If you don't know, the angle of repose refers to the " the maximum angle at which an object can rest on an inclined plane without sliding down." Or, in general use, it is the principle that determines how steeply you can pile gravel or rock or dirt where it will stay in a conical shape. Beyond that angle, the pile collapses as the material slides down.
Anyway. I was thinking about that a lot of late as I have been moving flagstone and crushed limestone into my back yard. And, more relevant to the rest of the world, I have been thinking about how some events over the past decade or so have clarified my views on the evangelical world. My relationships with evangelicalism has not been great since my high school days, but for much of that time, it reminds me of a pile of gravel with the occasional trickle. Tension, for sure, but the shape held.
But over the past fifteen years, I have watched evangelicals support torture, deny climate change, and attacks on the poor and hungry. I have watched evangelicals join the GOP call for people not to be insured. The evangelical shape, if you will, has become incompatible with Christianity's internal logic.
Torture and war reveal much of that, but all you have to do is look to the last few years to see the crumbling of the Evangelical mission. As David Michael McFarlane noted, "Fundamentalists have banded behind a fast food chain, racist reality TV star and discriminatory legislation in their attempt to police LGBTQ persons." They will defend a racist Paula Deen, and jump to attack recipients of food stamps. This last week, we watched World Vision welcome gay couples and then reject them a few days later. Why? As Rachel Held Evans put it, "The Evangelical Machine kicked into gear," and proceeded to hostage aid to poor children in order to bully World Vision out of their tolerant stance. As Evan Hurst noted, "When given an explicit choice to love children or hate gay people, they chose the latter, and they chose it loudly."
Rachel Held Evans believes that evangelicals are winning the culture war and losing an entire generation of young people. I think the damage is even deeper, but agree with her that "When Christians declare that they would rather withhold aid from people who need it than serve alongside gays and lesbians helping to provide that aid, something is wrong." They are moving past the angle of repose and headed to destruction. Add to that the tribal defense of Hobby Lobby's anti-contraceptive stance, and you have the real possibility of evangelicals and conservatives both losing young women for the foreseeable future. After all, Hobby Lobby will gladly use Chinese labor (and tolerate forced abortions) to produce very cheap goods. If a promiscuous woman with multiple abortions in her past wants to purchase those goods, Hobby Lobby will gladly cash that check. They will even pay her marginal wages to move those cheap goods. But they will not provide her with good healthcare. Because that would be un-Christian.