Please stop it

Certainly, we need to be concerned about the state of society. 

I’m even more concerned with the state of the American church.

This isn’t partisan. I’m neither Republican nor Democrat, and this is equally applicable to both ends of the political spectrum.

In a recent (October 2020) essay[1], fifteen eminent social scientists identified three core reasons for the extreme political divisions we are experiencing in America today. They are:

  • Othering
  • Aversion
  • Moralization

Othering means lumping people into a group and viewing everyone in that group as alien, different, dissimilar. Othering allows us to condemn whole people groups in our minds and hearts, to dismiss large swaths of human beings created in God’s image for whom Christ died.

Aversion is disliking, even hating or loathing those in the other group. Step back and listen to the language used by your tribe when referring to other tribes. It is too often deeply disrespectful, unloving, even at times cruel.

Moralization is judging the other group as being sinful, iniquitous, wrong, evil. It is impossible to reason with someone who thinks God is on his side or that he has special insights into the nature of morality. When all is reduced to good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, we lose the ability to listen, learn, respect, and connect.

It’s all around us. White/black. Citizen/non-citizen. Male/Female. Law-abiding/thug. Democrat/Republican. Conservative/Liberal. Jew/Gentile. Straight/LGBTQ. Moslem/Christian. Pro-life/Pro-choice. Black Lives Matter/Blue Lives Matter. News/Fake news. Vaccine/anti-vaccine. Guns/regulation. My kind of Christian/your kind of Christian.

Most tragically, it’s in the church. 

If we are followers of Jesus, we will love one another. We will love our enemies. We will turn the other cheek. We will be one as God is one. We will seek unity and peace. We will be humble and teachable, vulnerable and authentic. We will refuse to judge. we will serve. We will wash feet. We will care for those Jesus called “the least.” We will love.

[1] Political sectarianism in America; Eli J. Finkel, Christopher A. Bail, Mina Cikara, Peter H. Ditto, Shanto Iyengar, Samara Klar, Lilliana Mason, Mary C. McGrath, Brendan Nyhan, David G. Rand, Linda J. Skitka, Joshua A. Tucker, Jay J. Van Bavel, Cynthia S. Wang and James N. Druckman; Science 370 (6516), 533-536. DOI: 10.1126/science.abe1715

About Dr. Larry Taylor

Radical Anabaptist, Jesus Freak, Red Letter Christian, sailor, thinker, spiritual director, life coach, pastor, teacher, chaplain, counselor, writer, husband, father, grandfather, dog-sitter

Posted on December 16, 2020, in anabaptist, Bible Teaching, Christianity, Kingdom Life, kingdom of God, Peace Shalom Hesed. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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