Living in a PC World
The recent presidential election unveiled the hideous side of American politics. In many ways, it’s divided our nation, focused on our differences and pitted people against one another.
Amidst these seething debates is the issue of political correctness. Certain groups despise the concept; they view it as a softening of American fortitude and resolve. Others prefer political correctness to the hardened and unyielding perspective of the alternative side.
Through this lens, we’ve come to judge politicians and community leaders more by their language and behavior than their actual policies and principles. Likewise, our arguments with one another have grown increasingly more personal as our perspectives become more polarized.
Political Correctness is a Spectrum
Our obsession with political correctness (or fervent opposition towards it) borders on the ridiculous. Both extremes exist because they’re rooted in something much deeper. Political correctness has become a reflection of our core values.
We’re stuck in a struggle between over-complication and over-simplification. However, there is a middle ground that balances these two extremes. There is another option.
Political correctness is not binary—it’s a spectrum. We’re not limited to two choices of being overly tactful or completely insensitive. Whatever your perspective, the proper response to political correctness is not political incorrectness—it’s authenticity.
How This Relates to God
This spectrum is reminiscent of God’s truth and grace. Political correctness can be beneficial because it lends grace and understanding to other people’s situations. It’s a way to soften the world’s harsh realities.
However, political correctness can also be seen as an avoidance of the truth. How can we love someone if we let them live in a lie? We owe it to ourselves not to sugarcoat everything. Then again, those we love won’t bother listening to the truth if it’s delivered without empathy.
God is the perfect balance of grace and truth. He encourages us to respect the perspectives of others, while still being with them. That’s a perfect way to sum up authenticity. It’s being real, while still being human. And it’s severely lacking in today’s culture.
Be More Authentic
To be more like Christ, we must embody this balance of truth and grace. Discovering the middle ground between political correctness and harsh realities results in greater authenticity of character and relationships.
Some people are hesitant to find a middle ground between two extremes. Being a moderate translates as being indecisive. Compromise is a dirty word when it comes to our values. However, authenticity is a powerful choice that you can dive into deeply and passionately.
What are some practical ways to live out authenticity in your life?
- Listen more. Talk less. Value what other people have to say.
- Don’t assume you know everything. We all know what happens when you assume.
- Replace stereotypes with relationships. Overcome prejudice with personalities. The best way to learn about a different culture or perspective is to meet someone with that background.
- Before you guess if something is offensive or not, ask someone.
- Presume best intent from everyone. Assuming malicious intent leads to paranoia.
- Be honest. It should go without saying, but lies are always inauthentic.
What This Means For The Church
Another argument against political correctness is its seeming effort to please everyone. We all know that you can’t make everyone happy. Yet, that’s what so many churches attempt to do.
Instead, our churches should embrace authenticity and be true to our own identity. The first step is discovering that true identity. How do people perceive your church? How do you want to be known? Defining a church’s identity is not easy, but self-awareness is crucial to authenticity.
Once you know who you are, embrace that identity in everything you do. Reflect it in your worship services. Build it into your set design. Voice it into your online content. Don’t use stock photos for your website; use real images of real people at your church.
By living our your church’s, you’ll never have to apologize for being too harsh or too inoffensive. You’ll be exactly who you were meant to be. And that will only encourage others to do the same.
In this time of political unrest, the church has an opportunity to lead our culture into authenticity.