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A recent poll found that 84 percent of Americans say they are angrier today compared with a generation ago. Another poll found Americans to be angrier in 2018 than at any other point in the last decade. We probably don’t need polls to tell us we live in an age of anger overload. We feel it palpably when we turn on the news or open our Facebook feeds and see an abundance of red-faced “angry” emojis.
Much of the anger is warranted. When we come across stories of suffering children at detention centers or legislatures cheering late-term abortions, we should be angry. When we read a story about sexual abuse or see someone making dehumanizing or racist comments on Twitter, our blood should boil. When we come across these things, anger is an appropriate emotion to feel.
But should we come across all these things?
Are humans situated in specific contexts meant to bear the weight of a world’s worth of grief and outrage? And what does this mean specifically for local churches, where the complex contours of specific, in-the-flesh community can get lost or neglected in the cacophonous onslaught of abstract, distant grievances from all corners of the globe?
Problem - Age - Poses - Church - Attention
One problem the digital age poses for the local church is that it draws the attention of individual Christians constantly outward, but in often unproductive and relentlessly fragmented ways. People in our churches spend their mental energy every week keeping tabs on the latest Twitter outrage or distant calamity, with little energy left to pour into the lives and issues right in front of them.
To be sure, awareness of the broader world can be a great thing in the Christian life—a motivator for global missions, charitable giving, broadened perspectives, and a healthy sense of connectedness to the global body of Christ....
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Would you let a person who could only get a government job run your life? Well don't!