As a social conservative who frequently dines at Chick-Fil-A, the news that the beloved fast-food restaurant has changed its charitable giving strategy away from traditional Christian groups hit me hard. In fact, the news, to borrow a phrase, was not my pleasure.
From Eric Erickson to Russell Moore to others, there is no shortage of interesting “hot takes” on this hot button issue you can find. While personally saddened upon hearing the news, I began to observe some eerily familiar online arguments in this latest “food fight.”
In fact, I have observed a pattern of personalities on social media that seem to rise up during any given controversy. Who am I talking about?
These are the people who enjoy stirring up strife. In our social media age that rewards spats and disagreements, these folks are truly at home. If they are not verbally sparring with someone online, their day is not complete. For Christians, this should not be our posture.
The Perpetually Outraged
These are people who seem to fight a new outrage every week. This week, it’s Chick-Fil-A. Last week, it was another issue. Next week, it will be another. While we can and should be outraged at injustice and compromise in the world, Christians must learn how to avoid being sucked into what’s been called the “perpetual outrage machine.”
These folks have something to say about everything. Whether it’s about war in Syria, profession sports, laws debated in Congress, new TV programs or just someone’s personal news, these people seem to provide “expert” comments on everything. While Christians can and should be informed on a wide array of topics, it does not mean we need to comment on everything.
“Can’t we all just get along?” is a familiar refrain. These people perceive the growing strife and try to heal divides. While their peacemaking efforts are noble, far too often these folks get steamrolled in any conversation, especially online. While we need more people trying to bring peace, Christians also can heed the proverb that warns us from grabbing a dog by the ears (Prov. 26:17) and inserting ourselves into every strife that comes along.
All of the back-and-forth wears people out. It seems hardly anyone is persuading anyone any more. This lack of civil discourse leads to people giving up, to becoming disheartened. Many of these folks have either faded away from social media conversations, or quit social media altogether.
At various times, I myself have fallen into each of these categories, whether talking about important news like Chick-Fil-A or other topics. A personality type I am aiming toward becoming is an Ambassador for Christ. That is to say, someone who represents Him well. To that end, all Christians ought to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of our calling; in a way that honors Him and sets us apart in a culture gone crazy with verbal “food fights.”
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Col. 4:6).