In the light of recent evangelical and catholic scandals, and the insidious support for popular leaders over victims by high profile people, I have been wondering, do we get to a certain level of influence and then refuse to deal truthfully? If that is the case, may my following remain small. In any case, my biggest frustration has been that while I believe in apologizing when I have been inappropriate, unethical, or misinformed, many with influence in the Christian world do not share this standard.
If we say something highly offensive, digging in our heels is definitely disgraceful, but quietly taking down the post is not enough, especially if many have protested. There is healing in a frank admission of wrong, that does not minimize nor excuse our own failings. It can't change what we've done, nor does it require that trust be immediately restored, but it is a healing moment, leading towards reconciliation.
The power of an apology is that it validates the person we hurt.
It views them as a person created in the image of God. If the people of God are to be childlike in innocence and trust, I do think it is childish to refuse to apologize when we cause deep pain to anyone. The context of victims of sexual abuse and their families is even more so an issue. Perhaps those who refuse to apologize for their reckless words are afraid of lawsuits. But do they fear God?
God's love releases us from fear, and helps us to take responsibility for consequences, knowing we are secure in his love, no matter what. I don't understand "Christian" obfuscation in the light of the cross, in fact, such a thing is not at all "becoming" of a "Little Christ".
Humility is the way of the cross, and instead of hiding sins, a humble apology from those who refused to listen to victims, then even misrepresented them, would not go amiss. Maybe you could lose your ministry, but you will find mercy and be a source of true healing. That ministry is the power of an apology, and why it matters so much.
entirely in favor of personal boundaries.
I block liberally on Facebook, which I keep as a safe place, as
drama-free as possible among diverse loved ones. Sometimes people need to be ignored. Responding might be stressful or unhelpful
personally. Sometimes even good thoughts
can be ignored. Some days it’s just
it.I have some concerns though, if you
will hear them, on what I will call the “lalalalala I can’t hear you approach”
(otherwise known as blocking dissent on public forums such as twitter):
think it usually works. Two words why: Streisand Effect.
Here's what happened today, after my
response to Tim Fall saying he’d been blocked:
This is a humorous example why
I think it is silly to block like that:
happened the other day, and I spoke up because I get tired of seeing it happen,
especially in Christian circles.People can feel bullied when they are rejected by people with position who make no attempt at dialogue. (To be fair, in this situation I did personally experience some healthy dialogue.)
My issue is
this: should so-called Christian organizations be bastions of freedom and
confidence, or places of silencing dissent?Which is more Christ-like?For
corporations and public figures with a large following, as a private citizen
and as a student of communications, I highly recommend that dissent not be
blocked, but respected as a moment for creative communication.
should be reported and it is right to draw attention to unrelenting evil, but I
have observed that the more we respond to it personally, the worse it usually
gets.I think how we individually each
deal with abuse and bullying will be (and should be) creatively different
according to our different personalities and levels of tolerance.But my issue here is big names blocking civil
disagreement expressed firmly.
listening to dissent gets annoying, and it is not something you want to engage
or deal with right now, I have two more words for us all: Mute Button.Then at least we aren’t rejecting outright
an actual human being.Every time we
reject someone, they are likely to talk about it.Word does get out, and the little people are
no longer voiceless.
This is why
those with influence need to understand: their public online behavior has
consequences, just as I understand as an ordinary person that mine does.
Watching the news over the past weeks and reading the American responses among even Christians has brought me down. It seems to me that too many have dehumanized people created in the image of God because they believe differently from certain Americans about who is God.
This is unconscionable.
I hear fear where there should be love, arrogance where there should be humility, entitlement where there is already a ridiculous amount of privilege. Personally, our family has been going through a rotten time with home repairs and water damage and car troubles yet we have a place to live that is relatively safe and secure.
We American Christians are rich compared to most of the world and can even defend ourselves if necessary. In comparison to what other people in the world are facing daily, no one is bombing us, enslaving us, or threatening us with arrest for not doing our military service for a corrupt government. Beyond that, if we expect earthly governments to safeguard Christian values, we are delusional. We are in the world and not of it, and our hope and confidence is in the God of the universe.
People caught between Assad and IS are being looked at with contempt because of their possible religion. Though caution and wisdom is needed in how to safeguard our freedom in the West while helping refugees of war, it is evil and wrong to callously dismiss human beings on the basis of their culture. Added to that, the fact is there is more than one sect or belief system in Syria. Stereotyping people fleeing war, whatever their gender or financial situation, is heartless.
Frankly I'm tired of it. I expected more from fellow Christians; I thought we were to love our neighbors and even our enemies, and be good Samaritans. I'm not saying we have to check our brains at the door, but I am wondering where our hearts have gone. Too many professing Christians seem to prefer rigid control, regardless of who they hurt, to Christlike love whatever the cost.
In this context, the following conversation struck me as relevant:
From Fully Human: An Introduction
It is high time for the church in America to grieve, mourn, and wail while making the most of every opportunity to love as God.
Apologies for the swearing but this is perspective:
Some of us have no home. The most painful thing I've ever had communicated to me, as a foreigner wherever I go, and usually when I express an opinion outside of the norm, is, "Go home."
I think that is the cruelest attack we can make on a person in transition.
For me, it's hard to take when "home" is not something I have ever found nor even hope to find on this earth. I have instead found my only stable citizenship identity as an Adult Third Culture Kid is in Heaven.
Everything else, however precious, is just reflection of a better reality, and those of us who cannot go home may find our comfort in our God with us right here, right now.