Light Magazine Issue

Why Can't We Get Along?

Christian Kindness in Divided Times

Dec 27, 2019

Volume 5, Issue 2 - "Why Can't We Get Along?"

Letter from the Editor

A few months ago I received a surprising email. The writer was apologizing for approaching me on Easter Sunday in 2016 over some political disagreements. She was a relative of a family in our church and had eagerly told me how wrong I was after she found out what I did for a living. 

The conversation had been a bit awkward as I listened to her heated opinions while I waited for our kids to chase pastel eggs on our church lawn. But I’d largely forgot this episode. 

Three years later, she wrote to me, remorseful for the way she had allowed politics to overtake her. In the years since that confrontation, she read some of my work, followed me on Twitter (!), and came to appreciate my ideas. I was quick to forgive and also apologized for the way that my own political opinions, expressed online during that heated season and in other forums, had often poisoned discourse among believers. 

I have been thinking about this whole episode quite a bit as we prepare this issue for publication. Civility is a buzz word these days as an exhausted electorate wearily stumbles toward another national election. And Christians—those who are charged with both declaring the truth and cultivating kindness—are, sadly, among the worst when it comes to civil discourse. This issue will explore why that is. 

We feature important new research about evangelicals and civility as well as essays from leading evangelical voices such as Andrew T. Walker, Trillia Newbell, and Russell Moore. We also feature the example of Prison Fellowship and civility in action across party lines and an interview with Josh Deckard and Michael Wear about their experiences in the White House. 

Of course, the first place we should begin is our own behavior. We need to look at our own hearts, listen to what we say, and watch what we type. Maybe we even begin by doing what seems hardest, what this lady who sent me the letter had the courage to do: say sorry. In a digital age, we have quick and easy access to shouting across our divides, but we can also just as quickly express remorse when our fingers have gotten ahead of our brains. 

So I hope this issue is a blessing to you. It’s a discussion among friends about ways we can do better at being kind. How can we stand up for the vulnerable, share the gospel, and defend the truth in a way that is distinctly Christian? Our prayer is that the words in this magazine ignite a conversation for a better way forward. 

- Daniel Darling, Editor

Download the PDF