S3E7: Christians in the Public Square

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Summary

How should Christians leverage their voices and influence in public life? Can we use social media without being jerks on Twitter? Dustin talks with a panel of media and communications experts to explore the challenges of life and work in the public square.

Highlights

On journalism as a calling:

“All the reporters that I work with are really driven–Christian or not–by the work that we do. And we really see it as a public service; in order to be fighting the fight for journalism, you really have to be in it for that calling or passion…It can be really difficult and if you don’t have that motivation behind it, it would be hard to keep going.” –Angela Evans

On “superficial” journalism:

“I think homes for Christians are gifts and tools, and so I try explicitly and implicitly convey the life behind a home and the value of hospitality. I think so much of what we talk about as the contentiousness in the public sphere is countered [by] inviting someone to your home and sharing it. And I think it’s really hard to yell about economics or politics over a stack of meatballs.” –Hilary Oswald

On hospitality as a way to build bridges:

“‘God is where all the beautiful things come from,’ as C. S. Lewis said…when we turn chaos into order, when we invest in beauty, we reflect a little bit of who God is. We’re image bearers. I think when we share that with other people, we end up loving them well. My home is not a fancy home, but it’s a home that I invest in because people live there. We open it up often. Hospitality is a gift to the giver too and I think anytime that we can point people to beauty and make them feel comfortable in it, we have a little lens into what God is like.” –Hilary Oswald

On power and agency:

“When I look at the life of Christ, his whole life was one of giving up power in many ways. And what he ultimately did for us was really relinquishing power and then regaining it in a different way…So I really view power as something that is important obviously to the human kind of condition and the way to improve our lives and it has to be shared. And if it’s not, it will be very destructive.” –Linda Olsen

“[Jesus] not only gave up his power for the vulnerable, the weak, the marginalized, he drew people’s attention to those communities and he highlighted them in a way that popular culture wasn’t…Whether it’s immigration or homelessness, sometimes the environment, being able to be that voice for the people who really don’t have a voice…” –Angela Evans

On getting public engagement wrong:

“I’ve gotten very angry. I’ve tried to sort of shed light on them in a way that isn’t really shedding light. It’s making me feel better about my righteousness in this. And so I have had to really rethink how I respond to what I consider to be really raw, terrible comments from people who claim to be Christians and evangelical Christians at that. So that’s been the hardest part for me in this job.” –Linda Olsen

Resources

Check out our latest course at Scatter.org, Faithful Public Engagement.

Take a look at our photos from “Faith in the Public Square.”

Download the episode transcript.

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