Political Season 2016 ~ Post 5: “Evangelicalism” – 1940s, Now, and the Way Back Through the 1970s

A post by Tim Fall inspired me to write out this response to thoughts I’ve been having the past few months. His post was Evangelical: the label that left me behind.”

Evangelicalism’s Origins in the 1940s, and Key Characteristics

Tim Fall begins with a definition/description of “evangelical” that he got from the website of the National Association of Evangelicals (which was formed in the 1940s):

Historian David Bebbington also provides a helpful summary of evangelical distinctives, identifying four primary characteristics of evangelicalism:

  • Conversionism: the belief that lives need to be transformed through a “born-again” experience and a life long process of following Jesus
  • Activism: the expression and demonstration of the gospel in missionary and social reform efforts
  • Biblicism: a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority
  • Crucicentrism: a stress on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as making possible the redemption of humanity

(What is an Evangelical?)

According to the About page on the website for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), “The National Association of Evangelicals has spoken as a united voice for millions of American evangelicals since 1942.” So, the NAE has lasted nearly 75 years. (See this page for more NAE history.)

The four points by Bebbington that Tim Fall noted really resonate with me, actually – when integrated, as a holistic set that sets the overall contours of “evangelicalism,” that is. But it’s become apparent to me and to many others that these are no longer interconnected, or kept in proportion with one another. I believe that’s why the term has been drained of its original intent and meaning. What were integral parts got separated and stagnated. Continue reading

Political Season 2016 ~ Post 4: “This is an opportunity to rise to the occasion, and not to the provocations.”

I woke up early this morning — 4:30 a.m. clock time (body is still adjusting and thinks it’s 5:30 a.m.). Just one thought ran clearly through my mind as I opened my eyes: “Blessed are the peacemakers. This is an opportunity to rise to the occasion, and not to the provocations.”

Certainly this year’s campaigns have brought to the surface myriads of social woundedness on all sides that are in need of healing balm and bandages — and not more contentiousness. We must address our fears about one another — the old splits that again surfaced showing those deep divisions based on race, gender, generation, cultures, urban-suburban-rural, etc., have remained unhealed.

I still believe The Great Physician can best supply what we so intensively need. And this calls for us to embody hope, bind up the wounds, go deeper to the sources in attitudes that have fragmented us from one another. These are the peacemaking kinds of things we need so that *all*of us can move forward — together, with civility — if we are to avoid continuing contempt and uncivil wars of words. Continue reading

Political Season 2016 ~ Post 3: Living Dystopia, and the Final Fragmentation of Two-Party Politics and of “Evangelicalism”

So, a friend from Australia posted the link to a Los Angeles Times article by John Scalzi, titled, “Dystopias are fantastic in fiction. But do you really want to live in one?”

I’ve been studying dystopian fiction the last eight years while writing extensively about spiritual abuse and recovery. And I’ve run across some provocative books that analyze this genre. So, on my friend’s Facebook post, I put a link to a book from 15 years ago: Dystopian Fiction East and West: Universe of Terror and Trial, by Erika Gottlieb. A thread that runs through her analysis is this: Dystopias produced by writers in the West (Europe, North America, etc.) are the worst they can imagine. Dystopias from writers in the East (Eastern and Central Europe) are riffs on what they are already living in or have lived through. Continue reading

Political Season 2016 ~ Post 2B: Taking the Long View on Changing Roles for Women in the Civic Square, Part 2

OVERVIEW: This series of two posts explores some dynamics for how gradual social transformation occurs over multiple generations. As a case study, I use the last 125 years of my own family’s history as pioneers on the Western frontier. As a third-generation of pioneers on both sides, I grew up taking as a given that men and women could be equally capable and competent in just about everything. In my experience, I’ve observed women contributing as much to the development of a transformed community life as have men. In this series, I share some examples from my family of such women, tie that in with some milestones in voting rights for women, and suggest a framework for making intentional innovations for a better future.

Length: Part 1 is about 2,300 words. Part 2 is about 1,700 words. Continue reading

Political Season 2016 ~ Post 2A: Taking the Long View on Changing Roles for Women in the Civic Square, Part 1

OVERVIEW: This series of two posts explores some dynamics for how gradual social transformation occurs over multiple generations. As a case study, I use the last 125 years of my own family’s history as pioneers on the Western frontier. As a third-generation of pioneers on both sides, I grew up taking as a given that men and women could be equally capable and competent in just about everything. In my experience, I’ve observed women contributing as much to the development of a transformed community life as have men. In this series, I share some examples from my family of such women, tie that in with some milestones in voting rights for women, and suggest a framework for making intentional innovations for a better future.

Length: Part 1 is about 2,300 words. Part 2 is about 1,700 words. Continue reading

Political Season 2016 ~ Post 1: Immersion Learning at Simulated Democratic Conventions in 1972

Early this year, the BBC published a piece

Continue reading