Monday, October 31, 2011

Raising awareness or Coarse Jesting?

Recently it seems that there are more and more people are signing on and joining in the effort to alert, educate, and raise funds to help support Breast Cancer Research.  That is 100% fantastic!  Breast Cancer is a serious problem and it does take the life of many many many women each year.  A little known fact, it actually does affect men as well.  Each year a small percentage of those who are diagnosed with and or die from Breast Cancer are men.  Women still make up the largest group of those affected by this awful cancer.

So it is good to give money to support the finding of a cure and it is good to raise awareness by informing others and educating people on how to keep watch over their bodies to watch for early signs of any problems.  In many cases, early detection is treatable.

That all being said, is it acceptable to use perverse double entendre and labeling it as 'raising awareness'?  I think that for Christians the answer must be emphatically NO!

However, no one seems to have a problem with the frequent and growing number of slogans and such that use such perverse language in order to tell people about Breast Cancer.  From bracelets that have "I ❤ (insert slang word for breasts here), to shirts that say "Save the (another slang word)." and the most recent one I've seen, "Save Second Base"; because "2nd Base" is slang for Breasts as well.

These slogans are recognized culturally as coarse slang words.  They are considered by most to be a bit filthy.  The intention of such slogans seems to be to illicit a smug laugh or some such reaction.  Are those types of things raising awareness?  I suppose you could make the argument that even someone complaining about it means that it has raised awareness and achieved there purpose.  Point well taken, but is it possible that the only thing that such perverse things are raising awareness of is pointing the minds of those bearing these slogans towards lustful thoughts?  Perhaps.

To continue using such perverse language simply because it is achieving the purpose of spreading awareness or to stop its use because some are using it as an opportunity to have lustful thoughts would be pragmatic at best in both cases.

So let us look to Scripture and find out what it has to say about perverse and coarse language such as the aforementioned slogans.

In Ephesians 5 we find Paul making a contrast while instructing Christians on how it is we are to walk.  He begins by instructing Christians to be "imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1).  He next says that we are to "walk in love" (Ephesians 5:2) and to illustrate that truth he points to the example of Christ (Ephesians 5:2) and that such imitation and manner of walking is a "fragrant offering and sacrifice to God".  In other words, it is this type of behavior that God expects and is pleased with from His children whom He's called to so conform to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-30).

Paul's contrast comes in verse 3-4.  We are, in contrast to proper walking, told that those in Christ are to abstain completely from "sexual immorality" and "impurity" and "covetousness" that such behaviors as a lifestyle should not even be named among us.  Because abstaining from such is proper conduct for the saints (Ephesians 5:3).

Verse 4 then lists more things that typify the behavior of the unconverted.  The Apostle says, "let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking" instead our speech should be "thanksgiving".  Filthy talk, foolish talk, crude joking.  Paul says that those are all "out of place" (Ephesians 5:4).

Then, in verse 5, there is a warning... not a warning of retribution for those practicing the crude behaviors, but rather an alert that those who are practicing those behaviors are not born again.  "For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." (Ephesians 5:5-6)

So left to itself, this is legalism.  It is law.  Do this... abstain from that... But it isn't left to itself.  Why is it important for Christians to follow God's Word verses the world's way of being coarse and crude?

In verses 7-8, Paul gives the indication that this isn't just a list of shalls and shall nots that we follow, they are the Gospel indicatives.  They are those things which typify those who have been born again by Christ!  Those who are now walking in the light.  The contrast is key in this passage.  We were "once darkness", past tense.  But now we are in the light and must, by result of regeneration, "walk in the light" (Ephesians 5:8).

Verse 9 says that the "fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true" (Ephesians 5:9).  In other words, the proof that you are born again is seen in bearing these characteristics that are not common to the natural man, but only common to one who is still dead in sin.

This should be a word of caution, for a person who finds themselves practicing and applauding and approving of such coarse jesting and crude language to examine their own hearts to see whether or not they are truly in the faith.  Whether or not they are truly born again (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Examine yourself.  Go through 1 John and see whether or not your life is bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:8).  Have you repented of your sin and trusted in Christ?  I'm not asking if you go to church or if you call yourself a Christian.  Many people do both those things and are no more saved than the Devil (James 2:19). 

Perhaps you've just never considered it.  Perhaps you just went along with wearing those crude slogans because you didn't give thought to how it might affect others.  Has it crossed your mind that it could possibly cause others to stumble?

Walk in the light, as Jesus is the Light (1 John 1:7).  If you find that you are offended by the command to pursue first the righteousness of God (Matthew 6:33), then could it be that your unwillingness to conform to Christ comes because you, in fact, don't know Christ?  I can't answer that question for you, all I can do is as I've done... which is to point you to Scripture concerning the matter...

So, support Breast Cancer, raise awareness for it, raise funds for it, find an appropriate way to give donations towards the furtherance of the research for a cure.  In addition, pray for those with Breast Cancer and pray for those who are seeking cures.

But put away the crude slogans.  The pink ribbon is well known enough and sufficient to help us to raise visual awareness and it doesn't have to be crude to accomplish this.  As for intellectual awareness, here is a site with facts on the subject.  Go there, educate yourself, and then get busy helping make others aware of the very real danger and importance of regular exams.

As for the condition of your soul... check out

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