Guest / Limited Access /
The Gift of Being Evangelical
CEFutcher / iStock

I was a typical big sister growing up. The oldest of three, I saw myself as the guardian of tradition, the planner in an otherwise spontaneous family. Every Christmas Eve, if Dad forgot, I would round up the troops, lead the march to the carpet in front of the fireplace, and hand over the volume of O. Henry short stories that usually sat high up on the bookshelf.

In his soft voice, Dad would start reading The Gift of the Magi, reprising our family's Christmas tradition. It tells the story of James and Della Dillingham Young, whose poverty complicated the act of buying Christmas gifts for one another. Each sold their single prized possession in order to buy a gift for the other—Della her long hair, Jim his gold watch. Our family sat rapt for the 20 minutes it took to get to the conclusion—to Della's combs, Jim's watch chain, her short hair, his watch sold. "Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest."

There is power in a good story. And with that in mind, a few months ago I began to write my own story of growing up in an evangelical home. Unlike the tales of Christian kids that attract the most attention in blog posts and books these days, mine has a happy ending.

I grew up square in the middle of 1990s American evangelicalism, and I'm grateful and better for it. Sure, there were exceptions—a few moments that in retrospect make me cringe—but overall, it was a rich and challenging experience. I read books like Mere Christianity and The Pilgrim's Progress; talked about gender issues, racism, and social justice; and developed a remarkable group of friends who were committed to figuring out how best to live out the Christian faith.

The more I ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Trading Tracts for Trafficking
RecommendedRussia's Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church
Russia's Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church
(UPDATE) Putin signs new restrictions that limit where and how Christians share the gospel.
TrendingDied: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Jerry B. Jenkins: 'Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul.'
Editor's PickPorn Is More Criticized and More Popular Than Ever
Porn Is More Criticized and More Popular Than Ever
There are so many problems with porn; it’s hard to pick just one.
Christianity Today
The Gift of Being Evangelical
hide thisDecember December

In the Magazine

December 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.