I listened to an episode of Glennon Doyle’s podcast ‘We Can Do Hard Things’ recently. The episode was entitled ‘The Episode That Wasn’t’. Basically, what happened was that as the guest was getting prepped for the zoom call, her husband was rude and aggressive with the podcast team, and they relayed the experience to the hosts – when one of the hosts got in touch with the guest, she implied that the team member had overly sensitive feelings. The hosts then decided that they would no longer have the guest on the podcast, and instead talked about standing up for yourself and not allowing people to get away with treating you that way.
I think what they did was the right call. They stood up for their team and backed the values of the podcast. Brava. However, one thing sat really uncomfortably with me after listening. I couldn’t put my finger on it for a bit – I agreed with what they did, but there was something about how they were handling it that left me ill at ease; and then it hit me – the way they spoke about the guest and her husband was severely lacking in grace. I was left feeling that it wouldn’t be safe to have a bad day around them.
That whole situation just got me thinking about the times we’re living in right now. The right is cancelling the left and the left is cancelling the right, left, right and centre (see what I did there?). Many in the wellness space proport that cutting ‘toxic’ people out of your life is just what you have to do to heal. Those that have certain differing beliefs from each other completely disregard the validity not only of their ideas, but of them as a person.
Which led me to thinking about the state of the church (mega and otherwise) and all the revelations that have come to light in recent times. It seems on one side, you have people with blinkers on, defending or ignoring the abuse suffered by countless people at the hands of the church system and its leaders, and on the other, those that would burn the whole institution to the ground and dance on its ashes.
I’m not here to say that the way certain people view things is ‘wrong’ – when you look at people’s backgrounds, experiences, cultures, and way of making meaning, it’s almost always possible to understand how they arrived at their position. I am, however, offering my opinion, which is this: when it comes to systems, I don’t think we need to show grace, but when it comes to people, we do.
So, I guess what I’m saying is, when it comes to systems, let’s analyse, scrutinise, and critique. Let’s challenge them, change them, and make them better, less harmful, and more effective – or even burn them to the ground if necessary. But when it comes to people, let’s be honest and truthful, but in a way that considers their humanness and with some understanding of the journey they have walked. It’s not to say that people aren’t to be held accountable, but we do so in way that embodies that old saying, ‘but for the grace of God, there go I’.
One of our pastors preached a message recently saying that grace is the only thing unique to Christianity – and as a self-confessed Judgey-Mcjudgerton, that’s something I’m learning to add to the equation when I’m tempted to completely cancel someone… because I’m really glad that Jesus doesn’t cancel me when I’m a dick.
Love you friends,