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Cancel Culture‚Äďand Constructive Conversations: Philip Yancey

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 29, 2024 5:15 am

Cancel Culture‚Äďand Constructive Conversations: Philip Yancey

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 29, 2024 5:15 am

Ever felt the pull of cancel culture? It's that moment when someone slips up, whether it's a tweet from a decade back or a recent slip of the tongue, and suddenly the online world comes together to unfollow, call out, and attack them. Author Philip Yancey promotes the idea of grace in this chaotic environment and explains the effects of cancel culture.

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Connect with Philip Yancey and catch more of their thoughts at

...And grab Philip Yancey's book, What's So Amazing About Grace in our shop.

Intrigued by today's episode? Think deeper about forgiveness by listening to Take Off, Put On: Forgiveness.

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Hey, before we get started, we've got a question for you. How can we pray for you?

I love this question. Because we talk about a lot of serious things here on Family Life today, and those details about our families, they often need our prayers. So can we pray for you?

We're serious. Yeah, so here's how you can let us know. Text FLT plus your prayer request to 80542 to let us know and it would be our privilege to pray for you. That's text FLT plus your prayer request to 80542.

We want to pray for you. Jesus was so clear. He said, whatever you do to the least of these, not the best of these, whatever you do to the least of these, you do it to me. And when you do that, this whole ranking thing that we're so good at, I'm more holy than you, I'm more strict, I'm more right, I'm more theological, whatever.

That's just so irrelevant. The question is, are you more loving? John, in his gospel describing Jesus said he came full of grace and truth. Truth, we've done a good job. We've worked out. I just wish we had a little bit of that same energy and passion toward being more grace-filled, grace dispensing than anybody else. Welcome to Family Life Today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

You can find us at This is Family Life Today. So recently, I sort of got attacked online by some people that I've been in relationship and ministry with over decades. And it wasn't to you personally, but it was on Facebook.

Yeah, I was just bringing up some things I had taught and how harmful it was. I was mad about it. Yeah, Ann got pretty bad about it. And then somebody highlighted me. They said, hey, have you seen what people are saying about? That was actually me.

I sent it to you. Maybe that wasn't a good thing. Anyway, it was typical cancel culture. And, you know, some people have been hurt. And here's the hardest part about it.

And we're bringing this up because we've got Philip Yancey in here, the grace man, you know, prolific author, and we've been talking with you the last couple days about what's so amazing about grace. And so here I am, sort of being canceled for something that for decades they appreciated. And now, I think, you know, as I'm reading this, I'm like, oh, there's some hurt there. So I text them. Personally. Personally. Like, guys, I'm not sure how I hurt you, but I have hurt you. Let's talk. I'd love to talk. You know, you can do this publicly for the world to read, if you want, but let's have a conversation.

No response. And more response online, just like, and it felt very ungraceful. And I was hurt. It stirred the pot, because then other people were texting him to say, this is terrible. I can't believe they're saying this about you.

But the beauty of it was, I thought that Dave's response was so grace filled. You're probably right. You know, I'm sure that I said some things back in the day. I wouldn't say it like that today. Yeah, I was trying to say it's a different day.

And even language is a little different the way we it was stuff on teaching on manhood. And anyway, I just tried to say, I'm sorry. And I'd love to have a conversation because I don't want to say I'm right.

I want to say, how did I hurt you? So the reason I bring that up is that's sort of the culture we're living in. I have just one symptom of that's happening every day times a million to a lot of us. And sometimes we're the ones saying things that are about other people. Sometimes we're the ones feeling attacked. So the question you, Phillip, you know, grace is so important in these days, but it's hard because that's almost an everyday occurrence in your life, my life, everybody's life.

So how do we model what's so amazing about grace in the day and age we live in? I'm really glad you brought that up. I've got an advantage as a journalist, because I have spent my life going around interviewing people who are not like me at all. And in some cases, I find offensive, you know? But I need to get them to talk. So if I go in with a chip on my shoulder and say, I can't believe you said this about blank, I can't get anything to write about. So I've got to be their friend.

I've got to use kind of that Colombo technique of drawing them out, you know? So what I've learned to do is say, okay, what I'd like you to do is put yourself in the shoes of somebody who really opposes you, like on the abortion issue. And could you explain if a person really believes this is a human being from conception on? Doesn't that matter?

Doesn't that count? And I said, let's not have an argument here, because nobody can solve this for everybody. But I would just like to hear you explain a difficult issue like that to someone who strongly disagrees with you. Have you ever considered their point of view?

Use a technique like that that kind of disarms, you're wrong, I'm right. But rather, I want to understand how you can come to that. This is hard for me to for a lot of people to understand. How can you come to that conclusion? That's just seems so strange to me.

Can you do that? And there are groups, as our culture goes more and more hostile and fractured, there are groups, there's one called Better Angels, it's a quote from Abraham Lincoln, Better Angels, where they intentionally get together people who are on the opposite sides of big issues like that. They don't talk to each other. There's a moderator, and they always have to say everything through the moderator. You know, Madam Moderator, my colleague or something, thinks this, whereas when I think about it, I see it a different way.

And it's the way Congress ought to work. Or they still do in Britain, you know, the House of Collins, they talk about my right honorable opponent, and then they cut them to shreds. We Christians should be leading the way in dealing with people that we don't, we can't figure out. Again, we've talked about how Jesus was among people who were so offensive to him. And yet, they were the ones who had flocked to him because they realized he'll give them a fair shake, he'll be compassionate, he'll listen to them, he'll care for them. And he's not going to change his own beliefs because of him.

But he is going to reach out in a welcoming, compassionate way. And our country is in bad, dire need of Christians who can live that out. You don't live it out by being around people who agree with you.

The only way you learn to do that is by being around people who disagree with you. And so I would really encourage Christians to not just have book groups with people from your church, but book groups. I'm a member of a book group. And the only thing that we have in common is that we all have a degree from the University of Chicago. And I'm sure they've googled me and looked me up saying, he's a Christian, can you believe this?

This guy's a Christian. And so we read these books together. And the things they come up with are things I would never have thought of. I can't believe you got that from that book. But I'm learning how they think and I'm learning how I can speak to them. And so I think the first step is just to be around people who are like you.

Let me ask you this, this is super practical. Let's say your family, you're all on different pages in all areas. Is it better not to talk about it? You know, they say don't bring up politics, don't bring up religion. Is it better not to talk about it?

Or if it comes up, could you say something like you're kind of giving us some instruction? Wow, you are super passionate about this. There must be a reason why you're super passionate about it. Do we ask those questions?

Or do we just avoid it? Because we know like there are big, big feelings and emotions with this. And I'm going to totally disagree in your family. Mm hmm. There are ways to express that.

I like the idea of, of saying, I don't agree with the solution that you that you think is important, or would work. But I really like this part of it. I like the fact that you care.

That's that's really important. And if you do that often enough, often suddenly you realize we have more in common in some ways. Yeah, I think a lot of what you're even doing right now, Phillip, is tone. I mean, I think that speaks volumes, how we have these conversations with people have different viewpoints. Just the way we talk about it. Are we yelling?

Are we throwing up walls between us? Are we graceful? And our tone, your tone is very grace giving.

You know, I'm not saying everybody has the same wiring and modeling. But I think we have to pray and ask God to give us the right tone when we have hard conversations, because you can say all the right words with the wrong tone, and it just pushes people away. But if you come at them with with grace, they feel loved, they feel seen, they feel heard, even though we totally disagree.

It feels like they experience grace. I think it's good like in a family situation get away with it. I think it's good to start by saying, okay, if we're going to talk about an issue about which we probably disagree, I think it's important that there are no winners. You're not going to convince me. You're not going to convince me and I'm not going to convince you. So I'm not going to try to convince you. And I asked you not to try to convince me. I just want to understand what you think.

And why? How? As you were talking, I thought, what was Jesus technique? Well, Jesus technique was to tell stories that would leave people scratching their heads saying, well, that sounded good. But what does that mean? How did that relate to my question? And then maybe years later, they think, Oh, I get it.

I get it. He was so wise like that. I never went through and counted. But Brennan Manning, an author, said that there were 183 times when people asked Jesus a direct question. You know how many times he gave them a direct answer? Three, he said.

That's what he said. He either told them a story or sometimes contradicted them or whatever. I mean, we're not as smart as Jesus, right?

There's no way. But when I look at how he defused those kind of situations, like the woman caught in the act of adultery, dragged into the temple, you know, here are these Pharisees, ready to kill her, kill her, kill her. Very tense scene. And Jesus completely defuses that just by turning around and says, well, okay, yeah, she should be killed. Whoever has never sinned casts the first stone.

Nevermind. Well, I'm thinking of the listener right now who's like, but they are wrong. You know, maybe not your family, but this issue, like we are in the right. They are in the wrong. What would you say to that person? Well, first, I would say you could well be right.

Let's assume they are wrong. How do you treat people who are wrong? And then, boy, just go to the Gospels and see how Jesus treated people who are wrong, dead wrong. Paul has a harder time, actually, when I look at kind of the feuds and the, oh, just the frustrations he has with people. Jesus loves being around people who are so different than he is. And, you know, one time I asked myself, Jesus was accused of kind of hanging out with the tax collectors and the sinners and not the Pharisees. Why did he hang out with tax collectors and sinners?

I don't think it was because, oh, I think I'm going to go evangelize today. I think it was because they knew how to enjoy life. And the Pharisees didn't.

They're going around comparing and judging and pronouncing. And these other guys are just enjoying. I understand why Jesus hung around with those people. He didn't leave them in their misery, but he started there because they were just more fun to be around, frankly. And he knew they were looking for something. Yeah.

He could tell that thirst was there. Yeah. But he loved them. He wasn't just trying to convert them, which I'd be like, let's go down into the streets and save everybody. He wanted to be hanging out with them. Right. Yeah.

I remember a guy early in my ministry years, you know, 40 years ago saying, you know, I think you like hanging around non-Christians more than you do Christians. And he was like, that was a judgment. I'm like, yes, that a bad thing? He's like, why?

And I'm like, they seem to be free. And it feels like I can't enjoy life. I'm always feeling judged. Like, what song did you listen to?

What kind of music do you like? It's like, they just sort of look at me and take me as I am. At the same time, I loved them. I really did love them.

You enjoyed them. I wanted to be the light around them, because I knew we said it yesterday, they're thirsty. They're really thirsty. And I'm actually drinking from the living water. And I want to show them that. But you know, you might recognize this quote, a famous author once said, the strongest argument in favor of grace is the alternative of world of ungrace.

That was you. And we're getting there very quickly, are we? But it really is, isn't it?

I mean, the argument for grace is, when you don't have it, when you don't live in it, it's horrible. And we are, I mean, literally, we are seeing that right around us. We're in a place of ungrace, not just in our country, but in our world.

That is a scary thing. And Christians should be, we really should be the light on a hill. We should be the lubricant of societies that says, let's separate, the issues are important, but they're not more important than the person. The person is the most important thing.

So I don't care what you believe about this issue or that issue. My job is to love you, to try to understand you, to treat you with dignity and compassion. I've got to do that. How do you think we change as people, as a church?

What's that look like? I find the churches who do that best are churches who follow Jesus' lead by going to the least of these. If you have an active prison ministry, if you work among the homeless, unhoused, if you spend time in a hospice, this whole, I'm better than you, doesn't apply anymore. When you hear their stories, you realize, yeah, they made a lot of mistakes and nobody has loved them. I'm going to love them. That's my job.

I'll go to people. And Jesus was so clear. He said, whatever you do to the least of these, not the best of these, whatever you do to the least of these, you do it to me. And Mother Teresa is an example of someone who took that literally and said, well, I'll find the least of the least and I'll treat them as if they were Jesus. And that's what she did. And when you do that, this whole ranking thing that we're so good at, I'm more holy than you, I'm more strict, I'm more right, I'm more theological, whatever. That's just so irrelevant.

The question is, are you more loving? John, in his gospel describing Jesus, said he came full of grace and truth. Truth, we've done a good job. We've worked out 45,000 denominations. Why?

Because there were only 44,999 and then somebody came up with more truth. I'm going to form my own denomination. I just wish we had a little bit of that same energy and passion toward being more grace-filled, grace dispensing than anybody else. I mean, is that an extension of sin? Of our nature that we're always going to lean toward?

I've got the truth, you don't. I've got to convince you, I've got to judge you, rather than, our nature's not that. Our nature is judge. God's got to supernaturally change that to be the heart of Jesus.

I think you're right. And I think part of it is, I don't know if it's Western culture or what, but we're so, we're into the head rather than the heart. And Jesus starts with the heart, goes right to the heart. How do you feel? Where are you really? Where's your soul? Have you ticked off all the right theological boxes? But have you shown the fruit of the Spirit? Have you connected with the Spirit? Have you spent time with the Father in prayer?

Those are the real questions. Not, did you believe this particular aspect of this particular part of theology? Yeah. It's funny, I was recalling, you know, we all have marking moments in our lives that we will never forget. And I'm friends with Ms. Nana, who had a ministry in downtown Detroit. She'd just take her white van down.

Everybody knew it in the streets. And she would take sack lunches and just put bags of food, makeup, toilet paper, feminine needs. And when she'd go down the street, and I've gone down there with her many times, you pull up to the curb and I'd be in the passenger seat. She said, your job is to say, how can I pray for you tonight?

I was scared to death. And people start coming. And they're like, oh, Ms. Donna, will you pray for me?

My 11 year old daughter was raped at school today. And so I'm praying over this woman. And so I decided to take some of the Detroit Lion's wives downtown with me and with Ms. Donna. And so we go downtown, we're in this van and they are so nervous. Ms. Donna is, we're in this van, we're driving, she's driving. She goes, we're going to go to the biggest crack house in Detroit right now. And I can hear this, you know, it's one girl in the back, she's 21. She goes, where did she say we were going?

Because at that time, Detroit had a bad reputation too. And we're in the roughest part. We have all this makeup, a lot of the wives donate a lot of these things. And she said, this is also known as the block of trans. All these people are mostly trans and this is where they live. And so we get out of the car and these, everyone's so nervous. And all these women, men, they're all flocking around the van because there's makeup. And it's very awkward.

It's very awkward. And then the owner of the crack house comes out. So we've probably got 12 people and Ms. Donna says, hey, let's all gather in a circle and we want to pray for you. And I say to this woman that I'm discipling, Lakeisha, Lakeisha, will you pray for us? And she gives me this look like, what am I going to pray for? And so we're all holding hands and she starts this prayer that is so powerful. Father God, thank you for every person in this circle. It made me cry even when she was praying, but she got back in the van. She goes, am I supposed to pray that God blesses their hands and their work?

Like what am I supposed to pray? But I felt in that moment, like this is where we're supposed to be. These are the people we're supposed to love. They probably each have such a story to tell. I know some of their stories and they are horrific. And I think about Jesus knowing all of our stories and he offers grace every single time. I would hope that my kids and my grandkids get to experience that kind of thing. That's where Jesus walked and whew, it is scary. It feels so awkward.

I don't know what to do or say. And I wish we as a church would expose ourselves to loving people in the way that Ms. Donna has over the years. You have so many of those stories in your book too. I was just going through of so many stories of you talking about grace.

Yeah. I mean, just picking up the book to read those stories. I mean, your chapter, Grace Healed Eyes.

That's what I just heard. See these people with grace healed eyes. They're image bearers. They're beautiful. Philip, I look at you like, man, this guy's got it. He's a grace giver. But when I read at the beginning of your book how you are a racist, like what? God has so transformed you.

You're right. And I don't take credit for that. I was loved by the woman who became my wife that helped a lot of the healing. And I've been so blessed by God. It goes back to that time in that dorm room, that prayer meeting where I went in thinking I was so sophisticated and smart compared to these other kids. And I walked out crawling. I had a glimpse of who I am.

But God doesn't leave you there. He gives you a glimpse of who you could be as well. Oh, that's good.

Sometimes it takes a long time. I thought it was so great to be with Philip Mianzi and to watch your face. Why? Because he's just always been this hero to you, especially because he writes about some of the things you have struggled with. I think he's a deep well.

Me too. There is so much wisdom in that man's heart. I just cry the whole time he talks because he's talking about the amazing grace of God.

Yeah. And I never thought I'd sit across the table from Philip Mianzi reading Disappointment with God thousands of years ago, it feels like. And now talking to him today about what's so amazing about grace. Both those books and others have literally changed my life.

Yeah, I know they have. And I'm guessing that they've changed your life as well. And, you know, sitting with Philip Mianzi again today reminded me of what sort of our theme for the year is, Psalm 34, taste and see that the Lord is good.

Even as you talk about disappointment with God, or you talk about how amazing his grace is, you're reminded he is a good, good God. And let me just say thank you as well to you to help us do what we do, to put Family Life Today on the radio and on podcasts. It's because you donate and give the family life.

And some of you don't even know that's a possibility. We can't do what we do without financial donations from partners like you. So jump in and become a partner with us. Go to You can sign up there and help programs like this keep coming to you and to your friends.

That's right, Dave's absolutely right. And the uniqueness of becoming a partner with us this month, in fact, there's only just a few days left in the month of May, is the fact that every dollar given this month is going to be matched dollar for dollar up to $550,000. We're a donor supported ministry, and we rely on situations like this month in order to keep valuable programming coming to your ears all the time.

And so we'd love it if you'd hop in. Again, the website that Dave mentioned was, or you could find a link to it in the show notes, or you could just give us a call and become a partner at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. By the way, I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Philip Yancey on Family Life Today. Hasn't the last three days just been absolutely incredible? I know Dave and Ann were gushing there at the end, but it's so easy to do that with someone like Philip Yancey. He has been such an incredible gift of God's grace to us here at Family Life Today, and he's actually written a book called What's So Amazing About Grace?

Maybe he wouldn't call himself the amazing part of grace, but he has been to us. If you'd like to pick up a copy of Philip's book, you can head over to and request your copy there, or you can give us a call at 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Now, coming up tomorrow, we're going to talk about stepfamilies, specifically stepmoms, navigating Mother's Day and the challenges that happen with that when it comes to expectations for you as a mom, the kids that are involved, the husbands that are involved, and finding worth in faith amidst complexities of being a step parent. That's all going to be happening tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-29 08:19:32 / 2024-05-29 08:30:04 / 11

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