I just thought I should step in here and give my opinion on the latest brouhaha among all the cool kids we call, Christian social media influencers. Also, I am rather fond of pink spiders, so there is that, too.
I shall actually not call this a brouhahah over the word “empathy” but rather a Bro-haha, as in both sides of this debate happen to involve some downright self absorbed, insensitive, arrogant lunkheads. Discernment 101 says, why in the world would anyone consult with arrogant lunkheads for leadership as to the nature of “empathy”??!
I do it partly for brain exercise, partly for entertainment, and partly for some good comedic fodder.
So, David French is quite the specimen, so open minded his brains just done fell out, but as if that is not bad enough, it also appears as if somebody stuck a fork in there and just made themselves an omelet. Alas, the fact that Wilson is on the opposite side of the political and ideological divide, does not score him any extra credit points. Like, the guy fancies “manhood” to be somehow related to beating your chest for bananas, setting trucks on fire, and screaming about the the effeminacy of the, “pink spider of empathy.”
Wilson’s answer to all deep theological questions is often just, “ewww, girl cooties!” Morality lives as far away from the girl cooties as you can go, and alas, “empathy” has kind of a pinkish tint about the gills. Since he equates empathy with being female, empathy is obviously “sin” as all things feminine obviously are. Except making sandwiches of course, or peeling potatoes.
I’ll have you know the above paragraphs are not devoid of empathy at all, nor of sympathy, nor of compassion. Nor are they filled with condemnation. In fact, what enables me to get a good feel for both of these authors is actually my incredibly well toned, pink powers of empathy.
Empathy is neither good or bad, it is simply a skill set. I could either be a soft headed bleeding heart or a skilled sociopath. Sometimes those things are all in the same person, but I digress. Empathy does not make you “care more” and “caring more” does not make you more moral. I know of a woman who cared so, so much, she stabbed a guy in the leg five times.
May I speak plainly here? Ha! No seriously, a few years back, both of these guys would have patted themselves on the back for preaching Romans 13 stridently and being highly in favor of mandatory vaccines! Yes, true story! My, how things change depending on which way the wind is blowing. Call me crazy, but I don’t want to be ruled by my empathy and feelings anymore then I want to be ruled by Biblical law read out to me like a dry IRS manual. The heart may be wicked, who can know it, but lean not into your own understanding because your ability to reason is quite tainted, too.
If the choice is between the David Frenchs of the world and the Doug Wilsons, I shall just be in my blanket fort, self identifying as a little pink spider and trying desperately to escape the madness. This whole Bro-haha is a big, “Nope.”
I keep praying for that common sense variant to start spreading and cross pollinate, in the church! The church, people. Get it, “cross” pollinate? Go viral with the good news! We need to be spreading the good news of the cross and fertilizing the whole world with it. Be fruitful and multiply, be all abuzz for Jesus. Both French and Wilson are trying to bend scripture, bend theology, so it fits more neatly tucked around their established worldviews.