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There were several thoughts taken from the book, Christians in the Age of Outrage by Ed Stetzer.

Why the increase in division?

  • America is becoming increasingly polarized in their viewpoints (political, social, etc.)

  • The unprecedented advancement of technology and the effects of social media and how we interact.

What has fueled the outrage?

  • Social Media: Everyone now has a platform and opinion.

  • News Outlets: There is an increase in media bias, clickbait, and sensationalized news that leans toward the outliers and extremes.

  • Religious Hypocrisy: “Christians” who show allegiance to a group, idea, or political party more than the Kingdom of God.

  • Echo Chambers: We only allow voices into our lives who amplify or reinforce our beliefs or viewpoints.

Traps in which Christians have added to the division:

  • We assume that if our point is valid than our outrage is justified.

    • It is okay to be angry but often our outrage leads us to respond instead of reconcile, which only increases the division.

  • We get distracted from our Kingdom Mission and the proclamation of the gospel by all the other issues.

    • Any other issue, other than the gospel of Jesus Christ, that becomes our identity or we promote above the gospel is idolatry and sin.

  • We take an all-or-nothing approach to engagement with others that demands, “You have to agree with me or you’re _________.”

    • Racist, un-American, ignorant, bigoted, elitist, heretical, unchristian, liberal, conservative, Trump lover/hater

  • We quickly respond to a topic, offering a post, tweet, or comment without reflection, healthy dialogue, learning, or offering a better way.

    • Remarks made in the heat of the moment rarely lead to reconciliation or offer a better way forward.

  • We engage with people online in a way we would never treat them face-to-face.

    • Online interaction has dehumanized people to the point they are simply a screen name, avatar, or profile picture and not someone made in the image of God.

  • We choose to fight in every battle and die on every hill.

    • We must use wisdom and discernment in every issue - when to speak, remain silent, listen, ask questions, etc. (James 1:19)

  • We use shame to bring about change in others.

    • Brent Brown: “Shame used as a tool for social justice only produces defensiveness and rationalization in the one being shamed."

Rules of engagement for citizens of the Kingdom of God:

  • We must remember that we are Christ’s ambassadors of redemption and reconciliation. (2 Col 5:18-20)

    • We are people of second chances who look to redeem and restore, not to destroy or “win.”

  • True love for others is SACRIFICIAL and stands up for injustice and oppression no matter the personal cost. (1 John 3:16-18)

    • It is one thing to speak up online which often requires very little sacrifice. It is entirely another thing to do something which costs you something.

  • We are first called to embody truth and justice in our lives and the church before we call it out in those around us.

    • Calling out truth in others that we are not living or embodying in our own lives has a name: hypocrisy.

  • We must root ourselves in the bigger story of God’s mission and faithfulness throughout church history.

    • God has often raised up a remnant within the church who was counter cultural and remained FAITHFUL in spite of difficult cultural circumstances.

  • We must cut through all the noise and choose to listen to the right voices.

    • We are the guardians of our ears, eyes, and heart and must limit the negative influences and reinforce the right voices through spiritual practices and life-on-life discipleship.

  • We realize that TRUE LOVE for others can only flow from a heart that has been transformed by the love of Christ.

    • All other forms of love will inevitably regress into manipulation, shame, abuse, anger, selfishness, misplaced identity, etc.

  • We must see the imago dei that is inherent in each and every person.

    • People are not things to be won, conquered, or destroyed but men and women who are formed in the image of God and worthy of honor and respect.

  • We must be missionaries of grace who are known more for our sacrificial love than our outrage and aggression.

    • Our culture is drawn towards people of humility who are walking in love.

Can you add to this list? What traps have we fallen into? What rules of engagement need to be added?