Thursday, March 09, 2006

Did He say what I think He said?!

Yesterday, I had a pretty interesting conversation with a girl on campus who belongs to a student group, "Students for Christian Values". We were discussing the performance of President Bush. For the record, this girl fervently supported Bush for his so-called "Christian and family values". I, on the other hand, think that he's a moron. During our discussion, I called him a "dumb shit" (I stole this line from one of my favorite movies ever, The Shawshank Redemption). Knowing that I’m a Christian, she quickly called me out on what I said. “Is that how Christians are supposed to act? Is that something that Jesus would say?”

Hmm...

Would Jesus ever call someone a " dumb shit?" Would He ever use cuss words? I’ll let that one marinate for a second…

That was a terrific question she asked me. “Is that something that Jesus would say?” This question ties in perfectly with the late-90's "WWJD" wave that struck our culture. My initial thought was, “Of course not! There’s no way that Jesus would ever use that kind of language. So, neither should I.” In fact, I still hold true to that philosophy. So, in that respect, yes; I was wrong for calling Bush a "dumb shit" (I guess I'm just as wrong for repeating it, right?!).

But after I thought about it for a moment, another question popped up in my head. I thought to myself, “Who cares?” There are people suffering all over the world. Children are dying from starvation every day. Women are getting abused at this very moment. There are far worse things that are happening in today's time. I know that this sounds like I’m justifying my wrongdoing. But, let me assure you, I’m not. Trust me. I’m going somewhere with this…

People who try to use their understanding of right and wrong to criticize others remind me of the devoutly religious folks of Jesus’ time. You know…the guys whose actions were based solely on following the Law word-for-word. So, from that end, I think that I could see Jesus using cuss words. But, here’s the catch: I think that if He did cuss, He’d do it directly at those religious folks. I think that He’d do it to radicalize the same laws that most religious folks use to tear down the very people that they should be trying to lift up.

Now, obviously I can only speculate what Jesus would really do. But, since the Gospel gives us a good indication of His demeanor, we can suspect how Jesus would respond to certain situations. The Bible reminds us that, despite his status as a rabbi, He broke numerous "laws"-- particularly those used to smack others over the head with. For instance, religious folks were more concerned about Jesus ‘breaking the law’ by healing on the Sabbath, than they were about human suffering. The truth is: Jesus didn’t need to heal on the Sabbath, but I think He intentionally did so to prove a point. I think that He deliberately broke the rules used by dominant religious figures so that He could create relationships with those who were considered “outcasts” of society. He ate with sinners. He spoke with the poor. He healed the sick. He cast demons from the “mentally challenged”. He was intimately involved with the very people who were excluded by the religious society for not obeying the Law. There's no question that Jesus used unconventional tactics to prove His point. So if using cuss words would awaken the religious community to the Spirit of the Law; as opposed to the specific rules of the Law, then I wouldn't be all that surprised if Jesus threw one out every now and then. In doing so, Jesus would’ve showed the Pharisees of the world that they were more concerned about following rules than they were about living in the Spirit.

The reality is, I seriously doubt that Jesus would rely on cussing to do His work. Not only is He a perfect being, but He is at a much higher level -- mentally and spiritually -- than we could ever be. However, since Jesus was known for shocking the uppity religious folks of His day, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if He flipped the script on them by calling them "dumb shits". Wouldn’t it be something to see how Jesus would suprise all those guys who thought that they had mastered the Law? It would show them that they’ve completely missed the spirit of the God through their exclusion of people who they have marginalized.

All of this from a few cuss words…

- ACL

21 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

joanne said...

Andre,

I have to weigh in on this one.

As you are well aware, your blog is one that I read all the time. You always challenge me to think about why I'm a Christian and you compel me to be a better person. I've been a huge fan of yours.

But I think you went too far this time. What are you trying to prove with this post...that you can cuss? I'm trying to understand where you're coming from, but you've totally lost me with this post. It seems like you're trying to be contrary just for the sake of being contrary.

Sure I agree that Jesus did shake up "religious" people. And I also agree that He was totally anti-establishment. But to suggest that Jesus would use sin (bad sin at that) to go against the grain is offensive to me as one of his followers.

Jesus was a pure person, even when He was tempted, provoked, angry, and saddened. He is God in human flesh. He would NEVER stoop as low as you are suggesting. He would never use the kind of language that you are promoting in this post. Not only that, but you used that language on several occasions in this post, not to mention in other places of your blog.

Though I love your blog, this post was a little disturbing.Please don't be offended. Just my thoughts...

Deb said...

Hello.

I'm new to your blog. Jo told me about this post and I had to stop by and read it for myself. After reading your post, I have to say that I totally agree with her. I won't try to do any convincing. Rather, I'll just let these scriptures speak for me:

"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not so to be. Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" James 3:10,11

"To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech." Proverbs 8:13

"For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak..." Psalm 59:12

"The wicked man's ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity..." Psalm 10:5,7

"For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak..." Psalm 59:12

"Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness...There is no fear of God before their eyes..." Romans 3:13,18

Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what all the fuss is about. I got a good cuss in yesterday. I accidentally kick my bare toe against the wall and shouted out the infamous f-word.

Sometimes, certain words mean more in certain situations. After all...they are just words.

Even Christians can cuss...

saved_sinner said...

I think that this was a great post. I tend to agree, Jesus might have cussed, seeing what some so-called Christians have done in the name of their righteousness.

Its a shame that some people get so caught up in judging others that they can't even hear what they say.

joanne said...

There is no way that you can justify using cuss words just because "you can".

The Bible says (from my student Bible) "Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, He is the one who has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption."

Ephesians 4:29-30

If the Bible gives us clear guidelines on what NOT to do, why would Jesus do it?

Don't try to justify your sins by convincing yourself that its common to do. This is a sad example of moral relativism. I think you should all pray about this one.

Andre said...

Wow! It appears that I've touched a few nerves with this one. And, to think: I JUST posted this!

At any rate, thanks to all of you for your comments. Let me try to address them:

@ joanne: Please don't think that I would ever be contrary just for the sake of being contrary. Now, I'll admit that I like to play Devil's Advocate sometimes, but this is not one of those times. I was just trying to make the people who read this stuff (all four of you) think 'outside of the box'. After all, Jesus did.

@ deb: Welcome to "Inside Andre's Head". I'm sorry that your first experience with me was a controversial one. But, I'm here to learn from others. I hope you are too.

@ anonymous: I understand where you're coming from, but I wouldn't try to justify cussing just because something bad happened. That wasn't the point I was trying to make.

@ everyone: I'm REALLY sorry that my language use was a stumbling block to making my point. I was simply trying to point out that that some folks are more concerned about what we say than what we do. Often times, we, as righteous and uppity Christians make the outside of our cups so clean that we completely neglect the inside of the cup.

My post wasn't really about Jesus cussing at folks. I was trying to say that the church often gets caught up in its appearance and misses the point of how shocking our Jesus can be. Jesus doesn't act in the way that the devoutly religious folks expect. Simply put: some peope are so focused on "right and wrong" that they neglect loving the outsider and outcast. It really had very little to do with cussing.

The Bible teaches us that "To fear the LORD is to hate evil." Well, let me ask you: What is more evil; cuss word or allowing people to starve to death? A cuss word or driving past homeless people on the way to church? A cuss word or excluding people from your 'inner circle? That was my point.

I hope that this helps clear the matter. Thanks again for all your comments and thoughts.

joanne said...

I get that. But no matter how you slice it, sin is sin. Just because cussing isn't as bad as some of the other things you mentioned doesn't mean that it's not wrong.

It's even worse to imply that Jesus would do it.

Andre said...

Let's try this again:

(1) Jesus would NOT cuss. I was ONLY pointing out that if people were using laws about cussing to persecute 'outsiders', Jesus would do something to bring these religious folks to bear.

(2) You're absolutely correct. Sin is sin. I'm just saying that we can't villify cussing while we pardon all the other sins in the world. You can't call someone out for using cuss words while there are MUCH greater wrongs and injustices going on in the world. The Pharisees did this and Jesus put them in their place.

Thanks again for your comments.

joanne said...

I think I understand where you're trying to go with this. But for future reference, I think you need to be careful how you make a point. You don't want your message to be lost behind some hyperbolic or strangely anecdotal statements. When you say that you could see Jesus cussing, that's the only thing that most people would pick up on. To expect them to understand the symbolism behind your writing is a hard thing to do.

Diane said...

Andre,

I found your blog by way of Yasser Rahman's blog.

I have to put in my 2 cents, for whatever it's worth. I see your point, but agree with the previous comments that, as Christians, we should not "cuss", and I don't think that Jesus, under any circumstances, used any language that would offend or bring reproach to Him.

Jesus tells us to be angry, and sin not,too, but I don't believe that I have ever accomplished that, either.

In my opinion, this is not a gray area: cursing is sin, and Jesus by the very nature of His teachings shocked all the scribes, Pharisees and Gentiles, without needing the shock factor of slang or foul language.

That said, I appreciate your point, but thought you could have stated it without using the words, just maybe said, foul language or curse words instead of spelling them out.

Thanks for making me think about how I feel about the matter, though, and making me pin down my beliefs. I appreciate the other commmentors, too.

My blog is rather tame compared to yours, but feel free to visit if you wish. I am 42, white, married female, and I live in Arkansas.

Joslyn said...

Blasphemous! Just Blasphemous!

Actually Andre, I’m serious this time.

It’s so funny; I just came up with this quote last week. “Please don’t let your Liberal views compromise your Christianity, and please don’t let your Republican views ruin your testimony.”

You see Andre, to even SUGGEST that the one who died for us, the one who loves us despite our raggedy selves, the highest of all, would lower himself to cussing to prove a point is simply unacceptable. See, to use cussing to prove a point is sarcasm. Jesus used parables. (Parable, as you know, is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning). Would a “heavenly meaning” contain cuss words?

In your replies you said

“1) Jesus would NOT cuss. I was ONLY pointing out that if people were using laws about cussing to persecute 'outsiders', Jesus would do something to bring these religious folks to bear.”

However, this is what you said in your post.

“The reality is, I seriously doubt that Jesus would rely on cussing to do His work."

In my view, the "reality" is that I seriously KNOW that you should not have even used that example with our Savior. If no one or nothing else is sacred than our heavenly Father, then who is? I'm with Joanne on this one. I agree with the over-all message but please don't become SOOO liberal in your views that you tear away from the integrity of our Heavnly Father. He is the Holiest of Holy....and cussing is the best example that you could give?

Love you though!!!!!!

Andre said...

@lenadiane

Hi Diane,

Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and, more importantly, by blessing me with your insight.

I totally agree with your sentiments, along with everyone else's. I will go on the record by saying that cursing is DEFINITELY wrong. All I'm saying is that Jesus often used unconventional methods to advance His ministry. To the more traditional and religious folks of His time, Jesus' methods were viewed as "wrong". Little did they realize that their perception of 'right and wrong' kept them from TRULY understanding God. If we use our definition of right and wrong to pound people over the head, then we're no better.

If, for instance, you decide to completely disassociate yourself from an abortionist because you believe that abortion is wrong, then you're not following Christ's way of love and acceptance. Basically, we need to step off of our pious soapboxes.

By the way, when you say that your blog is "tame", I hope you don't mean 'tame' like boring, dull, or insipid. I really enjoyed it. I'll have to visit more often!

Thanks again.

Andre said...

@ Jos: C'mon. Do you REALLY think that I would ever insinuate the Jesus would lower himself?!

Again, I'm only stating the a lot of the "wrong" things that Jesus did were actually a fulfillment of the Law.

Yes, Jesus expects for us to live according to His commandments. yes He expects us, as His followers, to disallow sin to capture our lives. But, I don't think that He is expecting us to live out His commandments just for the sake of doing it. He wants us to following His lead and understand the Spirit behind our actions.

For the record, I'm don't see Jesus as a "Liberal" (though some people would argue that). I see him as a radical visionary whose ideas, philosophies, and actions went against the uppity religious norms of the time.

Liberals suck...

Anonymous said...

I'm with most of the room on this on. I think that joslyn hit it when she said that this post was 'blasphemous'. If you wanted to personify Jesus using modern day scenarios then, I'm sorry, but you did a bad job.

Andre said...

OK. I'll try this AGAIN.

OK. My example wasn't the best one I could come up with but it's ONLY an example. I would NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, dare to insinuate that Jesus would cuss to prove a point. I'm ONLY saying that Jesus fulfilled the Law by doing things that people THOUGHT was wrong.

Forget about everything you just read in my blog for a second...

The theme of this post was that if we use our perception of right and wrong to persecute others (instead of uplifting them as Christ wants us to do), then we are no better than the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

That's it.

By the way, thanks for your comments -- as always.

kc said...

I don't know what impressed me more: your post or your defense in the comment section.

I also believe that Jesus was revolutionary who took a stand to challenge the established order of His day. He often did things that were threatening to religious folks. His ministry was not only action-based, but it was also spirit-led. He was a physician, ministering to the 'sick'; those who were scorned, indigent, and marginalized. He showed no shame in his work and refused to back down, even to the point of death.

I love your example. It's pretty powerful when you really think about it and get past the initial shock value of it. Good job!

Andre said...

@ kc: Thanks for blessing me with your insight. I couldn't agree more.

Joslyn said...

Okay Andre, I going to weigh in one last time and then I'll let it go.

1. Here's what you say in your post:

"So, from that end, I think that I could see Jesus using cuss words. But, here’s the catch: I think that if He did cuss, He’d do it directly at those religious folks."

Then, here's what you say in you coments:

"I would NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, dare to insinuate that Jesus would cuss to prove a point. "

Contradiction? I think so.

Andre, No one is arguing that Jesus used unconventional methods to prove a point, but your have a depiction of Jesus with a curse word coming out of His mouth on your page and then your post, well, you already know about that. It's just like the Bill Cosby example. You can take a prime steak, seasoned potatoes, and cheescake cooked to perfection. Go to your trash can take off the lid and put the food on the lid. Not so appetizing, right? Same here. Your message was lost in your delivery. The same way some street evangelist's can't deliver their message because they choose to scream scriptures and act "holier that thou" and make people feel horrible about scripture is paralled (albeit on the opposite end of the spectrum)to what you did. Okay I'm officially done.

I love Bill Cosby

Andre said...

@ Jos: I agree that delivery is an critical thing for a messenger to consider. That's why I was careful to use hypotheticals and, more importantly, to identify them as hypotheticals.

I don't see any contradictions to what I've said. I've ALWAYS maintained that the comments I used in my post were hypothetical. There's a HUGE different between a hypothetical and a blatant insinuation. Just because some people blur that line (i.e. when they say "I have a 'friend'..." when they're really talking about themselves) doesn't mean that I do. Rest assured, my hypotheticals ARE hypotheticals.

Yes. My example was waaaay out there. But, this particular post was dedicated to Christians who SHOULD know how to understand principles that go beyond our actions. I was not using this post as a ministering tool to the unsaved. I wouldn't dare use this type of "shock" element if I was trying to minister to someone who was unsaved. I was using this as a message to Christians who are called to think ABOVE AND BEYOND our conventional -- and limited -- understanding of how the Spirit works. To that end, I can't take all the blame here. As ministers (to an extent, we all have a ministry) it's not our job to sugarcoat things or, especially, not to water things down for believers. They should know better (I wish that "Johnita Moore" was reading this). I think this is why I'm not always critical of pastor for trying to 'get' people where they need to be spiritually. In the fifth chapter of Hebrews, the writer basically gripes about how Christians are not growing enough to understand complex issues in Christ. What we're doing instead is living off of "baby food". Through my illustration, I'm trying to show (and to understand, myself) the spirit behind Jesus' ministry, His fulfullment (not destruction) of God's commandments, and his compassion for those on the fringe of society.

If it came out wrong, I apologize.

But, at the same time, I challenge you to think ABOVE the 'example' you just read...

NMAMFQLMSH said...

Shit I cuss all the time and Shawshank Redemption is a fuck'n great movie.
I see you,
JJ

Andre said...

@ JJ: Uh...*ahem*...thanks...

Just foolin'.

But, seriously, the point of my post wasn't to express my approval for cussing. If anything, I think that cussing shows how intellectually short-changed we can be (no offense). Bill Cosby once said that people cuss because they can't find an intelligent word to use. I agree.

Please don't take that the wrong way. It's not a diss, I promise...