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  • Writer's pictureJohn Stackhouse

Keeping Relationships in an “Unfriending” World

Perhaps you can help me with this.

I’m trying to decide whether to find a new mechanic for my car. The problem with my current mechanic is not, I should say, mechanical. He seems to be able to figure out quickly what’s wrong with my car. He fixes it properly. And he charges a fair price.

Yes, that sounds good, and it is, but what about this? I noticed a calendar on the wall of his shop the last time I was in, and I was shocked to see that it is from the Pepsi-Cola company.

Well, I used to drink Pepsi, sure. All of us make mistakes when we’re young. But I’ve drunk nothing but fine Coca-Cola products ever since I got married. When you’re an adult, you make adult choices.

So should I cut this guy loose and find a more dependable mechanic?

You’re looking at me funny. Okay, then, how about this other decision I have to make?

The pastor of the church I’ve been attending seems like a good guy. His sermons are wise and funny in appropriate measure. His theology seems orthodox and sincere. He gave very good counsel to one of our kids in a difficult time. And his wife and children seem like pretty nice people, too.

But here’s the thing: He likes baseball. I mean, he’s a nut about it. Talks about it whenever he can, goes to big-league games whenever he can afford it, wears his favourite team’s cap all the time. He’s a super-fan.

I know better. Baseball is a great excuse to sit with a buddy in the sunshine and drink and eat and jaw for two hours or more. And, maybe once or twice a game, baseball offers an interesting few moments of actual sport. But to go crazy over it seems to me to be, in a word, crazy.

So should I switch churches?

Perhaps you don’t yet see the force of these ethical and relational quandaries. Yet all over our society, people are “unfriending” and “blocking” and otherwise virtually killing off other people because, while they otherwise like and respect them, those people support a different political party, or hold different views about global climate change, or are on the wrong side of immigration policy, or are more/less tolerant of one or another LGBTQ+ issue than they ought to be.

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