Contempt and Kindness in the Kingdom of God

Picking up on the theme from last week, Dan and Rachael have a fiercely honest and grief-filled conversation about the influence of polarization, idolatry, and the prevalence of fear in both the United States and our own hearts. We must consider what it means for us as Christ-followers to live out the kingdom of God not only today but in each and every day that comes.


“We’re living in a polarized era that is only getting worse. Dehumanization, where we see our opponent not as an opponent but not just as wrong but evil, there is a spirit of vilification and it seems to create a context in which language is actually endorsing if not justifying violence. We’re talking about an era that seems to be aroused by a paranoid narrative that rejects any other perspective and cuts off any meaningful listening or conversation while feeding the soul with rage.” Dr. Dan Allender

“Words matter, they hold power, they hold weight, we don’t talk about Jesus as the word of God, we don’t talk about creation as being spoken into existence as though we think words are just words and it doesn’t really matter.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“To bridge the divide there has to be a capacity to see each other’s faces again. I think, at least what I’m seeing […] is their fear has been so exploited by a strongman, exploited and stoked and then told there are only a few people you can trust. Not only are we falling into polarization we have leaders from the top reinforcing this and setting themselves up as the only truth-tellers, I would say even above and beyond God.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“We are living in a sea of rage and it’s functioning in a way in which rage helps us dispel fear, it keeps us from having to enter grief on our own and other people’s hearts, and it does allow us at least for a period, to be shameless.” Dr. Dan Allender

“If we are not disturbed and afraid, we are not engaged with life, yet how do we hold our fear and honor one another? How do we enter grief where we can barely have the time to own how sad we are when so much is being required?” Dr. Dan Allender

“We need a rescue and redemption from demonic structures that are inviting us to deface, dehumanize, and fear each other in a way that leads to violence. The kingdom of God invites us to refuse to indulge contempt because we know true power comes from Christ, from vulnerability.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“We’re not pretending that we think one side has an unbiased and absolute hold of the truth. We can’t come to the truth without a kind of communion of conflict that engages the presumptions we’ve often made and don’t often face at the level that we need to in order to expose more of our idolatry. We are not to bind ourselves to the weapons of this world.” Dr. Dan Allender