Engaging Culture

The Destructive Power of Bubbles and Why You Need to Break Out

Bubbles happen when you create a world where you spend most of your time, and then assume everyone thinks like you. And every group has bubbles: Hollywood, the Church, media elites, politicians, athletes, the gay community, and hundreds more.  I work in Hollywood and know people who can’t imagine why anyone could possibly be conservative about anything.  They are liberal, and think the world evolves around them. The same is true for other bubbles. Because they associate with the same people, speak the same language, experience the same lifestyle, they assume everyone else must live like them.

But they don’t.

That’s the danger of bubbles. You lose touch with reality. Hillary Clinton has spent most of her adult life living off taxpayers, and hasn’t driven a car since 1996.  A rich friend of mine can’t imagine actually buying clothes off the rack. A Christian friend can’t explain why anyone would watch an R rated movie. A gay person has no context for why anyone would oppose gay marriage.

Think about it.  What bubble do you live in?

Bubbles are ultimately destructive because they shield us from the reality of the world. They keep us from understanding how other people think. Bubbles create intolerance and build walls.

So get out. Take a risk. Start a conversation outside the bubble and see what happens.

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  1. Bingo! I’m a pastor who lives in a bubble. I have tried to get outside my bubble, but need to come up with a crafty answer to “so, what do you do for a living?” You are right here Phil.

  2. Spot on. The Church bubble is one of the worst — so self-approving and so incomprehensible to the rest of the world that few people outside it can understand anyone in it and see no reason why they’d ever want to enter it.

  3. BILL the cycle guy: Your job DOES put you in a bubble by others…who think “Pastor-Preacher-Church!” Try this; I teach and communicate the
    plan of creator God who formed the universes from the beginning of time to eternity… expressing His love to all mankind!

  4. Great article. So the question(this is not an accusation, I really want to know) is,Phil how do you keep yourself outside your bubble? Also other readers(me too!!) how do you keep yourself outside the bubble?

    1. Great question. I just returned from a week at the Sundance Film Festival which is a pretty edgy and thought provoking event. We also do projects outside the normal nonprofit or Christian space. Most important, I have close friends who could not be more different than me politically, spiritually, or otherwise. Also – I travel – a lot. Seeing the world from a different perspective makes a huge difference.

        1. In teaching overseas I have to look through the eyes of the learners, which forces me out of my “normal” bubble. Learning to see through the eyes, as best as possible, helps. Take any church service and act as though you know nothing, then listen to the “bubble” words and you may see why not-yet-believers do not come more often.

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