Photo by Natalie Chaney on Unsplash
As I write, financial markets are being rocked on the news and uncertainty of the global plague and, apparently, something more than a kerfuffle between two oil nations over crude prices.
Twitter is a train wreck versus its usual dumpster fire - with outspoken humans from all points of the political spectrum - projecting blame, fear, and outrage.
Interspersed in the emotion is data and even some brilliant perspective that could help us navigate these crises - if we could individually learn to do one thing.
What might happen if we let go of the need to be right on every single micro-facet of an issue?
This is an especially essential skill for those of us claiming to follow Christ, yet institutional Christianity seems to be hellbent on being right and insisting that everyone conform.
We seem to forget that the reason Jesus was killed had everything to do with his lack of institutional conformity.
But this post isn’t about vilifying institutional Christianity or the women and men who love Jesus but are caught in the lie of conformity.
It’s about confessing my failure to see all humans - and myself - as Jesus sees us.
In his daily devotional, Live in Grace, Walk in Love, Bob Goff reminds us that, “No one’s ever been coerced into being more like Jesus.
Is there scripture that speaks to the topics you’re thinking about? Terrific. Go figure that out for yourself. You’re not the sheriff and they’re not the enemy. You’re two screwed-up people who desperately need Jesus.
So how do we respond to wrong theology, bad public policy, and injustice?
This is a difficult thing for me to say because I don’t like to see people suffer because of someone else’s selfishness, ignorance, or neglect.
But unless I'm in a position of authority over a situation - or in the voting booth - more often than not my words can cause more harm than good.
It’s one thing to expose racism and injustice through public conversation.
In fact, I got my dander up today when a preacher in the Cincinnati area posted a video telling people “not to worry” about COVID-19 because the mortality rate impacts older and immune-compromised citizens.
I even responded to the dude.
Then I read the next section of Goff’s book.
He talks about how he has a habit of anonymously sending cake pops to people who find themselves in the midst of a Twitter-storm or some other online controversy.
Truth: I don’t even know what a cake pop is.
Goff explains why he doesn’t care if he agrees with the person he’s seeking to lift up with anonymous gifts.
We’ll always disagree with some people, but we’ll know we’re growing when we’re more concerned about the other person than the big disagreement. You’ll know you’re making progress when your love for people overshadows your opinions about them.
Am I sending a cake pop to the preacher in Cincinnati who riled me up this morning?
But I’ll forgive his slight and pray that the Holy Spirit intercedes in a way that my snarky Twitter reply can’t.
These are scary times.
We humans are built to live and thrive in community with others.
Right now, though, it can be dangerous for us to gather in larger groups.
I didn’t say it is dangerous but depending on where you are and your health, it may be dangerous.
Even as we all make changes in how we live and interact with others, let’s not forget to love well - ourselves and others.
And make sure that even if you’re isolating physically that you don’t isolate emotionally.
We need other people.
Today, we’re better suited to stay connected from a distance than ever before - through FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, text, and email.
That old Bell commercial seems to apply today. Reach out and touch someone - digitally. Especially if you’re afraid and anxious.
I wrote a piece for my friend Steve Austin about what happens when I give up the need to be right.