I’ve been reading * trigger warning * * controversial * Glenn Beck’s book: Addicted to Outrage. I have to say it is spot on and scary. Our society has become addicted to outrage and it is destroying us. The carefully woven fabric is not fraying on the edges, it is being ripped a part in one angry tear.
I have been off of Facebook for maybe a month now. I don’t remember the exact date I took the plunge, but I am so happy I did it. However, even removing myself from the dumpster fire that is Facebook, I have not escaped the shock waves of outrage.
Outrage itself is not a problem.
How outrage has dominated our dialogue landscape is a huge problem.
Today’s outrage fuels hostility, anger, malice, resentment, disgust, etc. The outrage is often misplaced or in the very least negatively impacts passerby’s because of shotgun style outrage.. It has shown the worst of ourselves against our fellow man and neighbor. The outrage today has become outrageous.
Outrage as virtue signaling is misguided and arrogant.
Outrage as a shield from moral judgement is cowardice.
Outrage as a weapon is disgraceful.
When outrage becomes your identity… God help you.
(Read chapter 3 of the book)
The things I have seen people become outraged over in my own community often have me speechless or in the very least perplexed. It was making me angry… a poison that quietly seeps in convincing you the appropriate response is more outrage and vitriol.
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” - Matthew 15:18
I read about a man who was outraged over the volunteer work that a local non-profit organization did to help clean up our rivers - he “called them out” online, blaming them for the trespassers on his property, in a demeaning and spiteful manner. Read that again.
I was recently accosted by a woman who was outraged that I did not clap my hands in response to something that happened during a meeting. Read that again.
Okay. Let me break that last one down for you. Firstly, as a public official, I am well aware people observing me more than others, but never to this degree. Secondly, this woman assumed that me not clapping my hands meant something very specific she conjured up in her head. Thirdly, that woman was sitting behind me and was in a bad spot to view the actual golf clap I gave. Fourthly… really? This person was audibly and visibly angry. This person probably hates me. This person has been online defaming me… and her outrage is outrageous. Leaves me perplexed.
I have been learning how to encounter this outrage in a much more healthy way. However, it breaks my spirit to see how hateful and angry we are… and over what. Something truly virtuous? Ninety-nine percent… no. Most outrage today is founded in very little truth.
So we stop talking to each other.
We stop trusting each other.
Society fully breaks down.
This give me pause for some needed self reflection.
I will be meditating on these versus for my own sake the rest of 2018:
“1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” - Matthew 7:1-5