This past Sunday Ellen DeGeneres (an outspoken gay Hollywood liberal) sparked a Twitter tsunami when she was spotted at an NFL game sitting next to former president George W. Bush (an outspoken Republican conservative). For an incredibly divisive world that can’t imagine people on the opposite ends of the spectrum being civil or (gasp!) friends, the online outrage soon went viral.
This past Tuesday, Ellen responded on her show with a great monologue and a call to civility:
Here’s what the evangelical church can learn from Ellen DeGeneres:
“When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn’t matter.”
It sounds eerily similar to something Jesus Christ himself said:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Ellen DeGeneres stared down the left-wing Twitter mob in an appeal to kindness and civility. Among churches today, who is willing to stand up to the right-wing Pharisiacal religious mob in an appeal to love and grace? Instead of condemning entire portions of society to hell because of their political beliefs or sexual orientation, what would it look like if the church was known more for what we were for than what we were against?
Even amongst ourselves, is there a way to be civil when talking about those that don’t believe what we believe about spiritual gifts, predestination, the role of women in church leadership, among others? Is kindness a better witness than condemnation? The church can learn something from Ellen DeGeneres, (especially those who instantaneously want to condemn this post because it draws wisdom from someone far outside the conservative evangelical camp).