Monday, August 01, 2016

Lakoff, Grudem, Trump, and the concept of "Evangelical"

I've been chewing on Lakoff's article, "Understanding Trump," , Grudem's article, "Why Voting for Donald Trump is a Morally Good Choice,"  and the way the term "evangelical" has lost its character. Here are my initial thoughts. They won't make any sense unless you have read Lakoff's article, And maybe they still won't make any sense, afterward! : o But here you go:
American Evangelicalism has been co-opted by the Strict Father Family metaphor, thanks to the large role Calvinism has played in American history. For Calvinists, there is only one agent in the universe: God. Everything else is an event, determined by Him, without freedom to do otherwise. Hence, direct causation thinking is a natural result.
It is important to remember, though, that The Strict Father Family metaphor is not the only (or best) metaphor for Christians. I would argue that the Nurturant Parent family metaphor and systematic causation thinking are far more faithful to the Story God is telling. It assumes that human beings, having been made in His image, are agents capable of creating their own causal chains. This makes for far more complex systems in the world.

IMO Lakoff's observations could apply just as well to theology as to politics:
"Both [Calvinism and anti-Calvinism] are characterized in the brain by neural circuitry. They are linked by a commonplace circuit: mutual inhibition. When one is turned on the other is turned off; when one is strengthened, the other is weakened. What turns them on or off? Language that fits that worldview activates that worldview, strengthening it, while turning off the other worldview and weakening it. The more [MacArthur, Sproul, Piper and Grudem's] views are discussed in the media, the more they are activated and the stronger they get, both in the minds of hardcore [Calvinists] and in the minds of [those who are not Calvinist.] "

It behooves Christians who understand God as Nurturant Parent to understand and calmly stand up against the Strict Father metaphor. They've already ruined the concept of "evangelical;" let us do all we can to protect the concept of "Christian."

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