-Pastor Melissa Fain-
For years now, I’ve been vocally against cancel culture. It usually destroys a person that no longer exists (by seeking decades old Tweets and posts to find something inflammatory when that person wouldn’t do or say anything like that today). The event in question often lacks context to the culture and existing conditions surrounding the event itself. In a world where many are talking about restorative justice over retributive justice, we have no problem using the later to cut someone out, not restore or fix who they are.
I believe this is because, our culture drools at the opportunity to watch someone implode and destruct.
We can’t get literal death. We can’t force two people to fight it out in a large arena, but we can watch a figurative death through canceling.
What was the Roman Arena?
The Roman arena was the method for the government to focus the people’s bloodlust on something other than the government. “Justice” was the codeword to make the carnage make sense. Consider it, dying with a reason. It was justified to pit former soldiers against one another, because they would have been killed on the battlefield anyway, and they lost. It was justified to throw a bunch of Christians against a bunch of lions, because it was illegal to not worship a Roman god.
Oh, the people loved it! They needed a reason to enjoy the ripping of flesh; the gushing of fluids. They wanted, while not wanting to admit they wanted it without a “justifiable” reason.
Meanwhile, the Roman government was made to look like the arbiters of justice. The people being brutally killed had it coming, and it was simply Rome putting their comeuppance in one centralized location.
Cancel Culture has failed
The justification for Cancel Culture was simple: It’s a way to take down big voices who can’t be taken down any other way. In many ways, it was the corporation itself that was the target, not the people working for it. The people working for those corporations were used to hit the bigger target.
Only, systems adjust. When the same formula is used time and time again, it becomes easier to shift away.
At this point, we don’t care whether cancelling actually does anything for the broader culture. We just want to grab our popcorn and watch. It’s far more entertaining than the movies that are out right now. We want to put a little flame under them and see how they react! Are they going to pull someone down with them? Will there be blood?! What are they going to say? We don’t want the ones who accept their castration with grace and say the codewords to exit the arena. That’s no fun at all! We want the ones who keeps us on the edge of our seat as we gleefully watch a total personal meltdown!
In that way, cancelling was dead on arrival.
When looking at the purpose of cancelling, the ability to really hit big targets, it is decomposing in a ditch on the side of the road.
None of that really matters to most. We must say we’re wanting the justice, because otherwise we just must be honest that we’re after the carnage. Don’t tell us the justice is no longer there or wasn’t there to begin with- then we must admit we are animals.
And then there is the church...
I’m more than a little irate that churches feel they’ve got this internet ministry down with a snazzy livecast. Good for you! You can make 20-60 minutes look and sound pleasing to the eye. /s
Meanwhile, you are deep into the cancelling game. You are one of the big targets a growing number of former congregants are attempting to hit. You are so afraid of Christ’s death, you put a scapegoat in the target and “survive,” allowing the scapegoat to take the bullet.
Ministry was never about HOW you do things, but WHAT you are doing.
So many churches have absolutely no understanding of the culture outside their building. Meanwhile, the churches want to evangelize outside their building like the inside is the outside. The best definition I’ve ever gotten for evangelism is this:
Evangelism is finding God in the community and showing that to the people.
More than anything, if you want to live, like really live, you need to take the bullet and trust God is on the other side of it. Stop playing the same corporate game and giving the popcorn eaters fodder. If that last sentence doesn’t make sense to you- well, that’s because you don’t know the culture you are trying to reach. Like I already said, like I’ve been saying for nearly a decade.
For some reading on Roman Arenas and martyrs, click link: