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Social media gives unprecedented opportunities to know about and engage in controversy. Many of these controversies are rooted in places far from us; involve people we’ve never met (and will likely never know); and grow out of communities of which we’ve never been (and never will be) a part.
Social media makes these far-away controversies seem urgent, right here, right now. We feel compelled not only to care but to respond. We may even feel a more fervent connection with these far away controversies than we do with the problems and needs of our own neighbors right next door.
David - French - Phenomenon - Regards - Anger
David French has recently written about this phenomenon in regards to political anger. Jonathan Leeman has noted similar themes in regard to evangelicalism. Both, in different ways, counsel a return to a concern for the local and point to the dysfunction that comes from engagement in the never ending stream of distant conflicts.
I do not doubt that there are those in the church who are not only well equipped, but also actively called, to take up arms in many of the broad arguments being had in the church and in the culture; people whose vocation is to serve the church in a role like that described by Alan Jacobs – his “Watchmen”, Christian public intellectuals who fill the role “of the interpreter, the bridger of cultural gaps; of the mediator, maybe even the reconciler.” I have personally benefited from those called to this role. I am grateful for them. But I wonder if for most of us, we’d be better served ourselves (and of better service to others), if we saw this as the calling of some and not all. What if, instead of assuming we are called to every fight just because technology gives us the ability to comment, we instead chose...
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