1. People didn’t feel they had to save me at every opportunity. It is true that different people come with their own sense of what is required of a good Christian and what is required to be a good Christian with regards to homosexuality. There was actually a pretty wide range of opinion on that in the churches where I spent them — pretty wide range on evolution. In the Chicago church [I went to], somebody said, ‘If God didn’t want us to do stem-cell research, why did he make the scientists so darn smart?’ Other people were really very committed to a Republican agenda and shocked when people seemed not to be. It’s just hard to figure out where people are at. This is, I think, one of Robert Putnam’s statistics, that 83 percent of evangelicals say that a good person not of their faith can go to heaven. And if you say ‘suppose they’re not Christian,’ over 50 percent will say that that person can go to heaven. So I think there’s a lot of variation.

    — Tanya Luhrmann on different thoughts people had at the evangelical church

  2. Tanya Luhrmann

    When God Talks Back

    Fresh Air

  1. I found it immensely moving to commit to the sense that the world is good in the face of evidence to the contrary. I find it poignant that I saw people being able to make that commitment, and it didn’t seem to me in talking to people that they were naive about the terrible things that happened in their lives and in the world. But they were asserting that this was nevertheless a wonderful place to be. It just wasn’t just quite that way yet. And I don’t know why I found that so moving, but I did. And I would say that I experienced God when I was at that church. What does that mean? I don’t think I know. I don’t think I can put words to that. I wouldn’t call myself a Christian, but I did — through this practice of praying and thinking about the stories that were told in church. I love the Gospel of Mark because it’s so ragged and contradictory, and Jesus is so intensely human and mysterious and paradoxical. I found it very moving. And I would have these moments of joy that I would call God. I’m not sure that the pastor would call that God.

    — Tanya Luhrmann on why she found herself moved to tears at church

  2. Tanya Luhrmann

    Fresh Air

    When God Talks Back