I saw a meme on Facebook this morning with this quote. It’s a quote from Lisa Bevere’s book, Adamant. I have not read the book, and Amazon describes it this way: “Lisa Bevere calls readers to stand firm in Christ in a world of constantly shifting values.”
So be adamant about your values. Don’t shift with cultural whims or flights of fancy. Be true to yourself. And all that. Check!
But there’s still no denying my objection to this statement:
What You Refuse To Address, You Endorse.Lisa Bevere
Look at the life of Jesus. If anyone should be emulated, it was Jesus. Did HE address every issue and topic? Did he even answer direct controversial questions? Seems to me he most often answered direct questions with stories that left most people wondering what he meant. If anything, Jesus was both loving and mysterious.
We know there’s no record of him ever addressing the blight of slavery, the burden of authoritarian Roman rule, or just about any kind of politics or political structures. In fact, Jesus was very non-political and had very few soapboxes.
In 2019, I imagine Jesus would not be hashing out the argument for or against a woman’s right to choose or gay marriage. He would be walking through town, looking people in the eyes, telling them of God’s love for them, and healing their sicknesses and injuries.
This quote by Lisa Bevere is a statement that SOUNDS true, and it contains a shaming, manipulative element which drives people to speak up about issues they’ve left unaddressed.
But does refusing to address a topic equal endorsement?
I suspect no. I suspect the truth is far more complicated. I suspect that each person’s gifting, talents, and calling are most effective and useful in the world when each person stays in their lane. I’m not attempting to define what anyone else’s lane is, but there are certainly issues and entire geographic regions that you and I do not have authority or gifting to oversee.
Ask Gary Vaynerchuk. When a person tries to be “well balanced” or focuses on shoring up their weaknesses, they fail to excel and master their talents. Talents become skills through focus and determination and perseverance. A doctor doesn’t become a world-renowned specialist by attending all the rallies and charity functions and fundraisers and marches for cures. He or she specializes by eliminating noise and saying “No!” to far more things than they say “Yes!” to.
Think about the implications of speaking up about every issue
You only have so much time, energy, and talent. How you spend that time determines who you become. A person well-versed on every issue who takes the time to speak up about them is a person who has diluted their focus away from a single expertise.
If you know all the details of the struggles and plights of the people suffering in Rwanda, Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, Iraq, etc., are you equally well-versed in the struggles and plights of your state, your county, your city, and your neighborhood? Have you spoken up about the injustice of your neighbor’s yard being vandalized by local teens?
What about the elderly woman who has trouble safely crossing the street to reach her mailbox during traffic? Or the kids who can’t afford lunch at school? Or the kids who never get tutored and aren’t learning to read? What about the homeless? What about child trafficking? What about predatory lending? What about Ponzi schemes? What about eminent domain?
What about water pollution, oil spills, forest fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, sinkholes, domestic abuse, racial inequality, gender inequality, workplace discrimination, pestilence, drought, malnutrition, global warming, political scandal, insider trading, etc, etc?
Each person will pick and choose the causes that affect them most or that spark a fire without much dedication or focus. And perhaps some people, like the specialized experts of the world, specialize in knowing a little bit about everything. The Jack of All Trades, if you were.
That is a role in society that some people have. But just like a brain surgeon shouldn’t shame everyone for specializing in surgeries that could save lives, cultural commentators shouldn’t shame everyone for delving into every topic imaginable and vocalizing their opinions.
There are presidents, CFOs, COOs, managers, supervisors, worker bees, specialists, commentators, athletes, performers, and many other roles in society. No single role or its rules fits society as a whole.
This is in no way an opinion about the whole of Lisa Bevere’s work or any of her books. I haven’t read them. But taking that quote and stating it across the board as a truth is dangerous. It implies a demand upon every person’s time and energy and specialty that many or most cannot live up to. And none of us wants or needs more shame or failure to meet expectations in our lives.