Glennon Doyle Melton, the popular Momastery blogger, recently revealed that she is dating celebrity soccer player Abby Wambach. In her public Facebook declaration that she “is in love” and “really, deeply happy,” the author of two New York Times bestsellers has insisted that “the most revolutionary thing a woman can do is not explain herself.” Melton seeks no one’s permission to live “her truth” as bravely as she can. Indeed, Melton understands that her most sacred responsibility as a leader is to model what it means to be “so comfortable in your own being, your own skin, your own knowing—that you become more interested in your own joy and freedom and integrity than in what others think about you.”

For evangelical women who have religiously read her blog since its inception in 2009 and admired her personal redemption story and public activism, Melton’s news is dramatic—even earth shaking. And yet the “sky is not falling” because her story, like Elizabeth Gilbert’s before her, is hardly new. The gospel of self-fulfillment has been centuries in the making. As Charles Taylor explains in his dense, scholarly A Secular Age, the new invention of the modern age is a self-sufficing humanism that “accept[s] no final goals beyond human flourishing, nor any allegiance to anything else beyond this flourishing. Of no previous society was this true.” In other words, happiness is our only duty today, self-betrayal our only sin. It’s not simply that the lines of morality have blurred in modern times, making truth relative. It’s not even that religious belief has waned. Rather, the good life has been radically redefined ...

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