An article from Breitbart.com titled, Candace Cameron Bure Unfollows ‘Full House’ Costar Jodie Sweetin, Queer Teen Sensation JoJo Siwa amid ‘Traditional Marriage’ Comment Uproar was top of my Facebook feed the other day. The article opened like this:
Actress Candace Cameron Bure has unfollowed her friend and former costar Jodie Sweetin over an apparent dispute over Bure’s recent comments outlining her plans to work with a network that solely depicts “traditional marriage.”
The pair first met in the mid-1980s when they appeared together as sisters on ABC’s hit sitcom Full House. Years later they reprised their roles on Netflix’s Fuller House and kept a very public friendship – before and after their time on screen.
Now a very public split has opened. As Breitbart News reported, the former Hallmark Channel star has revealed her new TV network will focus on “traditional marriage,” as opposed to gay couples, in its Christmas movies.
You can imagine the outcry on Twitter and other platforms regarding Bure’s intention to emphasize traditional marriage. Her friend Jodie Sweetin was appalled. And JoJo Siwa shared a pic and wrote on Instagram:
“Honestly, I can’t believe after everything that went down just a few months ago, that she would not only create a movie with intention of excluding LGBTQIA+, but then also talk about it in the press.”
The actual article was a bit thin – mostly just clickbait – but the message was that Bure, an openly-professing Christian who espouses and embraces traditional biblical values, unfollowed the two people attacking her, one of them a longtime friend and coworker.
Meanwhile, over on Twitter, Shonda Rhimes, Toni Braxton, and Sara Bereilles joined the blue checks exiting Twitter since Elon Musk took control of the medium. (I am sorry. I only recognize one of those names.) Nine Inch Nails singer Trent Reznor said he was quitting Twitter to protect his “mental health.” This was a reaction to Elon reinstating Trump’s account.
I don’t doubt the mental health of the entire world might benefit by disconnecting from Twitter…and Facebook…and Instagram…and TikTok…and…and…and..
The idea, however, that you check out and head for a safe space whenever you are forced to see that not everyone shares your values, ideals, or vision for America is dangerous.
The Vitriolic Payday – click-baiters and pot-stirrers profit from our fear and loathing.
As a conservative, I see it every day, especially on Facebook, which remains my Social Media platform of choice because, I don’t know, I’m a Boomer. Conservative pages that range from personality accounts to “news” sources daily feed me heaping helpings of fear and loathing. All the news is bad news and threats to freedom, faith, and family everywhere.
The more you consume a thing on social media, or online in general, the more you are fed of that very thing. I found myself in a constant state of upset, mental anguish, and turmoil. I read a few articles with similar themes, articles meant to play on my conservative bent, and pretty soon, I was seeing hardly anything else on my feed. My Facebook friends were outnumbered two-to-one at least. Their posts and updates took a backseat to the hair-on-fire, end-of-world screaming.
I imagine that those on the opposite end of the political/philosophical/spiritual spectrum are fueled the same way by the entities they align with. I don’t imagine it, actually. I know it. The results are vitriol, paranoia, anger, depression, and aggressive behavior towards anyone and everyone expressing anything with which you disagree.
The Right accuses the Left of being snowflakes, too delicate to be exposed to ideas that they do not espouse. The Left accuses the Right of being radicalized. Each says the other is dangerous and unAmerican. Each side retreats further and further into the embrace of those who profit from the fearmongering.
The result is Cancel Culture. That, and a payday for those stirring the pot.
Jesus canceled cancel culture and look at the result.
Where are the solutions? Where are the answers? Name-calling. Finger-pointing. Character assassination. That’s all we got? This social incestuous cesspool? Is that the best we can do?
I do not know about the other side, but those who claim Christ as their Light and Leader can do better. He was not about cancellation, but conversion. He did not isolate, he invested. He was not afraid to be exposed to the ideas and thoughts of others. He changed minds by changing hearts.
Yes, I know. Jesus also experienced the ultimate in cancel culture. They tried to cancel him by Crucifixion. It looked for all the world that they succeeded. He was silenced. He was gone. His followers were in disarray, hiding, fearing for their lives, and thinking about going back to the way things were before Jesus. For three long, miserable days, the other side celebrated their victory.
It didn’t last, though, did it? Here we are, two millennia removed and the Jesus movement is alive and thriving all over the world. Those 12 committed followers, regathered, reenergized, and recommitted, did not withdraw into the comfort of their own shells. They spread the Good News.
Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.
A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.
But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.
Acts8:4-8 (The Holy Bible, New Living Translation)
Some were killed. Others had to flee for their lives. They did not, however, go into a shell. They kept investing. They kept spreading Good News, good vibes…the Jesus message. Cancellations led to conversions.
The end result? Today, millions of churches dot the globe in Jesus’ name. Billions of people profess to be Christians. Hospitals, charities, shelters, and parachurch organizations work in Jesus’ name.
This was not accomplished in an echo chamber. Those early Christians put themselves in harm’s way but they did no harm along the way. I am not saying they never called a spade a spade. I am saying that, by and large, they spoke the truth in love.
Investment means risk but without it there is no reward.
The surest way to keep your enemy your enemy is to attack. But what if you embrace the person without espousing the position? What if you return kindness rather than insults? What if you do the Jesus thing? It will mean exposure and vulnerability. You may get hurt. But you will do no harm and you may never know the extent of the good that comes from your investment. Do you think Philip and Stephen (a martyr) and the rest of the first-generation church had any real idea of the lasting impact they would make on the world?
Do the good you can. Give the love you have. Come out of your isolation but remain insulated by faith and wisdom. Let God sort out the results.
May I leave you with a little Solomonic wisdom?
It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.
If you repay good with evil,
evil will never leave your house.
Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate,
so stop before a dispute breaks out.
My name is Gene Strother and this is Wednesday Noon.