This post might trigger you, you might get mad, maybe you won’t… I honestly don’t know anymore. The world is weird ya’ll, and church folks are being all kinds of unpredictable.
But First, a Word From Our Sponsors
I wrote a book, which is why I have this website, which is why I try to blog weekly, which is why a couple of peeps out there get flustered at what I say. Now, this sounds sort of arbitrary, but let me explain. I DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM DOING!
I am an assisted self-published author, which is a fancy way of saying that no one cares about my book. My name isn’t Oprah or Stephen King, I have zero name recognition. I don’t bust out New York Times bestsellers on a whim. Due to this fact, I am stuck playing the “how do you tell people about a thing you did for free” game. So here we are. I blog, sometimes. I wish I was far more consistent, but I am a husband, father and a pastor (that’s what my book is about BTW) so I am a little busy.
Last week I didn’t blog…
I was a little overwhelmed with life. My church was burglarized. It was kind of a bummer. I plan on sharing more on this in the future, but for this post, I will leave it at this: Sometimes we need reminders as to what church really is or isn’t about.
I know I needed one.
Back to Being Triggered!
Perhaps you’re not a young person and you don’t understand the terminology. Here is a working definition for how I would refer to this word:
Getting filled with hate after seeing, hearing or experiencing something you can’t stand.
That’s the pop-culture definition (urban dictionary to be precise) of the word. A trigger can be something other than what is defined above, such as someone who has an addiction being a trigger, or someone with a past “issue” being triggered by the present because of it. For our purposes, I am used “triggered” in the sense of those who have a hugely negative reaction to anyone who has opinions contrary to their own. This can be in person but I see it happen for more online. I would define it as having to come to grips with being bigoted. Before I continue, and because of experience, I think it would be helpful to also define this term:
intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.
“the difficulties of combating prejudice and bigotry”
So basically, being triggered is a result of a form of bigotry and it’s something I think we also struggle with from time to time. For instance, if you tell me that golf is fun to play or fun to watch, I will struggle with not being “filled with hate” and I will also struggle to not show “intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from myself” on the subject. This example is mostly for comedic purposes, but truly, I don’t get golf. I’m not sure I would go so far as to say that I hate it, but I would be fine saying I greatly dislike it and can’t understand why so many enjoy it as a pastime.
I know… People watch it and play it all the time. There are probably millions of golfers who spend millions of dollars on the equipment and clothing to go smack a little white ball around. Sure, there might be even more millions upon millions who even enjoy watching it on TV. I tried researching how big of an industry golf really is, but even using “golf” in search engines bored me to tears. I did see numbers up into the 100 billion though. So yeah, I get it, people like golf.
I don’t… And I think others should share my beliefs… because they are wrong… and I am right…
Let’s Take it a Step Further
Let’s stop pretending this is about golf because it isn’t. What this is really about is our nation’s inability to have dialogue. More specifically, it is about those I see day in and day out who are literally incapable of agreeing to disagree on almost anything. This is about the church.
According to the numbers Pew Research put out, and overwhelming, perhaps an even historic number of white evangelicals showed up in 2016 to vote our president into office. Based on this poll, the number was 81%.
Now if I say I like this, or that this concerns me, I know for a fact that someone is getting triggered. I think this is sad. We get the leaders we get, and we can go home and pout, or we can rub it in everyone’s faces. Unfortunately, I have seen much of the latter. I have seen many of these white evangelicals revel in the victory, being sore winners who are intentionally trying to “trigger” whoever they deem to be a liberal or non-Trump voter. If you are on social media at all, you may have seen much the same.
Following Jesus is and will always be Non-Partisan
In my book, which I wrote the year leading up to the election in question, I wrote a chapter about hope. I saw far too many placing hope in a man or a woman. This hope went beyond optimism for the future, and overflowed into a bigoted view of the “other.” Trump supporters hated Hillary and her base, being intolerant of any view their platform held. Hillary supporters did just the same to Trump and his base.
No topic or political issue has been safe ever since.
I can have the exact same conversation, about any given topic, but based on who this conversation is being had with I am labeled as the “other” and chastised for it. Though I am far from perfect, I strive in all things to be like Christ, to live as He called me to live. So, why is it that following Jesus can be labeled as too “conservative” by some while others rush to label it far too “liberal?”
At the risk of “triggering” someone, I will use an example that this exact scenario played out for:
The Sanctity of Human Life –
Questions I have asked Pro-lifers: It sounds like you are just anti-abortion. Isn’t “pro-life” more than that? Are you rushing to adopt babies that weren’t aborted? Help out foster families? What about other issues of the sanctity of life? What do you think about the death penalty? Does it bother you that this country is number one in mass shootings in the world? Aren’t these “pro-life” matters? If someone comes into your house you are going to shoot to kill? With no check on your conscious? Is it not murder? Killing and murder are different?
I normally get called a liberal for this line of questioning…
Questions I have asked Pro-Choicers: So what constitutes life? Does a baby have to be born to be considered human? Does it have to take a breath? At 12 weeks what you might label a “fetus” is fully and completely formed based on the latest scientific findings. How is “terminating” a pregnancy not ending a life after this point? I agree, woman have rights and those rights should be protected, but where is the line? Where do a woman’s reproductive rights infringe on an innocent baby’s right to live? Yes I know there are issues of rape, incest, and health risks to mothers that must be considered, but what percentage of pregnancies does that actually involve?
I normally get called a conservative for this line of questioning…
So which is it? Both? Neither?
I believe it t be neither. Following Jesus is just that, following his actions and heeding his words. Neither party can fully lay claim to being the party in line with the Son of God, no matter how much they would like to pretend they are. Claiming one is closer is simply settling for the lesser of two evils, which is, by definition, settling for evil. So as someone who strives to be defined solely by following Jesus, it’s crucial to see what He may have to say about this issue of being “triggered.”
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, he talked about the law, both the spirit of it and the letter. He further extrapolated this notion with the following:
Matthew 5:21-26 (CEB)
I think we have some anger problems, folks. We have developed bad habits of bigotry, of being incapable to have simple conversations with someone we disagree with. We are far more comfortable labeling, condemning and vilifying those we don’t like. What Jesus is talking about here goes beyond a simple conversation on the sanctity of human life, and dives deep into the heart of the issue.
Are you angry with someone? Have you called someone an idiot or behaved in a way that let them believe you thought they were one? Do you label and dismiss using terms like “liberal” or “conservative” based on your inability to agree to disagree?
It has gotten me in trouble numerous times, but I will continue to say it: You can be a Democrat or a Republic and still be a Christian. It’s all a matter of which label comes first, which you allow to truly define who you are.
I hope I didn’t do too much triggering, but I’m sure that if I did, I’ll hear all about it… which is fine… I kind of asked for it, didn’t I?
Until next time… whenever that is…