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Swearing isn’t bad?!?

Posted on : 02-21-2006 | By : Andy | In : religion


Today I read a post by a youth pastor (Matt Schultz) about 5 things we tell youth that we shouldn’t. The first four were OK points, (maybe I wasn’t totally in accord with all of them, but at least I could see where he was coming from, and couldn’t too much harm in his claims.)

Then I hit #5.

I’m sorry, but I gotta disagree with him. Quite frankly, I’m appalled at this statement, and I can’t just be quiet about it, especially after our Bible Study examined the responsibility of the church to hold its members accountable to their profession of faith. (1 Cor 5)

The fifth thing he’s telling us that we should not teach our youth is that “SWEAR WORDS ARE BAD.” He claims:

Scripture does tell us to use our words wisely and not to harm people. But it does not specify a vocabulary. The word “suck,” when used by teenagers in particular, carries with it no harmful intent other than to characterize something as sub-par (i.e., ‘I suck at baseball’). Other words are used equally as casually. If the word is not used to hurt, then I believe we should turn a deaf ear.

Are you kidding me, Mr Schultz? Are you even kidding me?!? Maybe he got too carried away with a more “complex thinking and interpretation” of Ephesians Chapter 4-5. I guess the whole part about “no unwholesome talk” and this little matter in Chapter 5 of:

(1)Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children (2)and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (3)But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (4)Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (5)For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] (6)Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (7)Therefore do not be partners with them.

Now I don’t claim to be perfect, nor that I’ve never partaken in coarse joking. I also agree with him in regard to the word “suck”–it holds none of the meaning it may have held 20 or 30 years ago. I remember the first time my mom ever over-reacted to it, and I was left wondering “what’s wrong with that word, and what does she think that it means?”

However, we must not encourage our youth to take a trivial view of holiness. If using the F-bomb can get a movie rated “R” by a very liberal society, it is evidently still a sign of impurity/coarseness/vulgarity, and there is no way that its use could be received by God as a fragrant offering. We should be looking for ways to encourage young people to try and exemplify holiness, not trying to make excuses for their straying towards sin. While we should not excommunicate a youth for letting a vulgarity slip, we should definitely teach them that such behavior is not ideal, and ultimately leads to greater and greater compromise.

I’m sure that the Corinthian individual in 1 Cor 5 didn’t jump into bed with his father’s wife the day after Paul left, but rather a culture developed that kept allowing more and more questionable, then sinful behavior.

My biggest problem, though, is lightheartedrded way the people throw around “Oh my god!” “good god!” and “Christ!” Even if you can try to talk your way around the pretty stringent guidelines Paul lays out, you can’t deny the commandment in Exodus 20:7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (or if you prefer KJV, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”)

Get a clue, Mr. Schultz. The last the God wants is for us to water down his Character until being a Christian is a comfortable transition from being in the world. We are to be “set apart,” not one of the gang. I hate have to be so vehement about this–if there’s anything God is serious about, it’s his Name, his Holiness, and his People: let us encourage his People to properly reflect his Holiness, and revere and bring honor to his Name.

Let us not fall into a trap that we’ve been warned of in Romans 1:

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. (29)They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, (30)slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; (31)they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (32)Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

The Da Vinci Code (The Neglectful Blogger Returns)

Posted on : 02-17-2006 | By : Andy | In : pop culture, random


Yes, it’s been a frightening eight days since I last blogged! My deepest apologies. I was going to blog on Monday, after reading “The Da Vinci Code,” but Lisa distracted me. So here I am….the Da Vinci Code.

I was intrigued by the book, and couldn’t help but turn the pages for almost a straight day as I tore through it. At first the whole “worship woman” motif was a little annoying, but it soon became downright obnoxious, then nauseating. I couldn’t believe how much “factual” or “historical” information that Dan Brown put in there that was ridiculously speculative or downright false.

If you really want to know which facts I’m referring to, read here, and here, and here. There’s too many to enumerate them all, but most shocking is the glaring issue of the introductory “Fact” about the Priory of Sion that come on the first page before chapter 1. It’s simply not true. The whole rest of the book never claims to veracity, but the one part that claims to actually be true is a lie.

The saddest part is how many people have questioned the historical facts that they have always firmly believed because of a preposterously fictional book with no true academic scholarship behind it. …sigh…

Musings on will power, literature, and such

Posted on : 02-09-2006 | By : Andy | In : random


This morning I did not get up and swim. Usually, Thursdays are my favorite swimming day, because most people take that day off, so I get a nice serene pool. But I found that when the alarm went off, I was still tired, with a headache, and absolutely no desire to get out of bed. So I went back to sleep.

Last night I started reading Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses.” It’s the book that got him the death sentance from the Shah of Iran. (A $1.5 million bounty was on his head) So far, I’m unimpressed. I loved “Haroun and the Sea of Stories,” but this one is just to weird for me. I doubt I’ll finish it, which is saying something. (The last book I read that I didn’t finish was probably “Desiring God” by John Piper–three years ago)

All of this could probably be summarized by saying “I’m starting to feel depressed again.”

Funny how that works.

Showing contempt for kindness?

Posted on : 02-08-2006 | By : Andy | In : religion


Lisa told me to make sure that I didn’t miss Romans 2:3-4 this week. We’re studying kindness this week, and she’s been impressed by how much more complex it is than she originally imagined. I checked out the verses, and here’s what I found:

It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. It was his kindness that made redemption possible. It was his kindness that spared Noah and his family from the flood. It is his kindness that doesn’t punish us all right now for our numerous sins.

We, on the other hand, are quick to judge others. The music they listen to, the movies they watch, the fact that they smoke, or drink, their tattoos, length of hair, accent, color of skin, nation of origin, denominational affiliation, political alignment–all these are things that affect the way we treat others, what we think about them, and often, how much slack we cut them-how kind and gracious we are to them.

When we pass judgment on others, when we fail to pass on God’s kindness, we “show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience.” (v4) Today, ask God for perspective on what He’s done for you. You’ll find it much easier to be kind in return to others.

It’s my birthday today…and I have to be kind?

Posted on : 02-07-2006 | By : Andy | In : random


Yes, this week is kindness. (The 5th fruit of the Spirit) I had some great thoughts yesterday about how kindness is not always appreciated, and sometimes even persecuted, as we see in the life of Jesus and the Apostles. But I neglected to write them down, and they’re gone.

On a different note, birthdays are a funny thing. Sometimes you wake up excited, on top of the world, and everyone treats you as such. And other times (ie, today) you have a hard time rolling out of bed, your morning exercise is extremely difficult, and you get to work tired. I sure hope things improve. (I’m sure they will)

Today I’m looking forward to having lunch out, leaving work at 5:00 (not a minute later!), and sitting down to a dinner of Lasagna and devil’s food cake, followed by a nice lazy couple hours with my wife watching Smallville and NCIS. I’ll probably get a few phone calls right during the most exciting parts of those shows, but I won’t mind too much, since it means I’m being remembered. Yeah, today is definitely looking up.

What’s your idea of the perfectly relaxing birthday?

Church, the Super Bowl, and KU Jayhawks Basketball

Posted on : 02-05-2006 | By : Andy | In : random


Church this morning was singularly uninspiring. My wife and I were wondering what the cause was–were too many people thinking about Super Bowl parties? Was it that the worship band didn’t help to inspire an atmosphere of worship? Was it a cheesy “inspirational” video crammed into communion? Sometimes, we wish we were part of a smaller church with a pastor and worship leader who, while maybe not as polished or professional, would be a little more passionate about what they’re doing…

Well, anyways, I was uninspired…until I got home and sat down for the KU game–something I’ve been looking forward to all week. They don’t televise my alma mater so much out here in Ohio on network television, and since we only have lifeline cable (~15 channels), I take what I can get. Wow, what a game.

We edged out Oklahoma in a nailbiter. We were down by 9 in the first half, came back to a three point deficit at halftime, and then plummeted to a 16 point difference by midway through the second half due to sloppy play, bad rebounds, and a ton of turnovers. Then, Rush led the Hawks on an incredible run that left the Sooners on their heels, and we ended up winning by 1 point on a missed buzzer-beater by OU.

And that was my excitement for the day. I’ll probably sleep through half of the Super Bowl, because honestly, I could care less who wins. I know, living in NE Ohio, Browns country, I should be rooting against the Steelers, but I like controversy, so…I’ll probably root for them. I do hope the game is close though, so you can enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the Jayhawks game this afternoon!