Today is Valentine’s Day and also Ash Wednesday. I went to church because my grandfather was delivering the sermon at the noon mass today. He is retired as a Reverend Canon, but on occasion he will speak to the congregation. The sermon itself was quite interesting because I find it to be relevant to some issues happening in the world today: Virtue Signaling and Outrage Culture.
Now technically, me talking about Ash Wednesday to begin with is a form of Virtue Signaling to begin with and I will keep my thoughts brief. However, I did want to share my takeaway from the sermon as it relates to what I see. First, Jesus’ teachings talk about how being overtly pious or virtuous for the sake of acknowledgement doesn’t reward us in the long run. Think about it: don’t we know at least one person whether public or private who behaves this way? It’s not to say that they don’t do good things, but it’s almost as if doing the good things to be recognized, only fuels their ego and comes off as not genuine. (I know of a handful of famous people in my industry who behave this way, but I won’t name them.) I think that has to wear on the psyche over time. Because if you have one slip-up of just being human, it’s far too easy to get torn down for it. Which is why, even though I’m perfectly guilty of being a Virtue Signaler, I’m also guilty of being a Hot Mess too. Balance is key.
Second, Outrage Culture. I’m definitely part of the pitchfork mob of Outrage Culture. Many of us are, and we have gotten to the point where even simple human error is grounds for a shunning. With that said, there are plenty of people who do horrible things, NO EXCEPTIONS. The real question is, how can we make corrections to the bad behavior, without turning bad ourselves? Because one day, that same hammer is going to fall on our heads and we won’t have anyone to blame but ourselves.