I read a fascinating question recently courtesy of author Andy Couch. He asked, “Are you more strident today than you were 10 years ago?” For the vast majority of respondents, the answer is “yes”.
Couch’s working hypothesis is that our stridency increased proportionally with the growth of social media and the algorithms that drive the various platforms – Facebook, Instagram, etc….. These algorithms assure the creation of ever-tighter echo chambers of thought.
What fellow-traveler hitches a ride, as it were, with this recent surge in stridency? Anger. Anger at “them”, anger growing from the easy demonization embedded in social media. With anger stoked, the whole concept of community and the social contract degrades.
Stridency however is far different from being grounded. A grounded life deeply embeds itself in humility, in timeless virtues, in God. It allows us to be us, and them to be them without the sharp, withering edges.
When we speak from that grounded place, words become powerful but not cutting, clear but not sarcastic, life giving not demeaning.
No better model of that than Jesus.