Totally Evangelical

Raphael's "St. Paul Preaching in Athens" (1515).

Raphael's "St. Paul Preaching in Athens" (1515).

I don’t know about once saved always saved, but I sure as hell know that once you’re an evangelical, you’re always an evangelical.

At my sister’s recent wedding, our cousin’s husband thought he was getting the stomach flu his step-father-in-law had.

“It’s ok though,” Erik—former Missionary kid—said confidently. “I’m doing shots.”

“Of whiskey?”

“What? No—organic lime juice. Organic cranberry juice. Just do shots, shots, shots, all day long.”

Erik’s nice, I told my sister later, but he’s a little…evangelical.

Laurie paused. Gave me the look. She’s almost as good as our mother. “So are you! You are totally evangelical.”

I thought about it. I totally am.

First it was actually Christianity. Then Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, the Canadian poet Anne Carson. Then pot. Then Hunter S. Thompson, Boston Organics, cars that use veggie oil as fuel, natural birth, breast feeding, cloth diapers.

I’m not just enthusiastic. I’m passionate, fanatical even. I expound upon virtues. I research. I try to make disciples. For a while. I also, as it turns out, have a limited attention span.

Our parents took us on our first mission trip when we were young. I was 8, sister was 12. She went to Russia two years later. I spent a month in Africa when I was 13. Our parents have organized their church’s annual “Missions Conference” for years.

Her new husband’s parents are now missionaries in their native Korea, but John lived on three different continents growing up. He’s evangelical about Netflix and Peapod grocery delivery.

My cousin Jennifer’s mother is my mother’s sister and she chose journalism instead of Jesus. As a result, Jennifer so doesn’t get the fervor with which Erik tells me about his new diet. She passes our table, overhears our conversation, and rolls her eyes.

Some people are evangelical against things. I hate corn syrup and corn based ethanol. Laurie hates, well, evangelism. I unintentionally drew the wrath of another former MK when I mentioned I was on the pill.

“All those hormones!” she yelled. “Make him wear a condom!”

She remained just as adamant when I told I was on it for severe period cramps; pregnancy prevention was just an added side benefit.

“All those hormones!”

I felt 17 again—a high school senior at ORU’s college weekend. I said the word “crap” and was admonished to watch my mouth.

“God is always listening,” my host reminded me.

Our mother, it seems has a double impartation of the spirit and has enough vim to be evangelical about Jesus and yams as an alternative to hormone therapy during menopause. Or Weight Watchers. Or Spanx. On more than one occasion I have witnessed my mother tell complete strangers about the miraculous undergarment.

“Have you heard about Spanx?” she asked the seamstress during her mother-of-the-bride dress fitting. It was the same voice she used Saturday mornings when we would go door-to-door.

A silver cross hung around our seamstress’s neck. She smiled and asked to hear more. She totally got it.

Amy Bohler has a Masters of Fine Arts from Lesley University. She is, among other things, mother to a spectacular baby boy.