When I was in Mexico last week I saw a man reading Arguing With Idiots by Glenn Beck. Not surprising since it is the best selling non-fiction hardcover book right now. There are evidently several hundred thousand other people also reading that book.
But I refuse.
Let me explain. I agree with a lot of the underlying beliefs espoused by Glenn Beck. It's not his philosophy or core values that disturb me--it is the rhetoric. Since when does calling someone an idiot help you have a conversation with them? I realize it sells books; it makes you a lot of money...but does it really help you convince anyone of anything?
It happens on both sides. Al Franken wrote a book about conservatives called Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Michelle Malkin wrote a book about Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies.
We could debate all day whether these book titles are accurate or not. That isn't my point. I just think it is ridiculous to try to change anyone's mind by calling them names. You may be rallying your base--but you are becoming part of the problem at the same time.
Point: How often do church leaders do the same thing? We call people lost or pagan or outsiders--and those words put us at arms length with those we are trying to reach. I recall several years ago when one of our teams put out a brochure for an event that said, "It is a great opportunity to invite your lost neighbor." That same brochure was then handed to one of those "lost" neighbors who became quickly offended about being labeled...and about being a project to their friend.
Some of us have spent so much time on the inside that we don't even realize how offensive our language is. We need to get out of our holy bubbles and begin to hear ourselves through the ears of those around us. Until we do that--we'll continue to turn people off as quickly as political liberals are shut down by Glenn Beck.