The Case for Dissent

[Guest post from Chris]

How do I stop myself from getting too angry by the facts below?

  • Many Christians like to say that global warming is fabricated.  And then they use the recent polar vortex as evidence. Some even say the polar vortex is a term recently created by the Lamestream Liberal Media.
  • Some Christians believe that evolution is a dirty word created by the Devil.  And that God could never use this as a tool for his creation.
  • There are even Christians who believe that “those illegals” should be shipped back to Mexico.  Regardless of their history and how they got here in the first place. And that God first and foremost wants to bless American citizens.
  • And other Christians believe we should continue to condone the murder of innocent Palestinians.  After all, isn’t absolute loyalty to Israel our calling?

See what I did there?  Yep, those are just a couple common Evangelical positions that really make me angry.

And the ironic part is, I’m likely making the people described above just as angry as they make me by stating these opinions.

Or when they post memes like this. 

Image

Some would say we should just play it safe and stop voicing our opinions on controversial things.  I vehemently disagree with this notion.  There are significant implications to our Christian walk when it comes to these issues, and active avoidance does not honor God. 

But sometimes engagement is not beneficial.  Sometimes talking with people who disagree with me makes me angry.  Too angry. I’m sure you can say the same.

It’s no secret to my closest friends that I disagree with many of my fellow denizens in the Church about various social and fiscal issues. On occasion these disagreements make me outraged.  At other times they make me really embarrassed for the Church. 

So what do I do?  How do I process this reality and reduce my paralyzing ardor? How do I keep from growing bitter toward the church and the people with whom I so strongly disagree? How do I not take it as a personal affront?

An old undergrad colleague offered the following advice when it comes to this. This person also happens to be a Rector at an Anglican church and educated at Boston College and Gordon-Conwell (full disclosure, he also probably doesn’t remember me and doesn’t even know I read his advice on a Facebook post.  Creepy, I know.).

He said “There is no reason to torture yourself and build up bitterness and animosity in your spirit toward Christians who don’t agree with you. Pray for them and move on with your life.”

I need to do this more.  And not in a “screw you, I’m right” kind of way.  But, rather, in an effort to stay pure in thought.  In an effort to prevent the Devil from using these disagreements as a stronghold in my spiritual walk and relationships with others.

I want to like the Church and all of its people.  But honestly, there are times when I don’t.  Like, really don’t.

Regardless, we’re all part of God’s Kingdom and it wouldn’t be honoring do engender such an attitude. 

Not to mention, I also can’t have an unwillingness to capitulate.  There is a possibility I’m wrong on some issues, right?  😉

I will continue to participate in fruitful (or rather, lively/uncomfortable) conversations in person and online.  But at times, I will need to bow out. Sometimes temporarily.  Sometimes permanently.  And I need to learn how to discern the correct course of action. 

Lord help us all.

Or rather, Lord save us from your followers.

 

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2 thoughts on “The Case for Dissent

  1. Amanda, I am completely with you on this. It’s so difficult to understand the place for “righteous anger” and an entire book to be written on the question of it’s existence. Are any of us really capable of being “righteous” in our anger?

    I am often deeply saddened by these things too. Lately, I have settled myself in the understanding that deep sadness & deep joy can exist simultaneously in my heart.

    These issues do evoke such emotions.

    I am enjoying your posts 🙂 Keep it up!

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