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19: Competing tribes and troubled community


Competing tribes and troubled community

with Michael Jensen and Megan Powell du Toit

Competing tribes and troubled communities. Is there a way to overcome our divisions?

For arguments sake: where we take a debate, cut out the party politics and try to talk it out

Can we (Christians, that is!) do politics without being partisan? There’s been a storm since Australians discovered the outcome of the Federal election, particularly within the Aussie Christian community. Some Christians seem unable to believe that there are others of their faith who would have voted the opposite of them. And because the outcome of the election was so unexpected, there was a lot of “unvarnished” gut reactions on social media.

Megan and Michael discuss whether it’s possible to remain a ‘Christian community’ when we are so tribalised. And what part should prayer play when it comes to praying for our leaders, especially for those with whom we strongly disagree?

Both Megan and Michael agree that Christians don’t need to be apolitical. We are told to have a drive for justice. But how can we do it better? Megan suggests acknowledging real emotions on either side is a good place to start. The pair candidly share how they personally voted, discussing the reasons for their choice and try to model how to respectfully disagree on political priorities while holding to core truths of the gospel.

Also mentioned in this segment:

Discomfort Zone: ever think someone might think differently if they step outside their comfort zone? This is where we make the other do just that.

Michael gets to choose the book this episode and it is … The Second Mountain: The quest for the moral life by David Brooks. Brooks is a Canadian-born American centre-right political and cultural commentator who writes for The New York Times.

Everybody tells you to live for a cause larger than yourself, but how exactly do you do it? Brooks explores what it takes to lead a meaningful life in a self-centred world.

Megan says she certainly wouldn’t have read the book had Michael not suggested it. But she really liked it. “It’s like the book that I would have written if I was a conservative dude,” she says jokingly. But Brooks’ emphasis on joy and community also captured her attention.

Michael says he sees this book as one that he can use in pastoring people, especially those in their 40s who are looking to disentangle from their individualism and look to something greater.

In his book, Brooks argues that such individualism makes people so disconnected that they flock to their “tribe”, and contributes to the ‘us’ and ‘them’ issues we have in politics.

Read more on Christian discussion of David Brook’s book:

Marg and Dave: reviews from two people obsessed by stories, but not always the same ones.

We’re looking at Derry Girls this week. You can watch the first season on Netflix.

Derry Girls is a comedy set in Derry, Northern Ireland. It’s about the lives of ordinary people living under the spectre of the Troubles in the early nineties, all seen through the eyes of 16 year old Erin and her friends. Writer Lisa McGee bases the story on her own experiences of growing up in Northern Ireland as a normal sixteen year old girl amidst civil conflict.

How does a community with those deep divisions go about living in it?


Less aggro, more conversation.

Is it even possible to have a deep discussion without it descending into chaos? Michael Jensen and Megan Powell du Toit think yes, and want to show the rest of us how to do it.

There’s plenty of things they disagree on: free will, feminism, where you should send your kids to school and what type of church you should go to. But there are also plenty of other things that they have in common. They want to talk about all these things with conviction. But they also want the conversation to be constructive. Tune in to find out if that’s possible.





Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. At the end of each season we dedicate an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for?
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