Nearly a year ago this week I started writing a book.
In Fall 2017, it seemed like the world was on fire. Everywhere I looked, I saw anger—anger towards Christians, anger by Christians, anger by Christians towards Christians. People whom I respected as voices of patience and forbearance were being ignored or sucked into the hostility.
Everyone was intimately aware of how others were being angry towards them or their community, but shockingly ignorant of how they were displaying the same level of vitriol towards others.
What I realized as I was researching and writing was that this was a discipleship problem.
We are entering a new age—one defined by polarization and tribalism amplified by new technology and online platforms. As disorienting as this is for Christian leaders, this pales in comparison to those in the pew struggling to make sense of how to live, follow Christ, and witness.
Too often, sermons and small groups curriculum are leading Christians to engage a world that no longer exists. As a result, Christians can frequently be the greatest sources of outrage rather than its counter.
As I wrote, this became the central theme of the book. In the introduction to my new book, Christians in the Age of Outrage, I write,
This is a book about outrage. It’s an acknowledgment that our world, or at least our part of it, seems awash in anger, division, and hostility. Outrage is all around, so we have to decide how to walk through this. We are living in a day— and this is indeed our moment— when we need to live like Christ, as gospel Christians in the midst of shouting, anger, and hatred. And it’s going to get worse. To be sure, there is a lot in this world that is outrage inducing.
Terrorism, sex trafficking and exploitation, systemic racism, illegal immigration, child poverty, opioid addiction . . . and the list goes on. These issues deserve a measure of outrage, don’t they? They certainly deserve our anger. And this is part of the problem. What do we do when the anger becomes too much? When our righteous indignation at injustice morphs into something completely different? How do we know when righteous anger has made the turn into unbridled outrage?
These questions do not have easy answers, but they deserve our consideration if we want to be faithful disciples of Christ.
Since that time a year ago, the situation has only intensified. How could I have known that the book would be published during the one of the most contentious Supreme Court hearings in American history? From social media to the water cooler and from cable news to the pulpit, the room for nuance or dialogue is shrinking.
Christians need help not only understanding how to understand a rapidly changing world, but also guidance in the ways that we can engage outrage with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
My prayer for Christians in the Age of Outrage is that it would help spark this conversation in churches, seminaries, and at the dinner table.
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Source: Christianity Today