I recently went on a job interview for a graphic design position. While browsing my resume, one of the people in the room laughed and said, “You were a marketing strategist at a church? Is it like…evangelical? How do you market a church? Like, how is that even possible?” I wasn’t surprised to hear this kind of thing. I spent the past four years working at the 13th largest evangelical church in America. Yes, as a marketing strategist. And having that at the top of my resume hasn’t made me the most marketable marketing strategist.
To say that evangelical is a loaded word would be an understatement. In American media, it means something political. In popular culture, it means something hateful and narrow-minded. In classical Christian tradition, it means to practice and share (evangelize) about your faith in God. But because of the broadness with which the word is thrown around these days, affiliation with the word has become problematic for many people who call themselves Christians. (I don’t think I even need to tell you, but I didn’t get the job.)
When the woman in the job interview asked, “Is it like…evangelical?” I knew what she was really asking. Do you hate gay people? Are you racist? Do you think I’m a sinner and should be sent straight to Hell? Are you a republican? And the most timely assumption of the hour: Do you support Donald Trump?