How easily are you offended?
Are you like the students at the University of Missouri (and other universities) who demanded an “offense-free zone”—a place on campus where their tender sensibilities are protected? Or can you handle a bit of mud coming your way?
Everyone is so concerned about avoiding offense, that political correctness has reached new heights. In the land of the free, we’ve lost the freedom to have a differing opinion.
Political correctness isn’t a new concept, but it’s no longer enough to avoid racial epithets, assumptions about gender, or non-inclusive language. Now we have something called “microaggression.” These are “offensive” phrases that indicate subconscious racism, such as “Where are you from?” or “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” The University of California has a long list of such phrases, which the faculty has been instructed to avoid.
Apparently, there are also environmental microaggressions, such as naming college buildings after wealthy white males. The implied message is that if you aren’t a wealthy white male, you won’t succeed on this campus. (I had a lot of classmates—female, minority, and/or from a poor family—who thoroughly disproved this idea.)
I have no desire to offend anyone. In fact, I suffer from an extreme case of “don’t rock the boat.” (Does that make me differently-abled?) But it seems to me that we’re taking things a bit too far. The world doesn’t cater to thin-skinned, easily offended wimps.
If you find that you need to toughen your hide a bit, I have the perfect cure.
If you’re older (age challenged?) and have been a Christian for a long time, you may remember a Christian satire magazine called the Wittenburg Door. (You can see their static website here.) They excelled at taking hilarious, but well-deserved pot shots at the Christian establishment. No one was immune; they were equal opportunity offenders.
Last month, Pete and I stumbled across the Babylon Bee, a new website in the same style as the venerable Door. Like the Door, they poke fun at everyone—as I write this, their collection of articles insults celebrities ranging from Trump and Clinton to Mark Driscoll and John Hagee. No matter who you like and who you don’t, you’ll find articles to delight you and articles that will utterly offend you.
To give you a sample of recent posts:
- Pastor Composes Entire Sermon From Chris Tomlin Songs
- Jaws Of Life Needed To Remove Worship Leader’s Skinny Jeans
- Almighty Scrambles To Throw Together Apocalypse Before Next Blood Moon
and speaking of being offended…
Are you upset yet?
Jesus didn’t worry overmuch about offending people (especially the Pharisees—see Matthew 12:10-14). He was more interested in the truth. Check out the end of John 6, where he tells his followers that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood:
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” [italics mine]
Moreover, humor is an effective way to point out areas where we are failing as a church. The writers and editors at the Babylon Bee aren’t just funny. They’re pointing out ungodly attitudes and heresies. Of course, they don’t hit a home run every time. Some articles are better than others; some they should probably have trashed. Still, most of their topics concern issues that the church needs to address.
In this day of thought police and hypersensitivity to offensive language, we need to intentionally practice the fine art of self-deprecation. Not that we aren’t priceless creations intensely beloved by God, but that we need to lighten up and take ourselves a bit less seriously. We need to laugh at ourselves. Go read the Babylon Bee. Remember, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”