Votes for the next president have been cast and one thing is certain — somebody will be happy, and others disheartened. Can a friendship or workplace relationship be preserved with someone who voted differently and holds vastly different beliefs?
Today's episode features a recent episode of the new Winsome Conviction podcast, which is another podcast from Biola University. Learn more about the podcast at winsomeconviction.com and subscribe today wherever you listen to podcasts.
Sean McDowell: Hey Think Biblically podcast listeners, your hosts, Sean McDowell and Scott Rae here. Today we're releasing a special episode, kind of a bonus episode from our friends here at Biola University. And it's on processing the election with family, friends, and coworkers. It's from our coworkers, Rick Langer and Tim Muehlhoff. And they have another podcast here at Biola called Winsome Convictions. And in the Think Biblically podcast, we typically focus on theology and cultural issues. They really focus on the relational side of connecting those issues to people. So we hope not only that you'll enjoy this episode, but also that you'll subscribe to their podcast as well.
Scott Rae: Yeah, we hope you enjoy this. We think it's particularly insightful. It focuses on the communication components, not so much the content components, and talking about how we can represent our most passionate convictions in a way that's winsome and caring and thoughtful and passionate all at the same time. So we hope you enjoy this and we hope regardless of whichever candidate you supported, whether you're happy or disappointed, we hope that this helps you process this with your family, friends, and loved ones.
Tim Muehlhoff: Thank you, Sean and Scott and hello listeners of Think Biblically podcast. My name is Dr. Tim Muehlhoff. I'm a professor of Communication at Biola University and I'm the co-director of the Winsome Conviction Project.
Rick Langer: My name's Rick Langer, and I share that responsibility of the Winsome Conviction Project with my friend, Tim. And I'm also a Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology here at Talbot and was also a pastor for about 20 years and my PhD in philosophy, and I am delighted to be able to putting all these crazy things together and to being able to participate in the Winsome Conviction Project and sharing this time with Scott and Sean on the Think Biblically podcast.
Tim Muehlhoff: You might be thinking the Winsome. What? What did you just say? It's called the Winsome Conviction Project, and we are the co-directors. It is aimed at restoring civility and compassion back into our disagreements.
Now those disagreements could be theological. They could be political. But we want to reclaim the relational level of communication, which is the amount of trust between people, the amount of compassion, empathy, respect, and we think that that's vastly lacking today.
So thank you so much for Sean and Scott for letting us jump in, because as we record this Rick, the election is over. It's not over right now. This is the Monday before the election. We have no idea who's going to win. But we do have a good idea that the country is going to take some healing and that we're going to have to have a strategy of how to come together. We both ran across an article from Reuters with the title You Are No Longer My Mother.
Rick Langer: How about that for an attention-getting title?
Tim Muehlhoff: Yowser. You Are No Longer My Mother: How the Election is Dividing American Families. Interesting. Reuters interviewed both Democrats and Republicans who both commented that they think, yes, the election has hurt relationships and some relationships may never recover from this. One psychologist said this Rick, and I thought this was kind of interesting. He said, "Unfortunately, I don't think national healing is as easy as changing the president. It takes time and it takes effort and it takes both parties, no pun intended, being willing to go and move forward."
And that's what we're about Rick. The Winsome Conviction Project is these are tough times right now. It's what Deborah Tannen calls the argument culture. And we want to offer biblical motivation, biblical examples, as well as combine that with philosophy. Your PhD is in philosophy Rick and my PhD is in communication theory. And so we think the combination of that might offer some nice steps to identify the problem and move out of the problem.
Rick Langer: So back to the issue of the election itself. It is striking to hear the quote you gave from Reuters about in effect someone disowning, in this case not the child, but the child disowning the mother so to speak because of the election.
I remember being in India for a while as a missionary and was working there with some folks. And almost all of the fellow Christians I was working with had been Hindu converts that had been excluded from their family because of religious grounds. And now politics is beginning to serve that same level of polarization in our country. And it's very disturbing.
I picked up a recent study that was done by YouGov in conjunction with a group called Braver Angels. And the poll that they did underscored the importance of our post-election response in the nation. They found that over 70% of respondents across party lines believe that America will not recover if their preferred candidate loses the election. It isn't just that they will be sad, but they literally believe our country itself will never recover. And that means a lot of people are going to be deeply disturbed right now. In other words, after the election. Right now, we don't know who those people will be, but someone's going to be really, really upset.
On the other hand, the interesting thing, the same poll found, over 70% of the people also said that they believe that the two parties working together after the election is more important than the winning side getting its way. So it seems that despite our partisan fears, Americans still really want to see our leaders work together to solve problems. And the bottom line is what we want to do is just reach some of those people and saying, "Hey, let's work together. Let's start it up after this election is over. And what are the things that we can do in order to be able to move forward meaningfully together as a nation, as a church, and even as families and individuals who may be polarized or alienated from one another."
Tim Muehlhoff: And this is where I think comes into play Rick. This is what I think is powerful about our partnership is a philosophy, mostly useless, but interesting. But communication theory needs to come into play because both Reuters and Braver Angels, did you notice what they said? Respondents said, "It's time for the parties to come together." And that is great in theory, that is really hard in practice. So when I hear something like that, I immediately kick into, which the backdrop of communication theory is something called communication climates.
Rick Langer: Yes.
Tim Muehlhoff: Right now we're in California, but let's say the wildfires were still going. Well, they actually are still going. And it was super smoky, super hot, ash everywhere. Well, the climate doesn't let us do this outside. Now we can fight against the climate. We can say, "Hey, forget about the climate. We're just going to have our podcast outside," but that would be silly.
So there is a communication climate between individuals and we're seeing a national communication climate, which is made up of roughly the amount of respect between individuals, the amount of trust between individuals, the level of commitment, and then what are the expectations.
Go back to this mother who's been disowned by her 21-year-old because as a lifetime Democrat, she votes for the first time for President Trump is the commitment level of that communication. Climate is in crisis. I mean, you would think a mother and son's bond would transcend. But this son is saying, "No, no, no." That commitment has been challenged. And it didn't just happen overnight. We could trace this back to other things that happen, but until they fix that commitment level, that relationship may not be able to be repaired.
Rick Langer: And to your point, it probably all these things that were happening before, weren't just things that were happening in the family. This wasn't just tension that you normally have between children and their parents, but it was a broader community, a broader, the kind of the water that they were swimming in was a water of extreme polarization, inflammatory language. And so when you find out, my mom is on the other side of this kind of mortal combat, it becomes tragic, it becomes shocking, and you break off the commitment as you put it in and there goes the communication climate.
Tim Muehlhoff: Because you can imagine what the conversations were like with his friends, his 20, 21-year-old friends who were like, "Dude, your mother's what? You need to get rid of her. You need to make a stand right now, man. You need ... " Right? I mean, those in-groups are incredibly powerful for setting the communication climate.
And what a great warning for us, Rick, as Christians, that regardless how this election goes, we are called to unity, and how we talk about each other post-election is going to establish a communication climate that will determine if a Christian university, a church, a community can actually come together, is we better watch how we talk about ourselves. And you have a great illustration of how that talk is not charitable sometimes.
Rick Langer: Yeah. So let's take a little bit of a look at this issue. Theologically, it's easy to talk about all this is just a pragmatic question. But one of the first things I want to do is just state right at the outset, there's sort of a theological issue here. It isn't just a question of how we get along, and pragmatically need to say, "Well, we need to get beyond our differences." Biblically, it's actually an interesting thing that the Bible teaches that there's actually important disputable matters. These are things that believers are supposed to be able to disagree with one another about.
So in Romans 14, Paul talks about not disputing about what he calls matters of opinion, what I'm calling here disputable matters. And the interesting thing, I'll make a super quick summary of this whole long and really interesting and important chapter. Number one, he says, "I want each person to be fully convinced." As he puts it, "I want you to be fully convinced in your mind." He's talking here about issues of days and diets. So Sabbath days and things like that, what you do and don't eat, things that were extremely important to the Jewish faith and also to Jewish believers and extremely polarizing in the Greco-Roman world at this time, particularly among churches that are made up of a mixed congregation.
So he says, "Look, about issues like this," these disputable matters, "I want you to be fully convinced." And then he kind of amps it up. He says, "And by the way, you are going to be judged about these matters." But the interesting thing he says, "Each will give an account of himself to God." Anything that doesn't proceed from faith is sin. So the idea here is that Jesus actually cares about these issues. They aren't trivial. They aren't whatever. He's saying, "No, you're going to stand before Jesus and give an account." But the key thing here he says, "But you do not judge each other. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats."
So in effect what Paul's saying, "I want you to care deeply, but I want you to refuse to quarrel. I want you to care and cultivate convictions, but you do not all have to agree."
Now, let me give this great illustration regarding the current political situation. Wayne Grudem and John Piper, two highly respected, very conservative Christian leaders, who for probably now almost 40 years have been a little bit joined at the hip in a lot of the things that they have been a part of, very influential leaders, Gospel Coalition, and things like this that are very, very important, and both share common convictions regarding issues about complimentarian gender roles and things like that. So huge long history together. They've written in two different articles taking the exact opposite view about this current election.
And John Piper, as he put it, offers what he calls a perspective that's been neglected. And he describes in very vivid terms a sense of sort of appalled-ness about the pride and arrogance that he identifies in particular. Though he doesn't use Donald Trump's name, it's very clear from the context-
Tim Muehlhoff: It's pretty obvious. It's pretty obvious-
Rick Langer: ... who he's referring to. And he goes on to say that ... He describes all this, as this perspective seems to be neglected. He talks about how that kind of pride and arrogance can be destructive, not just to the individual, but to the entire nation. And therefore we should be concerned, very concerned about voting for him. And as he points out, he's going to refuse to vote. In this case, he's going to refuse to vote for either candidate. But he says, "This is my perspective and it sways my vote. But you need not be sinning if you weigh matters differently."
And then he goes on to note that his calling as a minister of Christ is contradicted by supporting either pathway available to him in the presidential election. But he also notes, "You may believe that there are kinds of support for such pathways that do not involve undermining authentic Christian witness. You must act on what you see. I can't see it. That's why my way need not be yours."
And it was really interesting to read Wayne Grudem's response, and he comments about what I've just read from Piper. And he says, "As is characteristic of Piper's personal humility, he allows that you need not be sinning if you weigh matters differently," and adds, "My way need not be yours. In what follows I want to give reasons why I do weigh matters differently in all four of the key points that John Piper's made regarding the election." And they carry on a very actually civil, but very strong exchange about this matter.
But the interesting thing is they both seem to agree that this is a disputable matter. This is an area in which you can have what you might call faithful disagreements. Neither John Piper, nor Wayne Grudem are being unfaithful to Jesus. But they're seeing the issue that they're talking about very differently.
And here's my simple observation. In the communities that we live in, the churches we attend, the organizations we're a part of as Christians, I just think it's reasonable to assume we will have a substantially equal number of Grudemites and Piperites after this election. At this moment, you're sitting right now, as you walk through your church, as you come into a Bible study group, whatever you do, I'm simply pointing out we should be expecting a pretty profound division.
For us at a Christian university, I was reading a recent study that said 2017, 2018, 2019 educated people with advanced degrees and people without advanced degrees who were white evangelicals, so picking that demographic, were pretty similar in terms of their support for Donald Trump. It was in the low 60s for both of those two groups. In 2020, they redid that. And 65% of those without a degree continued to have a favorable view of Trump, but only 52% of those with the higher degree supported Donald Trump.
So all I'm saying at this point, you realize, "Oh, we're set up for pretty equal division on this point, the parting of our convictions." And somehow we need to figure out a way to respect and value the differences that we will have between us.
Tim Muehlhoff: And how important, and you being a former pastor understand this, how important is it that our leaders are modeling how to have these disagreements about disputable matter? So kudos to both Piper and Grudem for showing people we can have deep convictions that can even take us in different ways when it comes to the voting booth, but the way they did it was great.
Now let's offer an alternative to that. From communication theory, what they just did, Piper and Grudem, is what we call the definition of the situation. So whenever you speak, you answer three questions immediately. The first question is, what do I believe I'm trying to do? Second, what do I believe you're trying to do? And third, what are we trying to do together? So when you take Piper and Grudem, you would ask Grudem, what do you think you're doing? I think Grudem would answer, "I'm trying to follow the guidelines of scripture to educate me on how I should vote using biblical criteria."
Great. Now you would ask the question, "What do I think Piper's doing?" I think what we just read is he would say, "I think Piper is roughly doing the exact same thing." Third question. What are we doing together? We're both showing biblical fidelity as we seek to make a very difficult vote.
So that's definitely the situation, Rick. It will color every conversation very quickly because let's imagine this. Let's imagine that I think I'm trying to be biblical. But then I answer the question, what are you doing? And it's like, you are moving towards the left. You're becoming liberal. So what are we doing together? I'm trying to defend traditional Christian beliefs and you are trying to move us far to the left. And that will color that conversation in a heartbeat.
Rick Langer: Yeah. So an alternative quote, to capture that from evangelical leader who will remain nameless and his comment was, "The only evangelicals who are going to vote for Joe Biden are those who have sold their souls to the devil."
Tim Muehlhoff: See, you're reading into that Rick. I think you're being overly negative towards that. Don't judge it. No, read that again. Read that quote again.
Rick Langer: The only evangelicals who are going to vote for Joe Biden are those who have sold their soul to the devil.
Tim Muehlhoff: Right.
Rick Langer: And at that point, as you were going, as saying before, one person's trying to be faithful to the scripture. The other has sold their soul to the devil. And let me just ask which side would you like to be on?
Tim Muehlhoff: Right.
Rick Langer: And you realize there's no choice. And this is exactly that polarizing vision of what the situation actually is. On one side, you have Satan, the other side, you have God, as opposed to what Grudem and Piper were actually modeling and saying, "Look, the two of us see these things differently. I can't see it the way Wayne Grudem does," is Piper's comment. "But none the less, I understand that he does see it differently."
Tim Muehlhoff: So the point would be a good one as we now head into life post-election is have a charitable definition of the situation. I mean, what you just read is not charitable. We don't know. We're not going to name who this person is, but he would say, what am I trying to do? I am trying to follow the Lord, Jesus Christ. What are you trying to do? You're being tempted by the devil and you're giving into the devil. What are we doing together? This is spiritual warfare. I'm standing up for the kingdom and you're standing up for the kingdom of darkness. That is a negative definition of the situation.
So this quote actually came to us from a colleague who sent us an article where this was part of the article. And in it was very interesting when the person responded, because this was a person who wrote the article, who in fact was going to vote for Biden. So according to this other person, he succumbed to the temptations of the devil.
But he made an interesting point. He said, "You know, I recently ... A bunch of us recently signed a document called Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden." Now, here are the signers of that document Rick. Very interesting. The signers included Richard Mouw, former president of Fuller Seminary that has actually been to Biola. If you go to our website, winsomeconviction.com, we have a great interview with Richard Mouw about civility. He wrote a wonderful book on the topic.
Also, signing this is Richard Foster, best selling author of Celebration of Discipline, and who's also been to Biola. And then you get John Perkins, one of the civil rights icons who also came to Biola University.
So think about that. If the first quote is true, his definition of the situation, every one of these individuals has succumbed to the devil. That's a negative communication climate. There's no trust between us.
Rick Langer: And what's disturbing about that, I think as you savor that thought for a moment, you realize, you know what we're doing here, is we're saying there's no room and no value in the disagreement. The only kind of disagreement we have is where one person is right. And by right, we win on God's side. The other person's wrong and that means they're against or opposing God, they're on Satan's side in effect.
And here's what I think we need to do. We need to make mental space for faithful disagreement. We need to respect the value of our fundamental differences in a way that Grudem and Piper actually modeled pretty well, even though they don't get the other person's view on that.
Here's a thought. Different convictions are a feature in the body of Christ, not a bug. They're a thing that Jesus wanted to be there. They lead us to have different passions, and that leads us to participate in diverse ministries. Here's a great example. A friend of mine on the Biola Faculty and I have substantially different disagreements on some matters of personal conviction. It bugs me sometimes.
On the other hand, that friend also has an absolute passion for peacemaking conversations within our local community. And because of him, I ended up visiting a mosque on the day after the mass shootings in New Zealand. The mosque was down there in New Zealand. And it was just a visit to talk to some of the leaders and sit with them and offer our support as kind of fellow human beings, fellow people who are made in the image of God, and most importantly, fellow members of our local community. It was a mosque. It was right here in the area.
So because of my friend, I ended up visiting that mosque. And it was such a simple thing. But honestly, I look and I go, "I think I'm better for having done that." And the bottom line is I never would have done it if it weren't for my friend who has deferring passions and convictions that I do. His different convictions led him to participate and initiate kinds of things that I never would have done on my own. That's what I mean by different convictions in that sense are a feature in the body of Christ. It offers good things. It's not a bug that corrupts.
Tim Muehlhoff: But Rick, let me ask this. Rick and I have written two books together. We wrote a book called Winsome Persuasion that came out a couple of years ago where actually at the end of the book, you and I had a pretty significant disagreement about what to do now that the Supreme Court had ruled in the favor of same-sex marriages, what should be the church's response?
But what if you adopt the attitude, the definition of the situation that was listed by the person that you quoted, not Piper-Grudem, but the second one, I'll read it again, where he simply said, "The only evangelicals who are going to vote for Joe Biden are those who have sold their souls to the devil." So let's say that's my attitude. Definition of the situation. I know what I'm doing, and I know what you're doing and it is wrong. Like it's flat out wrong. That's my definition of the situation. And what are we doing together? I'm trying to bring you back into the fold because you have left.
What if you have a harsh interpretation of another person like that and you're selling your soul to the devil by voting a certain way? Like what do you do if that's your honest, heartfelt, passionate conviction? How do you approach another brother in Christ who's gone in a different direction?
Rick Langer: So that's ... Let me make one clarification and respond directly to your question. It is always a good thing to check. Have you actually sold your soul to the devil? I mean, you might do the reconnaissance. I understand that happens sometimes. But the point is we make these crazy inferences because a person is in favor of this policy or does that policy. You want to build a wall between here and Mexico? You must be one of those people who alienates others. So we make these kinds of chains of reasoning that lead to the idea that this person has abandoned Jesus and is following Satan instead.
At the very least, let's do each other the courtesy of a little reconnaissance on the point, a little perspective checking. But, here's one other thing. This is not me. This is just Paul writing Timothy, just to be clear about this. And let's kind of assume, "Oh my gosh, this guy is wrong about this point. He probably isn't actually out worshiping Satan, but he really is wrong about this." And you might feel like because of that, he's doing the work of the other side. How should we respond then? I am so glad you asked, because I actually have an answer. Not me, but Paul apparently has one. And here's what he writes. He says, "And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone." I'm going to read that again.
Tim Muehlhoff: No, go ahead.
Rick Langer: Kind to everyone.
Tim Muehlhoff: In the Greek everyone means ...
Rick Langer: Everyone.
Tim Muehlhoff: Everyone. Yes, yeah.
Rick Langer: Yeah. Able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his impotence." Bring out your pencil here, you'll want to write this down. "Correcting his opponents with gentleness.
Tim Muehlhoff: Wow.
Rick Langer: It's a very uncommon word, but it's used in the Bible. "Correcting his opponents with gentleness that God may perhaps grant them repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, who, after being captured by him to do his will." Did you hear that?
Paul's kind of saying, "Okay, maybe this person really has been deluded." No, I'm not saying they're actively, but they've been fooled, they've been tricked, they've ended up on the wrong. What do we do with them? He says, "We respond to them with gentleness, we teach, we give that kind of a sense of acceptance of this, patiently responding them, avoiding quarreling." That seems to be the explicit expectation, even if you kind of do the worst case scenario, you're thinking about what's going on that person's life.
Tim Muehlhoff: I was thinking of Galatians 6:1, Rick. Remember where it says, "If a brother is caught in a trespass, he is dead wrong, dead to rights." Paul says, "You who are spiritual," check yourself, "You are to restore him with the spirit of gentleness."
Hey, one cool guest we're going to have on the Winsome Conviction podcast, we're going to have the current editor of the Christian Scholars Review and he has done an amazing study. It's a great post that he put on the website of the Christian Scholars Review, where he said he actually did, Rick, an academic search of the word gentleness and saw that it has virtually disappeared from academic literature. And then he went popular and has seen the study as the argument culture has risen, literally the word gentleness has evaporated from our vocabularies. And so today we don't even have a way of thinking about gentleness because we just don't use the word anymore, but Paul uses it in two different places.
Rick Langer: Well, he uses it all over the place. And I was thinking of that. Tim had sent me that a couple of days ago and I'd read it and I was thinking about that when I was reading this passage and saw the word gentleness.
The interesting thing that Glanzer notes in that blog he's talking about is that we've had a huge upsurgence in the studies of virtues. So a lot of virtues, we study generosity, we study charity, we study wisdom, we study all of these virtues. The one that just literally he could find no scholarly studies was on gentleness.
Tim Muehlhoff: Isn't that surprising?
Rick Langer: And it is super common, it's almost impossible to read a biblical passage about issues of controversy and bones of condensing without bumping into that word gentleness. It'd be a great thing for us to just say, "Okay, post-election I'm walking in to talk to someone who feels in his senses differently than I do, let me move the virtue of gentleness to the forefront of my thinking."
Tim Muehlhoff: And let's talk about some practical applications. Again, the election is over, some listeners no doubt to Think Biblically podcast are elated and others are absolutely crushed.
The first election when President Trump won, Rick, I had a student call and just say, "I just can't be around happy Trump supporters now. I just cannot make it to class," and I respected that.
Let me mention one and you can mention one, we're kind of wrapping up. And again, thank you to Think Biblically for letting us crash their party and offer some thoughts. We're the new kids on the block and we love their podcast.
Here's one. The do-quick assessment, if this person is lamenting or if they're happy. And we were talking about this yesterday, Rick. I'm a huge football fan and I'm from Michigan. And Dr. Scott Rae and I are like our buddies in sadness because we're both Michigan supporters, Michigan Wolverine supporters, not Michigan State.
Rick Langer: So how did it go this weekend, Tim?
Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, yeah, thank you. Michigan was a three touchdown favorite against Michigan State. I watched the pre-game show, and again, they're talking about Michigan's number one-rated defense and how they might beat Ohio State and get into the college football playoffs, right? Well, of course, you know what happened, of course you know, we lost, one of the biggest upsets of college football.
I have a good friend of mine, Jim. Jim is a diehard Michigan State Spartan fan. We tried to watch one game together in Michigan Spartans, his whole house was decorated in Spartan stuff. We're drinking soda out of ... He's wearing the Spartan hat, Rick. We said we can never do this again. Listen, I'm not going to begrudge Jim to celebrate away from me one of the biggest upsets we've seen this season. That would be wrong of me to say, "You cannot celebrate this upset." Right?
Rick Langer: Yeah.
Tim Muehlhoff: "But just be aware of me, that this was crushing to Michigan Wolverine fans." So when he sees me, just a little courtesy, just a little like, "Hey bro." And that's enough, that's all you need to say is, "And kudos to you. Just let me sit in my misery and please don't point out any of our 10 mistakes we made that led us to that." I think that's a good reminder.
Rick Langer: Well, and it's such a simple and relatively low-level thing. And then you start thinking how much more sensitive will people be when it's an issue like this, in particular, when we realize how polarized this election has become, to stop and think, "Okay, let me check out where this person's coming from."
And let me also run with that just a little bit. The whole idea is, is my friend or the person I'm about to talk to, are they in a season of lament are they in a season of celebration? If you're in the same place, it's easy to meet and talk with them. If you're in the opposite place, it's very difficult.
Let me encourage you to just what Tim was talking about, extend grace in those moments of opposition when you're on the opposite side of that. But on the other hand I really would encourage you to find people with whom you can lament or with whom you can celebrate. In other words, don't feel guilty because you have a friend who's feeling the opposite that you can't celebrate or lament in an inappropriate fashion because of the concerns that you have. Just realize you don't want to assume that.
I did a thing after the last election with a batch of students in a chapel I was speaking at right after the election. And I had people, I said, "Only those who are willing, but if you would be willing to vote, how many of you are feeling very fearful and upset about where our country is as of this morning?" And a bunch of hands went up and then I said, "How many of you are feeling somewhat hopeful and relieved?" And almost the exact same number of hands went up.
Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, nice.
Rick Langer: And I said, "There you see it. When you walk into the cafeteria and sit down beside your friend, you now know there's a 50-50 chance that they may be feeling the dead opposite of what you're feeling." So realize we need both. We need to give grace to each other when we differ in terms of our feelings, but we also need the times the bible talks about, "Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep," and there's room for doing both.
Tim Muehlhoff: And perspective-taking, remember the writer of Hebrew says, "I want you to pray for those in prison as if you were in prison in bondage." So I think it'd be good for us to step back. Listen, if you're one of the individuals, you are thrilled with how this election turned out, just do what the writer of Hebrew said, imagine and even pray for and imagine that you had your hopes and dreams crushed. If you were a Secretary Clinton supporter and when the biggest upsets in American politics happens, my goodness, allow that person some emotional space to just sit in it, right? And so we need to do perspective-taking and imagine. We call that empathy and sympathy and things that come with it.
Rick Langer: One other thing to watch out for is doubling down in your in-group.
Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Rick Langer: We all have our in-group. And then, I mentioned the idea of being able to be with people who are also weeping or celebrating, I think that's a good thing. One of the things that you want to be a little bit careful of is getting your momentum up when you do that, either only talking to that group, talking to that group for extended periods of time or talking unreflectively with group members, not doing the exercise of balancing a perspective. Because when we get going as groups we intensify and radicalize our viewpoints.
We were just listening to David French speak a little while ago and talked about negative polarization and there's some other third word that went with that, technical language, but he said, "When you get a group of people together who all share a common polarizing sort of view, the more they're together, the entire group shifts not just to the level of the most polarized person, but beyond that. They all become more polarized than the most polarized person was at the beginning." And one of the dangers of our in-groups is we keep reinforcing and reinforcing. So be cautious about that.
Tim Muehlhoff: Well, listen, it's been a blast to be able to jump in and talk to fellow listeners of the Think Biblically podcast. And you might be thinking. Okay, well, I don't really get it. Think Biblically podcast, Winsome Conviction podcast, what's the big difference? Well, we probably do share a lot of territory and we're going to be doing a lot of collaborating with Sean and Scott, but we're going to focus on the communication part, like are you winsome, are you respectful, and in our podcast, we're going to talk about Christians and non-Christians that we feel are doing a really great job.
We're going to do segments called Bringing You Up to Speed. We have one coming up bringing us to speed on the race issue with the Reverend James White is going to come on. And then we're going to do segments on local people we think are just doing a great job. We have a guest coming on who after the tragic Floyd murder decided to have conversations with white parents on his daughter's volleyball team, and now it's 20 dads meet in a park every week. And we're going to bring him on to say how'd he do that.
So we're huge fans of content. Rick is a theologian as well as a philosopher. But we also want to focus on the communication aspect, what Paul says, "Speak truth, do it in love," and we're going to focus on the relational level.
Rick Langer: And if you're interested in hearing more about the things we're doing, you can check out the winsomeconviction.com website.
Tim Muehlhoff: Yes.
Rick Langer: Or you can find the Winsome Conviction podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or wherever you tend to listen to your podcasts. But we're so thrilled to be able to be with you. Thanks again to Sean and Scott for letting us join with the Think Biblically listeners, and we'd ask you to check us out as you look forward to the coming weeks. And we will be praying for you in terms of the conversations you have in this contentious often fractious sort of situation we find ourselves in right now.