CNLP 381: Scott Sauls and Sarah Anderson on Cancel Culture, Public Shaming and How to Find Common Ground with People You Disagree With

Cancel Culture has become such a big part of life and leadership, as have anger and outrage. How do you lead in that environment, and how do you respond to a culture that’s increasingly angry and unforgiving?

Authors Sarah Anderson (whose father ran for President) and Scott Sauls join the podcast to discuss the dynamics behind Cancel Culture, the problems with public shaming and how to find common ground with people you disagree with.

Welcome to Episode 381 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about five reasons that anger is a new epidemic.

Guest Links

Scott: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Sarah: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Episode Links

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The Space Between Us: How Jesus Teaches Us to Live Together When Politics and Religion Pull Us Apart by Sarah Bauer Anderson

A Gentle Answer by Scott Sauls

The Space Between Us: A Conversation on Politics and Religion with Sarah Anderson // Andy Stanley

The Social Dilemma

And Campaign

The Gottman Institute

Didn’t See It Coming by Carey Nieuwhof

CNLP 297: Gordon MacDonald Shares 8 Decades of Wisdom and Life Lessons, Father Wounds, the Dangers of Drivenness, Counselling a U.S. President, and What Leaders Struggle with Between Ages 32-42 and at Age 48 and Age 62

CNLP 366: Gordon MacDonald on The View from 80, 15 Life and Leadership Lessons After Eight Decades on the Planet

Why Do We Hate Each Other So Much? (5 Reasons Anger is the New Epidemic) by Carey Nieuwhof

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1. All generations have “caved to the culture” not just Millennials and Gen Z

Older Christians today are seeing many young people either leaving the faith, embracing the opposite political party, or both and assume that those young people have “caved to the culture.” But, Scott would point out that many older Christians “caved to the culture” of the blending of the Church and the Republican party.

In fact, one of the biggest reasons that the younger generation is leaving the faith is, “Because our parents’ and grandparents’ generation conflated their right-leaning politics with their faith.” So, how can we fix this? Well, you need to act and believe that you can learn from the opposite generation rather than cancelling them.

2. Outrage spreads faster than kindness online

If you’ve spent any amount of time online, you’ve likely noticed that the amount of outrage you see has increased exponentially over the last few years. Both Scott and Sarah point out that the rise of technology and social media have played a key role in the sudden increase, and it’s doing a lot of damage to public discourse.

While kindness and outrage are both contagious in-person, outrage seems to spread much faster than kindness online. If you want to combat this, do the heavy intellectual work to be an individual with individual thoughts on issues rather than agreeing with the mob of people you agree with online.

3. Cancel Culture is not the solution to an individual’s failures

One of the saddest realities of the internet is the rise of “Cancel Culture” where anyone who steps out of line because of one statement or action is automatically a terrible person who can never be redeemed. Andy Stanley puts it this way, “All it takes is saying five wrong words for me to completely undo everything I’ve built.” Sadly, Andy’s right.

So, what’s wrong with this reality? Isn’t it good to hold people accountable? Scott, Sarah and Carey all agree that holding people accountable privately is a good thing, but the kind of public accountability Cancel Culture imposes is a recipe for failure.

While it feels right to publicly punish those who sin and step out of line, this is the opposite of what Jesus did. Carey, Sarah and Scott would all say that if you don’t have a personal tie to the situation, you should think twice before posting about it online.

Quotes from Episode 381

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 381

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Next Episode: William Vanderbloemen

WIlliam Vanderbloemen thinks 2021 will be the year so many churches and organizations see much higher than normal turnover, and why it will happen. In addition, he shares future staffing trends, how to do succession well, and lessons he learned leading the search at Willow Creek.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 382.

CNLP 381: Scott Sauls and Sarah Anderson on Cancel Culture, Public Shaming and How to Find Common Ground with People You Disagree With


  1. Trent Raynard on July 13, 2021 at 7:20 am

    Hey Carey,

    I’ve been listening to your podcast for years and have been very encouraged and challenged by the guests you have had one and the topics that you have discussed. I was just listening to your episode with Scott Sauls and Sarah Anderson (I know, I’m very behind). I was drawn in and very intrigued by the intro where both of your guests spoke about the importance of people from different political views, generations, religious backgrounds, etc being able to sit down and talk with one another. What an important topic for our present world! However, I was very shocked to then hear you and your guests spend the next half hour criticizing the younger generation on a myriad of topics – cancel culture, safe spaces, civil discourse, social situations, parenting, etc. Quite frankly, I stopped the podcast at the 45 minute mark and could not continue listening. The whole thing sounded like grumpy Gen Xers complaining together about how things were better in their day and how things would never get better again until the youngin’s became more like you (the very thing that had been criticized in the first 15 minutes of the podcast). I certainly hope at some point (and perhaps you do in the future – again, I am quite behind) you bring on a younger guest to discuss similar topics in order to provide a different perspective on the ideas that were discussed in this episode. If not, I fear that all this episode accomplished was to make your listeners of a certain age/perspective feel like they have been in the right all along and don’t need to challenge their beliefs. Younger generations don’t just act in different ways than older ones, they have entirely different thought processes about the major issues of our time. Based on the conversation that I heard, it sounds like people in the church haven’t actually figured that out yet.

  2. Mark on November 27, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Disagreement with someone is not hate. This cannot be said strongly enough. Attempting to ruin someone’s professional life and harm their family because they don’t agree with you is sickening.

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