let's call the whole thing off

lament | complaint
prophetic | toxic
attack | critique
divisive | divided
status quo | unity
shaming | accountability
boundaries | bitterness
indulgent rage | righteous anger
iron-sharpening-iron | infighting
aggressive | assertive
peacekeeping | peacemaking

Each of us responds to situations in the light of our own histories, hurts, and personalities, which impact our perceptions disparately. There's rarely just one way of looking at anything, but that doesn't stop us from chiding one another for caring about the "wrong" thing.

Manufactured outrage...waste of time...I don't care, and you shouldn't either...

Myriad issues that get folks riled simply aren't my bag, but I try not to tell others to pipe down or get over it, because that's what jerks do.

There's room enough for us to care about different matters, appreciate varied interests, and work toward unique goals. It's even possible to care about more than one thing at at time! Just because something is meaningless to me doesn't make it devoid of import or value. There's little reason to dismiss each others' concerns or rank injustices in a losing game of Oppression Olympics.

If I don't generally operate from a place of malice, it's a safe bet that others might not either. But public work will always invite public response. New media still functions as media, and pressing publish is not the end of any conversation, even if the author taps out (or wants to).

Any benefit of the doubt we espouse must extend well beyond our own relationships and camps. We can assume people operate from good intentions and still examine meaning, power, and praxis. There's room for generosity as well as reform, growth, and pushing back the effects of the Fall together. 

Before writing each other off, what if we considered, "Why does this matter so much to you?" What if we listened more, particularly to wisdom from the margins? What if Christians grieved injustice and pain as much as other people's reactions to to it? What if we sought Christ first among the crucified and "least of these" rather than amid the halls of power?

We can assign positive intent and still seek and make amends for harm caused. We can practice resurrection and accountability both, refusing false choices between criticism and creation.We can discern our own motives and manage our own feelings and time in healthy ways, recognizing that ours are the only ones we have any insight to or control over. Like we tell our kids, "You do you."

Let's call the whole one-size-fits-few universal prescriptive thing off. We aren't made to function identically within the Body of Christ. Maybe peacemaking is something akin to hospitality: open doors and boisterous, laden tables with room enough to feel, heal, love, respond, understand, choose, and serve in diverse ways.

There are a million ways to be faithful.

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