Conversation Over Comfort

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My last post definitely seems to have resonated in some way, as it’s resulted in what has to be the most real-life followup conversations I’ve had on any essay so far. 😬 In other words, I’m definitely now fully up-to-date with my annual feelings vaccination.

Overall, I’m glad to have had these conversations, and since I’ve already done my Festivus-style grievance airing, I thought this time I’d share some observations from my chats, along with a few items in my hope chest:

  • I hope that we can openly acknowledge and (importantly) publicly address that Christianity in America has a major information literacy “bubble” problem that (by virtue of network effects) touches and affects far more people than the minority that are actually posting the misinformation.

  • I hope that those posting propaganda pieces solely to get positive social media reactions from their closed circle will stop treating current events like they treat photos of their pets. You should post (legitimate) news to start a conversation or raise awareness, not as a source of “yay, my tribe is with me!” comfort.

  • Regarding the ICOC specifically, I’ve observed that there are still understandably raw feelings about the period of turmoil/the Henry Kriete letter (generally surrounding the accuracy of Kriete’s church role as reported, whether or not the church was already in the process of addressing many of the complaints and whether or not past concerns were ignored).

    These are all fair points of contention (though the link in my piece was simply pointing out that the church went through a period of reform, full stop), but you know what helps clarify disputed details? Talking openly and sharing the back-and-forth written communication from this period (however painful), especially to those interested in or new to the church.

    Being radically transparent in the social media era is a smart move, especially for a church that had troubles, but did indeed end up making many positive changes (something that is powerful and encouraging).

    Deleting social media posts that ask for guidance on difficult issues in 2020, however, is the kind of behavior that doesn’t exactly lend credibility to a “we don’t ignore concerns” stance.

  • I hope that churches see value in discussing and applying Christ’s teachings to some of the major social issues affecting us today, rather than opting out of conversations entirely, only addressing them in infrequent “test balloon”-style special event discussions or falling back on opinions and interpretations that were “settled” decades ago.

    As MLK said: “The contemporary Church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the archsupporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church’s silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are.”

    I hope we start publicly and compassionately wrestling with difficult issues, and then never stop doing so.