The Nemesis Complex

Sometimes, us Christians can behave like we’re living in an Avengers movie.

Except, instead of Iron Man fighting off Loki, it’s Rachel Held Evans battling against Mark Driscoll. It’s Roger Olson vs the evil Calvinists. Shane Claiborne vs the Western Church. Maybe a superhero just needs a nemesis?

It’s a tempting thing to define our own identity by what we’re against, or at the very least, by what we’re not. I’ve done it many, many times. And I’m not saying that this is what the above people consciously set out to do. I like and have read them all. Often it’s their followers and fans who fuel that narrative. As well as that, there are occasions when calling out something or someone as just plain wrong is appropriate.

But, however it happens, it just seems to me that so little is argued or stated in Christian circles, without a subtle (and often far from subtle), jab at the nemesis. Maybe I feel it more acutely, because as a dyed-in-the-wool moderate, I never quite fit any tribe enough to want to wholesale condemn another tribe. Increasingly, when I see this happen, it bothers me, and a recent book has helped me to understand why.   Continue reading