The other day, I talked about the first two R words in the baptismal covenant: renounce and reject. For someone like me, who is called to written word as a deacon in the United Methodist Church, the first two R’s are really easy. I see injustice, and I tell people about it. Sometimes loudly. What’s not easy is renouncing and rejecting evil in the world without giving in to the anger and hate that so easily entangles when I feel passionately about something. It’s also really tough to take a stance on anything without offending someone.
The latter, I can handle. I know that speaking out against evil has always been an unpopular task, and if I aim to please everyone on earth, I’m complicit in my silence. But what I cannot be okay with, is hurting someone because of my tone and how I engage in conversation.
I remember posting a status on Facebook lamenting police brutality against people of color, and it was like the sky fell, man. I was accused of perpetuating violent crime against police by fueling the fire. People I haven’t spoken with face to face in years decided now was the time to re-engage in my life. The conversation devolved into yelling points taken verbatim from some of the most conservative and liberal media out there. I tried to moderate the conversation and steer it back on track (I’m all for healthy debate on policy, but I will not debate the inherent dignity of human beings), but it ended up with a real-life #thanksobama comment and something like, “you young people just don’t know what it was like during the Civil Rights Movement, so move along.”
My final comment before I deleted the entire thread went something like this: “Aaaaaalllrrighty then. Two thumbs down for how this went. I will not back down from my stance, and I’m happy to debate policy with anyone via private message. What I will not tolerate is people I know and love accusing others, belittling others, and refusing to actually discuss. Byyyyee.”