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Why I Wait A Day Before I Debate My Faith In The Public Square

On letting the dust settle.

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I could find no actual complaints about Starbucks from my friends. On the contrary, I saw many friends posting thoughtful response-to-the-outrage pieces. Like this one or this one or this one. I was encouraged but still baffled.

"I'm a Christian and I think this is absurd!" was the prevailing sentiment among my circles. It felt overblown. But I held my social media tongue for the day. And this is the rule that keeps me sane as a Christian on social media.

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Here are three compelling reasons to wait a day:

In this instance, it was a hugely viral video by Joshua Feuerstein that helped spread the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks. Joshua is an evangelist/commentator but also an expert at shareable publicity stunts.

He is one of several Christians with massive followings who play to the exaggerated fears of American Christians. These exaggerated fears are what Alan Noble calls "the evangelical persecution complex."

This latest stunt may seem strange, but this is the pattern. It's vintage persecution complex. And sadly these stunts do distract from actual persecution.

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Like Noble, Nate Pyle* observes that Christians today are anxious. I think it's the same basic anxiety that drives the outrage shares and the outraged-by-the-outrage shares. We hate to see our faith belittled and shamed.

*No relation, believe it or not

But looking back on it 24 hours later, this story seems less pressing. This is always the pattern with these mini-controversies. A day gives you time to settle your emotions. To pray.

We get frustrated when Christianity is painted with a broad brush by the media, but when a Christian leader paints another faith or group with a broad brush, do we accept it?

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These mini-controversies should drive us to understand the complexities of the other worldviews. If we want to be listened to, we must also listen.

I say all this because it's going to happen again. Another stunt. Another opportunity to get caught up in the rush. It is hard to resist when the debate is at a fever pitch. But just wait a day. Watch what happens.

It's only a day, but it'll give you a chance to break free from the relentless news cycle. Part of being prepared to answer for the hope we have is giving ourselves time to prepare. We can afford at least a day to think about it.

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