Why is Our Culture so Sensitive to Even Disagreement?

Agree-to-disagree1My new friend Joel, who blogs over at The Christian Watershed, has made the most sense to me in regards to the whole Duck Dynasty issue going on with Papa Phil right now. It’s thoughts about civil discourse are worthy of sharing. You’ll see on my pages of this blog “The Rule of Mouw“. This rule is what is needed right now in regards to civil discourse in this country, especially in regards to sexual ethics.

“A lot of people today who have strong convictions are not very civil and a lot of people who are civil don’t have very strong convictions. What we really need is convicted civility,” writes Richard Mouw. He has also said, ”Too often in life we proceed with a hermeneutic of self-assuredness and criticism of those for whom we disagree rather than a hermeneutic of self-criticism and grace for others.” I feel this is the attitude and orientation of mind and heart we need to discuss with one another. My friend’s comments get to the heart of this. Forgive me for taking an attitude that isn’t in line with what I say. I’m a product of the same culture, but I’m working on that. Come work on it with me. Hope you can gain something from my friend’s insights:

Do they have the right to fire someone based on a disagreement if that disagreement is founded in religious ideology? If I bring Pepsi to a company party and a Mormon colleague complains, does he deserve to be fired if he points out that caffeine is a drug and immoral (which is an implicit condemnation of all his non-Mormon co-workers)?

I think the entire issue of A&E and some really stupid show points to a bigger issue; we tend to think of homosexuality as an identity rather than an action. But it’s an action and a disposition. Certainly most homosexuals are biologically predisposed to their feelings, but sexual feelings don’t make us who we are. Thus, if someone says, ‘Hey, I disagree with your actions,’ who cares?

The bigger issue here isn’t even if A&E is within their rights (they’re probably not), but why is our culture so sensitive to even disagreement? We can’t even disagree without the threat of boycotts and firings to arise; we want so desperately to feel like we’re fighting for a worthy cause, so desperately to be moral crusaders, if for no other reason than to justify the mundane existence of reality television and celebrity gossip we’ve created for ourselves. A guy disagrees with how some people act and we acted like he was threatening to light the world on fire.

What you’ll see is that I’m pro-gay marriage (with the caveat that the government has no business being involved in marriage to begin with), but I also like common sense. If someone disagrees with me, fine, who cares? There’s a word for being able to handle a disagreement without calling for a person’s head; mature.” Joel Borofsky on the A&E story about Phil Robertson

“[Bigotry is] an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” -G.K. Chesterton



jesusA great post on Millennials from my friend Carson Clark over at “Musings of a Hardlining Moderate”! Read and share :)

The First Step to Ministering to My Generation: Millennials Like Batman, Not Superman

By Carson Clark

The last month quite a few people have been picking my brain about how to effectively minister to my peers, the Millennial generation.  The first thing I often say is, “Millennials don’t like Superman. Not like their parents and grandparents, anyway. They like Batman.” Once the puzzled looks set in I clarify, “You won’t understand my generation and won’t effectively minister to them until you truly grasp that, and understand why that is.” I’ll unpack that in four ways.

First, Millennials on the whole aren’t a big fan of things that are campy. Thus the dark tone of the acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy, the commercial failure of Superman Returns, and the recent removal of the red underwear in Man of Steel. This is why most Millennials prefer The Passion of the Christ to Fireproof and Switchfoot to Newsboys. This also explains why no Millennial I’ve ever met really likes Thomas Kincaid or Precious Moments. Cheesiness repels us. .

Second, Millennials tend not to resonate with outward displays of perfection and invincibility. We find Superman rather boring and unrelatable. He flew really fast? He picked up another plane? He punched a bad guy really, really hard? Yawn. Such superhuman physical and psychological strength is simply unrelatable. That’s why pastors need to jettison the old model public persona of the flawless, all-knowing leader. Weakness draws us.

Third, Millennials are often tired of being treated like they’re “special” just for existing. Superman was born with superpowers. Woopty doo. Batman, on the other hand, went to the Far East in order to gain his skills through hard work.  One of the latent traits I’ve observed among my generation is an eagerness to achieve something. That’s why the widespread impulse to dumb it down and make it as easy as possible is exactly the opposite of what’s needed. Challenge inspires us.

Lastly, Millennials seem to have a much more nuanced/ambiguous worldview. We snicker at Superman’s “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.” We prefer Batman Begins in which Bruce Wayne muses, “The first time I stole so that I wouldn’t starve, yes, I lost many assumptions about the simple nature of right and wrong. And when I traveled I learned the fear before a crime and the thrill of success. But I never became one of them.” Complexity intrigues us.

In light of all this, let’s give a couple practical examples of how to minister to Millennials. If you’re a dude and you act like you’ve never struggled with lust and never looked at online porn, we’re pretty much going to immediately write you off as full of crap. The same thing goes for a woman who acts like she has never struggled with body image issues. Be open. Be honest. Be real. Most Millennials want to know you empathize and are vulnerable. If you can’t, leave us alone.

Watch Out, Pastors: Millennials Are Fact-Checking Your Sermons

hipsterAs a Millennial, I can attest that this is very true of our generation.

Watch Out, Pastors: Millennials Are Fact-Checking Your Sermons

Survey studies how young churchgoers are using technology.

By Jeremy Weber

Young churchgoers may be turning to YouVersion rather than their pew Bible during the Sunday sermon. Or they may be skeptically Googling what their pastor just said.

Earlier this week, Barna Group released the results of “what happens when the unique spiritual characteristics and technological trends among Millennials collide?”

Their top four findings:

1) Read Scripture on a cell phone or online: 70 percent of practicing Christian millennials, vs. 34 percent of all millennials.

2) Search for spiritual content online: 59 percent of practicing Christian millennials, vs. 30 percent of all millennials. (If you are Orthodox like myself then read Patriarch Kirill on why this one is very important!)

3) Watch online videos about faith or spirituality: 54 percent of practicing Christian millennials, vs. 31 percent of all millennials.

4) Research a church, temple, or synagogue online: 56 percent of practicing Christian millennials, vs. 34 percent of all millennials.

But the most interesting finding: Nearly 4 out of 10 practicing Christian millennials are fact-checking their pastor’s sermons. Notes Barna:

The one-way communication from pulpit to pew is not how Millennials experience faith. By nature of digital connectedness, Millennial life is interactive. For many of them, faith is interactive as well—whether their churches are ready for it or not. It’s an ongoing conversation, and it’s all happening on their computers, tablets and smart phones. What’s more, many of them bring their devices with them to church. Now with the ability to fact-check at their fingertips, Millennials aren’t taking the teaching of faith leaders for granted. In fact, 14% of Millennials say they search to verify something a faith leader has said. A striking 38% of practicing Christian Millennials say the same.

CT regularly covers millennials and surveys.

Millennials: We Suck and We’re Sorry

hipsterI came across this excellent piece of satire a few weeks ago and felt it was worthy of being shared here on the blog, which is ran by someone who is a Millennial himself. I often here scathing critiques of my generation from older people belonging to other generations. I loved the sense of humor and the scathing critique of the Baby Boomers presented in this satirical piece. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, especially if you’re a Millennial:

“Finally, the terrible Millennial generation apologizes for being so terrible! We’re the worst” (Video is in the sentence)!

Directed by Stephen Parkhurst
Starring Sara Jonsson, Nick Schwartz, Ronnie Fleming & Bridget Araujo