Q & R: Is the tide turning?

Here’s the Q:

I wrote to you several years ago and you very kindly replied to my questions about Jesus and the “propitiation for sin.” Your answer and your books validated my journey as I was simply trying to figure out how to love like Jesus loved and live my life dedicated to “reconciliation, understanding, solidarity, and peace-making” as you say in your recent blog.
I admit I haven’t read your recent books, although they are on my “gotta get these” list, and so I’ve spent the morning re-reading sections of A New Kind of Christianity and particularly the chapter on Living the Questions in Community.
My battle is not with theology per se, or with reshaping the Church. My battle is in the area of science, and specifically science education. I am an ex-academic with over 20 years of bench under my belt and I realized when I started homeschooling my own children that science is not taught in a way that promotes real understanding. So I now write science books for kids. My gift is simply that I can take a college level text or upper level science concepts and sift the material for the basic building blocks that kids need to learn. Learning science really isn’t any different than learning a language, or music, or math. There are fundamental concepts that any child can learn and once they do they have a foundation they can build upon so that they really understand science, what is can answer, and what it can’t.
I have also been deeply involved in the Creation/ Evolution/ Intelligent Design battles and spent significant time speaking to Christian homeschoolers about why it’s important to teach kids evolution, what it means, what it can answer, and what it can’t answer.
But I have to say I have moved past these wars and see them as much more destructive than generative. The Creationists are circling their wagons and so are the Darwinists (which is a mix of hard-core “there is no god” materialists and theistic evolutionists with some other smaller philosophical hues). The ID community make some good points but they are hated by both and therefore marginalized. As a result there are several isolated camps each calling the other “the enemy,” fighting over what kind of science gets taught to which kids. The kids are the ones caught in the crossfire and the kids are the collateral damage. If a child grows up as a mainstream Christian homeschooler, or goes to certain Christian schools they only hear about Creationism and that evolution is from the devil. They emerge lacking some basic building blocks for science. If a child grows up in a secular family and goes to any public school, they get a false sense of the “authority” of science and are never exposed to any of the gaps in neo-Darwinism and lack a basic understanding of how science really works.
So I have been trying to create a path for both Creationists and non-Creationists of various flavors to find some common ground. We need kids who have all the basic building blocks for science, including a good understanding of evolution, but who can also think outside the neo-Darwinian materialist box and be comfortable exploring even a vitalist paradigm as way to view some aspects of science.
The Christian homeschool market has been my main market and ministry for 15 years because, well, I have a heart for this group and I think Christian kids who can already think beyond “matter and energy” have the better tools for solving real-world problems, if they just learned all the science. In other words, I thought it would be easier to just teach the science and not try to change the philosophy.
But today I am discouraged, feeling defeated, and reconsidering my whole strategy. I recently had a top staff member suddenly quit because of a post I liked … and a radio interview I gave … about my journey and what matters to me today. This staff member was, as far as I could tell, a solid Christian open to new ways of living as Jesus would have us live, but did a sudden about-face and quit, leaving a significant hole in my team and personally attacking me as someone who doesn’t “live for Christ.” I can repair the hole, but I am confused, angry, disappointed and ready to just throw in the towel on reaching Christians.
I realize, however, that my experiences are isolated and I am intersecting with a fairly narrow Christian segment, so I was wondering if you feel like the tide is turning at all. Are you finding more and more Christians open to your ideas? Is your movement growing? Are you getting more positive email or more hate mail? I’m just curious what your experience has been as you pave this path for the Christian faith and grow your ministry.
Thank you and warm regards,

Here’s the R:
First, my heart goes out to you. It is so hard to have people you trust suddenly leave. It feels like rejection and a kick in the gut. As you say – you can fill the hole, but it is truly discouraging.
I think the tide is turning – in some places. In others, people are doubling down. And I think they will do so harder and harder. The toughest place will be will be exactly where you are – in the middle, trying to help people open up. You’ve heard the saying, “The hard thing about being a bridge is that people walk on you from both ends.”
I hope you’ll stay with this important bridge-building work as long as you can. But when the more restrictive people realize that you’re a bridge-builder and not a wall-builder, they will try to blow up the bridge from their side. They don’t want anyone leaving to “the other side” – they want to wall people in behind a barrier of fear and ignorance.
At that point, believe me, your life will get much easier, even though it will hurt a lot. You will still help people from that world, but as an outsider (not by your choice). Some people will stay behind the wall for generations, but others will begin to feel the unfreedom and fear of it, and at that point, your work will be more important than ever …
Please know that you’re in my prayers today, and I’m sure that many reading this post will join me. You are a good person, with a good heart, doing good work, and it’s not your fault that many can’t appreciate it. That’s how it almost always is with innovators and pioneers.