April 27, 2022
From what I hear, read, and observe, it seems that many of us believe that people, in general, are more on edge and angrier. For example, I tend to like how we drive in Detroit. We know how to get where we need to go and we don’t mess around. However, I see a growing level of aggressiveness and hostility that goes way beyond “Detroit driving.” Our attitude of Detroit vs. Everybody looks more like, Me vs. Everybody. Hold that thought for a second.
I know of a pastor (not really a friend) who has about 300 members in his church and over 30,000 followers on his Twitter account. Whoa! How did this guy get over 30,000 followers on his Twitter account? In his case, it is not because he is a faithful and focused pastor who is primarily concerned with the condition of his flock. Sadly, he spends most of his waking hours stoking social media fights and picking on others. Controversy will always generate an audience, but at what cost?
I’ve thought a lot about the quote that Dave Dunham referenced this past Sunday from Alan Noble, who said our world is like a billion people in the same room where each one is screaming his own name. How does someone get attention in a room full of screamers? Is it not to scream one’s name even louder? Look at me! Listen to me! Notice me! Like me! Affirm me! Follow me! But, at what cost? How loud must one scream to be heard? What is the result?
Here is my point. You and I breathe the air of these screamers. They try to demand your attention through click baiting, empty promises, controversies, fault-finding, and other methods that get you worked up, agitated, frustrated, and feeling like a victim who wants to demand empowerment to get even or be heard. Media is not a diversion or distraction; it is an ever-present method of discipleship that is shaping your thinking and affections in the patterns of this world. Brothers and sisters, do not let this word squeeze you into its mold. (Romans 12:1)
I recently had dinner with the owner of a media company who shared some insights that helped me connect some of these dots that I have observed. I am saddened to see how genuine believers are being played, used as pawns, and turned into fighting against one another. But, I also see the opportunity that we have as believers (and a church) to put on the gas mask of the gospel, filter out the toxic air of our Mordor, and have a culture of truth and grace that is refreshingly different than this cultural cannibalism.
In the next few weeks, Jerry Benge, Dave Dunham, and I plan to do four podcasts that delve into this a bit more. We live in a cemetery. Our world is decaying. It is angry and divisive. However, we can be the aroma of life if we are wise and intentional. Our superpower is humility and our superglue is encouragement. Are either one of these strengths of yours? They are strengths of Christ and, therefore, must be pursued by his church. By his grace we will.
Grace and peace,
Sunday’s text: 1 Samuel 16:14-23