It's a regrettable reality in today's culture that we seem to be quicker to punish one another for not having the right political stance, moral standards, or ideas in general than we are to practice love, which is claimed to be the highest virtue, even amongst the worst of us. In a bygone era, if someone in town did not live up to the moral standards of the day, the rest of us would shun them, relegating them as a social outcast in order to feel the consequences of their actions. I'm not giving examples and I'm not hashing it out any further than this. We all can think of some and I'm not getting into the weeds of it all. The bottom line is that Cancel Culture today is no different. We are moving toward being a society that punishes one another instead of being truly tolerant (that word has been redefined, so let me be clear when I use the term - to be accepting of another person's decisions and lifestyle choices and continuing to live in neighborly ways with them while not necessarily being in agreement or affirming them). Unfortunately, what I am most concern about is that this practice will lead us, as a society, to being incredibly fragile. It's evident in our inability to disagree with one another and still remain committed to civility. It is obvious in our inability to not take differences in political motivations as anything less than spiritual heresy. We condemn and ostracize and retreat to our "like-minded" circles, all while peeking out from behind corners at "those people" as they pass by. We don't "like" the post, we spread gossip about them being intolerant themselves, or worse, being bigoted. Warranted or not, we wield the power of shunning. We can affect their social currency, their job, or other aspects of their life, and we like that power. On the other hand, we hold to the idea that love is the ultimate virtue, the ultimate advocacy. We claim to be activist for nothing unless it is done in "love". All the while, we act as if we have no idea what love is. Yet, we don't see the disconnect between what we hold in one hand and what we hold in the other. We are cutting down people instead of challenging the ideas themselves. We are burning bridges instead of building them. And we are nurturing alienation all while preaching that if they would just espouse the same things, they could be welcomed back into the fold. This is a revolution, after all. There's bound to be collateral damage, we reason. I wonder how much longer it will be until our society collapses altogether or, in the very least, we finally see that until we commit to more clearly discerning the root of the issues and ideas; until we treat each other as the image bearers of the God that we all are, we will continue to throw maltov cocktails at anyone we feel 'righteous indignation' toward. The resulting carnage, I believe, will one day shock us and shame us that we, ourselves, enabled such destruction. God forgive us.
photo by Jeanne S. Mam-Luft
I'm a Christ-follower, passionate about moving in truth/love and intellectual rigor through all things faith + art. A professional Dance Artist and fancying myself an amateur Christian Apologist, I’m committed to moving in the liminal space between catastrophic reverence of God and a quaking humility that intentionally keeps the tremors of Grace close at hand.