Struggling with Polarization

Over the last year, I have done a lot of thinking about how society is increasingly polarized, and how Christians get caught up in that trend. Two or three of my efforts to build bridges have been clumsy, and I regret the damage that did. But I don’t think ANYONE has this totally figured out; even the smartest, most spiritually mature people I know sometimes blunder in this area. We’re all slightly myopic (I prefer that to the unnecessarily harsh “blind”). Here are some illustrations that I came up with in the process:

I’m trying to work out an explanation for why very intelligent Christian friends — some conservative, and some liberal — are consumed with ultimately trivial matters. I think it has something to do with how they feed their minds and hearts. I’ve been guilty myself! How about you?
This is a big part of the problem. We prefer talking to listening, expressing our own ideas to exploring the ideas of others.
I don’t know which is worse. But I do know that there’s a lot of both going on, and it is a part (perhaps small) of what is driving people to the political extremes. Everyone has a voice nowadays, which inevitably means that there’s a lot of nonsense out there. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.” (Proverbs 10:19, in the version I learned as a child)
I made a comment in the wrong context and then removed it. But it’s really how I feel: “I’m getting sick and tired of people liking and sharing every single story that SEEMS to support their side of debates. Reminds me of children in the school yard, yelling “Fight, fight, fight!”” It’s really more sad than anything. I happen to agree with them in some cases, but don’t care to see friends bathing in hatred.
This was for a recent post. The fascinating thing for me is to try to think of what sins I myself might be downplaying because of my allegiance to certain political ideas. Try it for yourself. If you find it repelling to consider what may be prevalent sins on “your side of the aisle” then you may be as snared — or at least influenced — as I am!

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