The L-word

Context determines our vocabulary. FES was born as a response to liberalism and somehow the L-word sticks until today. The problem is perhaps the term has been outdated and hence we need to change our vocabulary. What I mean is liberalism, as understood by the founding fathers of FES, has evolved as well. We live in a world where a simple binary system like evangelicalism vs. liberalism doesn’t really work anymore. We live in a (post-?)post-modern world, where fuzzy logic is the name of the game. The liberals have mutated into many kind of forms. Some of them even called themselves post-liberals. It shows an acknowledgement that indeed they come from liberal background, but that now they don’t hold the classical tenets associated with liberalism any more. So I do believe the term “liberal” is inadequate and does no justice to some phenomena that we want to describe.

Indeed, sadly sometimes we use the L-word only to describe some perspectives that we disagree with. Again, it actually would only result in misunderstanding and caricature. Lumping every single perspective that we disagree with as liberalism? Not good. It is a cheap shot and sometimes I think it is an easy way to escape from genuine engagement with what the other really believes in. It would be better to engage them fully rather than to judge them ad hominem. In the end we only manage to shut ourselves in our cosy theological home. Is not it written that the truth shall set you free? If we keep playing the L-word card, tragically perhaps it only exposes the insecurity of our own belief system.

4 thoughts on “The L-word

      1. quadruplex

        Dao de jing chapter 16

        to know the invariable is called enlightenment,
        he who knows the invariable is liberal.
        Being liberal, he is without prejudice,.
        Being without prejudice, he is comprehensive.
        Being comprehensive, he is vast.
        Being vast, he is with the Truth.
        Being with the Truth, he lasts forever and will not fail through his lifetime

        Reply

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