cheaper place to live in Tampa somehow and adjunct at USF? Move in with my parents in Indiana, work part-time, and focus on my writing as much as possible?–that’s a big source of stress for me at the moment. That and, of course, what I’m going to do to stay afloat after next spring.
Even so, now that I’m a week out from having turned in my grades, I’ll have more time to read, write, think, and produce not only more frequent regular posts in response to current events and matters of concern to the exvangelical community, but also to work toward some new wonkier and/or more literary essays of the type that have thus far earned the most traction and longevity here on Not Your Mission Field. If you’re a new reader, I’m referring to essays like “About those Trump Voters for God? Stop Calling them ‘Fake Christians’,” “Educated Evangelicals, Academic Achievement, and Trumpism: On the Tensions in Valuing Education in an Anti-Intellectual Subculture,” and “Where Do Ex-Evangelicals Come From?” The Ex-Evangelical Conversations interview series will return as well.
Meanwhile, here are some things to be aware of:
Ex-evangelicals being referred to as “exvies” is a thing now.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s brouhaha over Paige Patterson and abuse continues apace as part of the evangelical #MeToo, #ChurchToo reckoning. You can read my recently published thoughts on this matter in Playboy. We are starting to turn the tide on exvangelical representation in the media and to shift national discussions of evangelicals, and I’m grateful to Playboy for letting me publish far harsher criticism of evangelicals than you still see in most major outlets.
Some alumi of the evangelical college Columbia International University are petitioning to have GRACE conduct an independent investigation into allegations of abuse and misconduct. You can read some of their stories here, and your can sign their petition here.
The Trump administration following through on moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has made it more imperative than ever that Americans understand evangelicals’ apocalyptic beliefs and their concomitant politics of Providentialism. The extreme influence of white evangelicals in the Trump administration is having a serious, destabilizing impact on foreign relations and geopolitics. For a primer on evangelicals’ apocalyptic beliefs in relation to Jerusalem, see this piece on growing up with ends times beliefs and this one on evangelicals, Israel, and Trump. For more details, get ahold of Jason Dittmer and Tristan Sturm’s Mapping the End Times: American Evangelical Politics and Apocalyptic Visions. This is a solid edited volume of academic articles, several of which I assigned in my spring semester Honors Arts and Humanities course, “The End of the World as We Know It?” Apocalypse and Dystopia in Life, Art, and Geopolitics.