Everybody I Know
I just finished watching a morning talk show where they were discussing Donald Trump and his press conference yesterday in which he called reporters “sleazy” and “dishonest.” The press conference itself, and I only saw clips of it, did seem very contentious.
There were seven members of the media on the talk show and six were sure that this “performance” by Trump was the last straw; that now the American people would see he doesn’t have the temperament to be President and would abandon him. The one holdout agreed that Trump’s attitude was a disgrace but thought that it would not hurt Trump. The insinuation in her dissent was that people who like Trump are stupid so they will ignore the conference or even applaud it.
This came on the heels of a barbeque I was at on Memorial Day where I found myself with a number of pro-Trump people and, in listening to them, I easily picked up the message that they distrusted or even hated the media so, this morning, I found myself thinking that the commentators clearly didn’t grasp how distrusted the media is in many quarters.
The whole thing is an example of the “everybody I know” syndrome that is widespread in our land. The media pundits clearly hang out with other pundits and politicians and are sure that, since everybody they know agrees with them, that this must mean everybody agrees with them.
We all have the ever increasing tendency to hang out with and be influenced by people who already agree with us. As an evangelical Christian it is easy for me to talk to people, hear sermons, read articles and commentaries of people who all believe the same thing. I’ve a few friends who regularly send me articles from commentators that, wonder of wonders, support the very things those friends hold dear. To avoid living entirely in the evangelical bubble world takes effort; you have to make a point to seek out and consider other points of view.
To be sure, this is true of almost anybody but it is evangelicals that I worry about. We take up causes and support ideas that we are sure that “everybody” either agrees with us or at the very least can easily be persuaded to support because of our compelling arguments. We are then mystified and eventually hurt when we find that is not the case. We can end up thinking those who differ with us are evil, selfish or deluded.
This bothers me because we, alone among the various “everybody I know” tribes, firmly believe that God wants us to reach out to the “everybodys” that are really out there and we can’t do it well until we avoid the group-think trap. Yet, oddly, we warn each other about the danger of actually listening to and considering those who differ. My prayer today is that we not be like the media pundits this morning who nodded wisely when the others said the things they already believed.