Monday, March 26, 2012

Miscommunication, Part 1

I make an effort to avoid words like "hate" and "bigot" except where they're very clearly deserved; in many cases a more accurate description would be the tone deafness that comes from living inside an echo chamber (which the evangelical subculture most definitely is).

Take, for example, actor Kirk Cameron, who has found himself at the center of a controversy over his very tone-deaf comments about homosexuality. What he said was a simple articulation of the tenets of most conservative strains of Christianity (including the one he has devoted his life to); how he said it is quite another matter.

This post by Jim Burroway sums up the problem quite nicely, reversing Cameron's statements to clearly show how they would sound if directed at evangelical Christians. Suddenly Cameron's "I'm just as flawed" concession doesn't seem quite as gracious.

Given my own background I'm inclined to give people like Cameron the benefit of the doubt; they sincerely believe they're "speaking the truth in love" when they make statements like his. And throwing around loaded words like "bigot" tends to do more to shut down communication than to convince anyone of anything. Even so, the Kirk Camerons of the world need to be encouraged to think a little harder about how their words sound to those they're talking about; the compassion they claim to hold in their hearts requires no less of them.

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