Posted by: pastortomvabeach | May 30, 2018

Thought for the Week June 3, 2018

In Virginia, it looks like we went from semi-winter to full blown summer in a week. While April posted the coldest average temperatures on record, May is getting close to posting the warmest averages on record. Many here can’t wait for summer to come since our fair city earns the bulk of its tourist income between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you have ever been to the ocean front in Virginia Beach, I wonder if you noticed the signs on light posts by the curb with something like, X#&?!$, enclosed in a red circle with a line through it, basically saying, “Curb your profanity!” Our city posted those signs many years ago because they believe a family friendly environment in good for tourists and businesses alike and I agree.

A few months ago, Dr. Michael Brown wrote an article, Sorry, But Profanity is Still Profane, which articulated some of my feelings about this topic. I want to share some excerpts with you.

Dr Brown said, “Go ahead and call me a prude. Label me as puritanical if you like, an old-fashioned Bible-thumper, a fossil, an antique. Bring on all the insults you can muster. Say what you will. I still believe profanity is profane. I still believe that certain words should not be used in everyday, public discourse. I still believe that higher standards of communication correlate with higher standards of behavior. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

“To be sure, I believe that a cutting remark or a harsh insult can do more damage than dropping the F-bomb. And I understand that, in the course of life, people will speak freely, and for many, that means using profanity. I’m certainly not advocating a snowflake mentality. If you say one word that I find offensive, I won’t melt. Not at all. I’m simply talking about standards. About being honorable. About reducing the amount of profanity and vulgarity that has become so pervasive in articles and headlines and tweets and posts. Am I crazy to feel this way?

“A few years back (I can’t remember exactly when), I was listening to sports radio in my car when I noticed the host using the A-word a lot, something that struck me as odd. Was this always legal, or was it a more recent development? Not long after that, I heard the same word used repeatedly on a sports-related show on TV. For me, this didn’t enhance the shows or increase my esteem for the hosts. Not long after that, I began seeing the S-word in online sports columns and articles. ‘When did that happen?’ I wondered. Now…Cinema Blend reported, ‘Saturday Night Live Dropped An F-Bomb And An S-Bomb On NBC Censors.’ Will this somehow make us better as a people, as we cast off restraint and speak our minds? Or will this contribute to the vulgarizing of our culture? I say the latter.

“And while our communication has been getting more profane, it has also become much more explicit sexually. It’s not enough to report that a woman alleges that a famous man assaulted her. We must hear the details of what they did and how they did it. In the past, such salacious reports would have been found in the crassest tabloids, if not porn magazines. Today, they’re part of our daily news intake.

“Surely, this is hurting us more than helping us. Surely, we do better to leave certain things unsaid. (For the record, I’m glad that this epidemic of sexploitation is getting exposed. I’m simply questioning whether the general public needs to know every detail.)

“But it’s not only a matter of words. It’s a matter of images as well. Again, I can’t place the year, but I remember seeing a picture of someone nude from the back, posted on a normal news site. I was shocked. When did this become legal? And as the years go on, it seems more and more flesh is being exposed. Do I believe that there are other issues far more important than exposing too much flesh? Of course I do. But that doesn’t mean we ignore the profaning and downgrading of our culture. And how in the world are we going to win the war against the sexploitation of women when their nearly-naked bodies are displayed online for the world to see, virtually 24/7 (and with their consent, at that)?

“There is something positive to decorum, to etiquette, to modesty. And that’s why in public, certain behavior is deemed unacceptable. You can’t go walking down the streets of your city naked (at least, not in most cities in America). You can’t sit in a restaurant and shout out F-bombs without being asked to be quiet or to leave. In many jobs, you can’t show up to work out of uniform. In other jobs, you can’t show up dressed immodestly. Why? Workplace decorum. Workplace standards. Workplace integrity. These things matter. Is there no place for this online and in the media?

“Certainly, I don’t think the solution to this problem is forcing behavioral ethics on everyone. And again, there are far worse problems than too much profanity and too much nudity in the media and online (how about the way people savage each other online). I’m simply saying that less profanity and less nudity is better than more profanity and more nudity. And since everything reproduces after its own nature, I’m concerned to see where we might be headed next. Am I the only one who feels this way?

As for fellow-followers of Jesus, here’s the gold standard for us: Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. For know and recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God. (Ephesians 5:1-5, CSB)

“Maybe we can’t stop the world around us from being worldly, but we can certainly step higher ourselves. Our calling is not to join in the ever-encroaching darkness. It’s to shine brightly like lights.”

Please note that I didn’t include everything Dr. Brown said in his article. The parts I included are common sense thoughts every Christian ought to ask regarding our witness to the world in which we live. How are we to show the world that Jesus offers something different if we speak in the same vulgar ways the world speaks? In my life, I have often heard people ask or demand that others watch their language when they were using profanity but I have never heard someone call someone out for not speaking that way. Someone once asked, “Would you want your grandma to hear you talking like that?” What about Jesus. He hears every word we say. Just a thought.

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