Just Getting a Drink

A recent jag in the feminist jihad has to do with what they are pleased to call microaggressions — what Jonah Goldberg recently worried might become nanoaggressions. So let’s talk about all that for a microbit.

Conservatives will frequently make merry about this kind of fevered brow behavior, assuming that these women’s-study-center-people have utterly lost it. Those who talk about microaggressions all the time must be doing so because of their microminds. But this goes wide of the mark by a good distance. What these people are doing to us is intelligent, rule-guided behavior. They are doing it because they are getting something important they want from it. Let me tell you a parable:

Once there was a game of pick-up basketball, and there were two teams — red shirts and blue shirts. The red shirts were from red states and the blue shirts were from blue states. With me so far?

Beyond the basic rules of the game, the blue shirts had only two requirements. The first was that they needed to be allowed to ref the game as well as play it, and the second requirement was that if anybody on the red team questioned any call, it was an automatic technical, and they had to go sit on the racist bench, or on the misogynist bench, depending on which eyebrow they had raised in protest.

At first the game looked kind of normal. But as time went on, the calls started getting more and more outlandish. First the blue players would flop when there was just slight contact, then when there was no contact at all, and finally they commenced to flopping whenever a red player came within three feet of them. Bam. Right on the back, and one of the others would always call it. Charging! Of course, there were some protests, and thus it was that the red state bench started accumulating a bad reputation for racism and misogyny. I mean, look at all of them sitting there. Such a poor testimony.

As I said earlier, some of the guys on the red player bench started joking amongst themselves about how stupid it all was. But then they started getting charged for micro-charging from the bench, and were made to sit on another bench behind the first one.
Pretty soon everybody was used to this system, and when a hot-headed player started to argue, or even looked like he was thinking about arguing a call, all the evangelicals in the bleachers behind him would start hissing at him. “Tesssstimony! Tessssssstimony! Sssssit down!” Most of the time he would.

In the off-season, lots of evangelicals from the bleachers would attend conferences dedicated to the question of why we were losing so many basketball games. They could actually fill arenas for such conferences, with about ten times more attendees than would show up for the basketball games themselves, and the registrations cost about five times more than the basketball tickets did.

Nevertheless, the consensus among the players remained that this whole set up was really stupid — they would talk about it in the locker room afterwards. This was the only place they were still allowed to talk about anything, and that was probably coming to an end by the next season as well. But in their remaining time, in order to make themselves feel better, they would complain bitterly about what morons the blue players were being.

But one day a new guy on the team decided to ask a question, one that seemed obvious to him anyway. “Why are they the morons?”

“What do you mean?” somebody else asked.

“I mean they are getting everything they want, they win every game, they make us conform to stupid and inane requirements, our own fans police those requirements for them, and we all go along with it. So I would ask again, why are they the morons?”

I interrupt this instructive parable to note that the word moron is no doubt considered offensive by some, and that three blue players are flat on their backs, and that one of them is clutching his ankle and making a lot of noise. On top of that, I am refusing to go to the bench, and I refuse to apologize. In addition, ascending to my personal zenith of irreverence, I refuse to apologize for any earlier expressions like lesbyterians, gaystapo, or that heretofore unremarked illage vidiots in the sidebar to the right.

This is not, incidentally, because I am a verbal sociopath. I was taught by my mother and father back in the Eisenhower years not to call people certain names, and to this day I honor the law of my mother (Prov. 1:8). Invective, scurrility and abuse are not my bag. But my mother also knew that actual charging was when you lowered your head and ran into a guy. I believe that our speech should be gracious, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6), and that Christian discipleship that does not extend to the tongue, pen, and keyboard is a worthless discipleship (Jas. 1:26).

So I do believe in rules for polemical discourse. I believe that a biblical approach to it allows us to hit hard, and above the belt. But God defines for us where the belt is. What I do not believe in is the insane practice of putting the definitions of appropriate discourse in the hands of people who believe that every woman has an ongoing constitutional right to a childectomy, whenever she decides undertake the procedure. In his fine book, Rules for Patriots, Steve Deace rightly says that we should never accept the premise of our adversary’s argument. In this case, the premise I am rejecting is that those people have any grasp whatever of what appropriate discourse is. They don’t know what the womb is for, they don’t know what the anus is for, and they don’t know what liberty is for. But they do know what a red-shirted basketball player is for — somebody to call fouls on.

So we answer to God for our words, and He has set the standard of what constitutes appropriate discourse for us in Scripture. He has not put the bedwetters in charge of whether we are being gracious or not.

Okay then. I interrupt this line of reasoning to acknowledge that children who struggle with bedwetting have enough troubles without me making fun of them, so I am taking care not to do that. I am actually making fun of those adults who sneak down the hall at 2 in the morning for a glass of water to pour on their beds so that they can pretend to be actual bedwetters, in order to be able to shriek at me for being so insensitive. So I am not talking about real people with real problems who need real compassion. Telling a story about a boy who cried wolf did not make Aesop a hater of genuine wolf-warnings.

I am talking about those posers and hypocrites who have assumed a complete and preening authority over the public lexicon as an essential step in their drive to control all thought by controlling all language. These people are Orwellian in their up-is-down newspeak, and so I always want to have on hand a suitable Orwellian response. George Orwell once said that `whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie.” But if you are the kind of evangelical who objects to the custard pie, and not to the overweening and arrogant tyranny-speak that was so rudely interrupted by that custard pie, then congratulations, you are the problem. Just go sit in the bleachers on the other side now and get it over with.

Jesus was not polite. One time He offended the lawyers (Luke 11:45), and when they protested it He took the occasion to multiply the offense in their eyes. Nice is not one of the fruits of the Spirit. Making baskets is not a bad testimony, and docilely accepting insane foul calls is not a good one. In Acts 13:45, when Paul and Barnabas were opposed by men full of envious snark, their response was not to walk on eggs. They met envious opposition with boldness (Acts 13:46).

So what many Christians are failing to realize is that all the hubbub surrounding pc-language, giving offense, microaggressions, and so on, is a transparent trick that is being run on clueless conservatives. The bad team is the bad team, but they are not the stupid team. That honor goes elsewhere.

I refuse to let those blue guys ref the game, but I do not call them unintelligent for trying it. It has worked for them so far. The stupidity lies elsewhere, which is also why I refuse to allow the fans on our side of the court to hiss me back onto the bench.

Friend, don’t you see? You are being worked. You are being played. You are being manipulated. You are being engineered. You are being finagled. You are being cozened. You are being duped. You are being gulled. You are being snowed. You are being chiseled. You are being hustled. You are being gamed.

I trust I have made my meaning clear enough. And I am not going to the bench. Just getting a drink.

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60 thoughts on “Just Getting a Drink

  1. Where do I click “brilliant”?

    We have yet to see what happens in this game when our team just says “No” very firmly and opts to carry on regardless.

    That day is long overdue

  2. Witness a small event in Oklahoma whereby the Governor issued an executive order in the face of an OK Supreme Court decision regarding an issue that is arguably outside its purview (since criminal matters are overseen by the OK Court of Criminal Appeals).

    The dribblers immediately cried about checks and balances and separation of government.

    Indeed!

  3. Two quick questions I’m sure you’ve considered, but which seem to jar a little bit with the tact you’re explaining here. Don’t mean to play gotcha, but there must be something I’m missing:

    How does this tact line up with your father’s “act, never react” principle? You summarize that idea in the video as “principled living as opposed to reactive living.” If you’re using language you wouldn’t otherwise use (gaytard, etc.) simply because the blue shirts told you not to, isn’t that reactive rather than principled?

    To this question, my guess is that the answer will have to do with showing men that they can’t create their own moral taboos and force everyone else to live by them because they’re not in charge of morality. Granted. But you’re fond of saying that a Christian shouldn’t be a libertarian, but should be confused for one. Or a Christian preacher shouldn’t be an antinomian, but should be confused for one. Seems like a Christian shouldn’t be blown about by the PC-geist, but he might be confused with someone who is, simply because he has a civil tongue in his mouth. Are you in agreement with this so far, but arguing that now’s not the time to be confused with the PC-crowd, but rather time to be confused with the potty mouths (though without actually being a potty mouth)?

  4. Somehow I was expecting a baseball analogy. In any case, another one hit out of the park.

    To extend Doug’s analogy, something both teams need to realize is that history is full of backlash. If people are going to be demonized and harassed out of their livelihoods for expressing their views, and if they are going to be sent to the bench anyway, at some point they will stop simply expressing themselves verbally (as Doug is doing), and they will actually commit the flagrant foul physically. If they are going to be called guilty anyway, the reasoning is that they might as well get some satisfaction by physically bruising the blue team. I’m not saying this to justify that kind of reasoning, but merely to point out how backlash works. If someone is going to be labeled a terrorist for verbal expression anyway, then the barrier to actually becoming a terrorist is lowered.

    The blue team needs to know that not everyone on the political red team is as principled as Doug about the use of real violence, and a significant number of them aren’t even Christian at all, or are just nominally so. This means that there is a risk of actual violence and backlash if the blue team is too “successful” at their political correctness game. The recent Bundy confrontation might be an example of how such things can get very close to boiling over. Maybe something to think about.

    I know Doug was just using a handy metaphor, but for the Christians who are still committed to the red team, it may become increasingly important to have a team reminder about where the violence line is, and how to properly resist false guilt projected from the blue team. Otherwise it may be very difficult to differentiate Christ from the red team when it’s critical to do so. I think what I’m saying is that I don’t trust the red team to do the right thing if it continues to be pushed.

    The blue team isn’t known for actual tolerance, but they may want to consider whether verbal resistance from, and accurate depiction of, the red team is more tolerable and preferable to a violent backlash.

  5. @Aaron Richmond, I am not sure what Doug will say but it seems to me historically civil disobedience is often doing whatever it is the unjust oppressors are saying you cannot do. So if the oppressors say I cannot sit in a certain place on the bus I sit there whether I was actually inclined to do so originally or not. You are taking a principled stand against unjust oppression, not on seating preferences.

  6. Aaron Richmond wrote:

    “But you’re fond of saying that a Christian shouldn’t be a libertarian, but should be confused for one. Or a Christian preacher shouldn’t be an antinomian, but should be confused for one. Seems like a Christian shouldn’t be blown about by the PC-geist, but he might be confused with someone who is, simply because he has a civil tongue in his mouth.”

    Nouns are important. We can’t just drop in any noun and start drawing conclusions. For example, we shouldn’t be a slanderer, nor should we be confused for one.

    In regard to the principle of action rather than reaction, Aaron needs to understand that Doug is not new the use of salt in his speech. Doug has a long history of confronting sin in Christians and non-Christians through the use of patient honest counsel as well as satirical bite. In other words, these tools have been in Doug’s chest for a long time and he has practiced using them in little old Moscow since before appearing on the leftist radar. He’s been consistent and principled. I suppose some people thought Jesus was just a reactionary too. Pharisees certainly did. But I would argue that it was the Pharisees who were the reactionaries, and that the PC moaning and flopping with regard to Doug is also reactionary. Just go watch the video of Doug at Indiana University and tell us which side is being shrill and reactionary, and which side is being patient, calm, and civil.

  7. Fine answers, all.

    And Doug’s performance at IU (and the like) is exactly why I would ask him what I have. He’s got the balance down much better than I have and I’d like to understand better how to use powerful language without being needlessly incendiary.

    In other words, katecho’s concern about an unprincipled backlash among the red shirts is my concern as well. I want to wear a red shirt wisely, not sprinkle my conversation with ‘retard’ and ‘faggot’ simply because the blue shirts don’t want me to. I need what katecho’s called ‘team reminders’ just as much as anybody, and that’s what I was trying to get at.

    @JDM, a problem in the analogy, though, is that I can’t sit in an improper seat before someone makes a law about it (one which, I agree, should be transgressed). But I can speak improperly even before there are speech codes because it’s possible to dishonor God with my speech even if all the people who hear what I’ve said applaud.

  8. Aaron,

    “…it’s possible to dishonor God with my speech even if all the people who hear what I’ve said applaud.”

    Yes, it is, but it seems that in the current dynamic, very few of either the blue or red team are applauding. The blue team becomes apoplectic when they are reminded that the standard is justice, not “fairness”. And the red team, because they have been drinking the blue kool-aid (or grape juice as the case may be), (which by the way, acts as a type II 5α-reductase inhibitor) winds up swooning over the “harshness” of the discourse.

    Even the disciples were taken aback by the pointedness of Jesus’ polemic. If we are (and we are) to be imitators of God, that means fully orbed.

    katecho, Good point! If words do not prove sufficient, they may inadvertently wind up with some ersatz sons of thunder.

  9. Aaron Richmond wrote:

    “In other words, katecho’s concern about an unprincipled backlash among the red shirts is my concern as well. I want to wear a red shirt wisely, not sprinkle my conversation with ‘retard’ and ‘faggot’ simply because the blue shirts don’t want me to.”

    If Aaron is genuinely concerned for principle, then I have a few to suggest. First, it’s not Doug’s point that we need to wear red shirts at all. That’s silly. He’s just observant of how the debate has been framed on a horizontal left-right spectrum in our culture. Clearly we need to be more concerned with our vertical relationship, and my point is that we need to be increasingly suspect of both the red and the blue teams, since the red team does not expressly represent Christ any more than the blue team. (Recall that the Republican party in Nevada has removed opposition to gay marriage and abortion from their party platform.)

    Second, we need to realize that sometimes the objective is offense. This is particularly true when a prideful rebellious oppressive wickedness has plopped itself down in the seat of the righteous and pretended to be on the high road. This kind of pharisee needs to be offended between the eyes. This is what Christ taught us, by example, as a true Shepherd fighting for the sheep. This situation is precisely what we have been confronted with in our day. We have a faux “tolerance” party of do-gooders, proud of their rebellion, arrogant, sitting in the seat of political correctness, smuggly (or loudly) shouting down anyone who doesn’t go along with their agenda of godlessness. They want to label us as haters, as misogynists, as oppressors. They see no problem offending us with such labels out of their intolerance toward us.

    Notice that the principle is not that we should always be looking for someone to offend. The principle is that sometimes offense is the righteous thing to offer against the wolves who attack the sheep. This gets to the next principle of discerning who is an enemy combatant/aggressor, and who is an enemy civilian. Doug has spoken on this principle repeatedly. Our offense should target combatants not civilians or refugees. That takes discernment. Just because certain words may have been used to target civilians and refugees, doesn’t mean that Doug is targeting them that way. Folks need to pay attention.

    Another principle is that not everyone is called to a position of shepherd with authority to deliver offensive blows. Scripture instructs us to make room for God’s appointed means. The general instruction is that we are to avoid offense and be at peace, but this doesn’t negate the need for shepherds to confront and strike wolves with the authority God gives.

    There is a lot more that could be said, and I believe Doug has touched on all of these principles on this blog and elsewhere. The homosexual movement is going to be offended, regardless of the terms that are used to describe the sin. Their ears are apparently so tender that they don’t even want the physical act to be mentioned publicly. But whether a wolf takes offense says nothing about whether wolves should be confronted, or how. We need to learn from Scripture, and it has a lot to say on this issue.

  10. “I interrupt this instructive parable to note that the word moron is no doubt considered offensive by some, and that three blue players are flat on their backs, and that one of them is clutching his ankle and making a lot of noise. On top of that, I am refusing to go to the bench, and I refuse to apologize. In addition, ascending to my personal zenith of irreverence, I refuse to apologize for any earlier expressions like lesbyterians, gaystapo, or that heretofore unremarked illage vidiots in the sidebar to the right.”

    I just wanted to edify the readers of this post with another helping of well-aimed hilarity.

  11. OR just maybe you could be missing something?

    Not going to argue that what you describe doesn’t happen–sure, it does–but it might become awfully convenient to start saying “SEE? I’m being persecuted!” every time you got a foul. And that is the definition of being a bad sport. I guess all I’m saying is just because bad calls are made doesn’t mean that every call is a bad call. Non sequitur and all that jazz.

    It seems at least that one COULD take this to an extreme and use it to insulate oneself from all outside criticism, and that would be a shame, right?

  12. Aaron, your questions are quite reasonable. And I don’t want them to control me through what they prohibit, as though I will simply do the opposite of whatever it is. Progressives don’t like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, but that doesn’t mean I should buy one. I do want to act, not react. It seems to me that if I am anticipating and conforming (cringing), then I am in greater danger of that. If I am anticipating, but steam right on ahead — especially if I am going to get in trouble for it from friend and foe alike — then it seems less likely to me that I am “reacting.”

    Sarah, your point is well taken also. You all can’t tell from a distance, but I can tell you how I check myself and my motives on this kind of thing. How open am I to corrective input from the people around me that I know and trust? How submissive am I to the authorities that I am under? If that is functioning well, then I think I can afford to be deaf to the Intoleristas.

  13. Seems like a somewhat relevant quote for this situation, almost Wilsonian, clever but not quite so witty,

    the little boy who cries wolf, and is himself a wolf in sheep’s clothing, doesn’t earn my respect or my ear.– Brad R. Torgersen

  14. Thank you so much for being a light to a dark world!!! I know that you have do deal with a lot of foul calls, so I am strengthened and encouraged daily by your incessant refusal to sit on the bench. Stay strong!

    “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12

  15. Sarah,

    Doug’s not missing something. There was no hint of “SEE? I’m being persecuted!” in his post. He is correctly pointing out that the LGBT activists manipulate their environment, to undermine all opposing views, by redefining categories and language to suit their own purposes, without regard for anything or anyone except the score.

    From the phrasing in the second paragraph it seems you think of his analogy as representing a situation that happens rarely, and should not be used to develop a view that encourages a victim mentality. I submit that it is the normal form of political and public discourse at this point, that the manipulation is pervasive in every area, and that he is far more concerned about their abuse of the principles and language than any individual that feels overwhelmed by it.

    Given that, just what “outside” criticism should we be listening to? The wisdom and gentle rebukes laid on us by the Holy Spirit, through the Scriptures, for the Glory of the Creator God – Or the vain and inconsistent arguments of those who refuse to bend the knee to Him no matter what the cost to themselves, their families, and the culture around them?

  16. High inside four-seam fastball–brush-back on purpose–I am aiming for your head, go ahead, charge the mound–I have a two-seamer coming next.

    Why are we even playing their game? Is it not obvious that “we” are not the same people anymore?

    Merlin in “That Hideous Strength” expressed the killing of the Saxon’s with all the moral wrangling of a warrior chomping a breath mint. Yes, killing. As you recover from your vapors, remember that this scene was penned by C.S. Lewis–a Christian, warrior, who knew and lived a thing or two about the Lion of Judah.

    Is it not entirely in our Lord’s character to present His people with a fait accompli?

    From scripture, is it not typical for God’s people to look around in a daze and say, “wha?…eh?..erp?”

    Guess where we are in Christendom in God’s America. It aint pretty and it rhymes with “wha?…eh?..erp?”

    Its been 2K years. Maybe, just maybe, we–yes, you and me–can get a clue and and get beyond “…erp?”

    I don’t know what comes after “…erp?” in the cowards lexicon, but let’s take a lead off 3′rd base and actually commit to stealing home and putting some runs on the board for the Home Team.

    Why should we be “micro-ruled” by such meager micro-souls? Answer: we are cowards for even considering it.

    When a “judge” condemns a Christian couple for refusing to serve a “wedding cake” for sodomites, where is the Christian subpoena on that “judge” ordering her to appear before our Christian courts for trial and sentencing? Why do you play on her court? Why do you play by her rules? why do you, son of Christ, son of Adam kneel before the whore Semiramis? Is Babylon your security blanket? You act like it. “eh?..”.

    When the usurpers render unequal weights by debasing the currency, where is the “Christian” coin of our realm for us to do business in? “..erp?”

    Why are you paying taxes to fund the sacrifice of children to Moloch? “…wth?”

    My brothers and sisters in Christ, you know better.

    The Church in America should aspire to the temperature of lukewarm spew.

    Grace and Peace.

  17. If we are going to be name-calling (not necessarily in the second-person, but to include even less directly via description in the third-person), then it must be a true/accurate deserving/just-cause (albeit not necessarily literal) description (Mt 23:24,33).

    We are not to be angry without just-cause (Mt 5:22), yet there is a righteous way to be angry without sin (Eph 4:26). Likewise, Mt 5:22 also teaches that we ought not to be name-calling on the condition that it is without just-cause in the sense of an accurate (non-literal) description in accordance with the “speak truth” instruction of Eph 4:25 that is previous to the already referenced Eph 4:26, which shows a morally permissive way to be angry in righteousness, not over-generalizing Mt 5:22′s prohibition against anger [just as we ought not to similarly over-generalize by inconsistently including all "killing" of Ex 20:13 as "murder" (Mt 5:21) when Ex 21:12 and Ex 22:2 teach there are morally permissive instances to kill in righteousness].

    Also, Scripture teaches that we not only ought to have just-cause for our name-calling, but the name-calling should have an element of instruction to (or explication for) the name-calling. Doug in imitation of the sinless Christ Jesus and of His apostles per Mt 16:23; 23:17; 23:19,18,20,21,22; 23:26,25; 23:33,34,35,36; Gal 3:1,2,3,5,6,7; James 2:20,21,22,23,24,26; 4:4,3,1,2,5,6) certainly has provided this accurate instructional/interpretive element in his articles when employing name-calling terms like ‘pomos’, ‘gaytards’, ‘lesbyterians’, ‘gaystapos’, etc.

    We are not to name-call in a vengeful tit-for-tat (i.e., name for name) exchange (1 Pe 3:9). Thus, when we are reviled/assaulted, we are to follow Christ’s and Stephen’s example (1 Pe 2:23; Jn 18:22; Mt 26:67,68; 27:28,29,30,31; Lk 23:11; 23:35,36,37; Mt 27:39,40,41,42,43,44; Lk 23:34; Ac 7:54,55,56,57,58,59; 7:60), not merely using name-calling as a way to vengefully (Lv 19:17; Ro 12:17,18,19) return the favor of revilement/insult/assault (1 Pe 2:20,21,22,23; 3:9; Lk 6:28; Mt 5:39) — especially if the situation wisely calls for not giving/”casting” such “holy” instruction/rebuke to “ear-covered” (Ac 7:57,54) “swine” (Mt 7:6) who are already insultingly/violently “trampling” and “tearing them/us/others to pieces”.

    Hence, as a form of loving rebuke, just-cause name-calling ought to provide an instructional justification/explication for employing such name-calling, lest it become a vengeful tit-for-tat revilement/cursing (e.g. “Fool!” –> “No, you’re the fool!” or “Son of Hell!” –> “Screw you, Beelzebubba!”). To be sure, name-calling that is vengeful or even untruthful (without just-cause) is an immoral reviling/cursing (1 Co 5:11), and those who unrepentantly practice such sin will certainly not enter the kingdom of God (1 Co 6:10), but the fiery hell (Mt 5:22).

    In obediently taking into account all that Scripture prescriptively teaches directly through imperative/interrogative and indirectly through descriptive/narrative example; if we provide an instructive-justification without a spirit of vengeance, then we are not guilty of disobeying Col 4:5,6 and Ro 12:14 when we apply name-calling in our reasoned patiently instructive rebuke & announcing/preaching (2 Tim 4:2) while lovingly hoping that God will bless our audience with repentance (Ac 3:26).

    In cases where there is no actual guilt in others’ name-calling, and we erroneously find fault; then, we are deserving of condemnation after implicitly condemning the Lord Jesus when He was innocent when using name calling — just as the Pharisees deserved to be judged for implicitly condemning their sons (Luke 11:19) when erroneously finding fault with the Lord Jesus’ binding of Satan and insulting/reviling the Holy Spirit (Mk 3:22,28,29,30).

  18. timothy wrote:

    Why are you paying taxes to fund the sacrifice of children to Moloch?

    This is a genuine and important question, yet a very similar one was used in an attempt to put Christ to the test in the first century. Recall that Caesar taxed the people for all manner of oppressive and immoral things. It was genuinely important for God’s people to know whether it was permissible. before God, in principle, for them to render taxes over into such a general fund. I’m in agreement with Doug’s observations elsewhere that Christ was teaching that God is able to make a clear distinction between our obedience to civil authority and what that authority does with the money (particularly for those taxpayers who are a minority). When the tax money goes into one giant government hoard, God is not going to hold the minority personally accountable for how the government spends its stockpile. God is going to judge those in authority and hold them accountable. This is a very freeing principle, but we can’t lean on it in the case where we are actually the majority, and when we have a dominant voice in the shape of government (unlike jews of the first century). A majority of people identify as Christians in America, so something is clearly wrong, and we will be accountable for that, collectively, as Christians.

    If we had a different system where collected taxes were designated toward specific things like gas taxes for road repair, and health care taxes for abortions, then a much better case could be made that we are accountable to refuse paying certain specific taxes while continuing the pay the others. I believe this is where the Christian leaders of Hobby Lobby have a basis to resist the Obamacare tax, as a specific tax item for their business.

    I believe there is also a basis to refuse even general taxation when it targets specific groups unduly, or when the total soars above the resources that the government needs to actually perform it’s God-given responsibilities. Some might argue that we are in that position already. I don’t believe this boundary is one that every individual gets to decide for themselves. We should defer to those who are Christians in authority to help us all cross that river together. Otherwise we will just look like disorganized, random tax protestors unwilling to pay our “fair share”.

    This is a topic that can get murky, and I think we should be careful not to lay culpability on one another, as taxpayers, for everything that the government is spending money on. God is able to make righteous distinctions even when dealing with governments like Caesar’s. Jesus taught that it can be permissible for God’s people to render taxes even to Caesar’s government, in principle (though not without exception).

  19. It’s easy to find at least one typo in everything I post: “it’s God-given responsibilities”, should be, “its [narrow] God-given responsibilities”.

  20. Loved the post Doug. I try to keep my “rage” in check by remembering that the “Coach” of the Red Team SCOFFS at the attempts by the Blue Team and its coach to fix the game. The Victory is sure though the timing is yet unknown.

  21. You’re welcome, katecho. And, I certainly share in your lamentation regarding the typos (or even worse errors) of our fallibility after I katechw the keys of the keyboard for posting.

  22. An example of unprincipled backlash would be vigilantism. Another example would be tax evasion. Another would be looting and burning of public property. When the people see increasingly bold corruption in their civic leaders, as we are now witnessing today in America, they are invited to join in the corruption themselves.

    Demographics suggest that the blue team has won the “Santa Claus” vote until the money runs out. The red team can’t win on principle when running against a civic Santa Claus, so we are seeing some on the red team simply sell out their principles wholesale (since they have lost the Christian vote anyway), but others on the red team will be tempted to become bitter.

    Fortunately, our identity is not with the red team. Our identity is with Christ, and He rules the nations from Heaven, and His judgment is already coming to bear. We need to be patient and stick to principles. We should be praying for clarity if the time comes for organized violence, because that’s usually the time when things are the foggiest. America is not special when it comes to affluence, forgetting God and facing judgment. We know how this plays out. But we need to study our role very carefully because it’s been awhile since Christians have had to even consider a stand that could involve our livelihood or our lives. God could grant repentance and spare our nation, and we should continue praying for that, but the trends are not in that direction today, and we shouldn’t close our eyes to the possibility of a severe judgment.

    There is very very little substance holding our American lifestyle together today. It’s mostly a mountain of paper promises. When those promises are broken (and they will be at some point because of math if nothing else), there is going to be much sorrow and many government dependents left in actual need. There is going to be a lot of anger. This should be a very opportune place for the Church to assume its rightful role, if we desire to be like Christ in such a time.

  23. I said “until the money runs out”, which isn’t very accurate. I should have said “until the trust runs out”. Our wicked government has shown that the debt-money isn’t going to run out before trust in it runs out.

  24. I remember Amanda Thatcher reading from Ephesians 6:10 at Lady Thatcher’s funeral. It was noticeable how the powerful heads of state gathered there fidgeted, looked here and there, and tried to ignore what was being said; the wholesale rejection of Christendom by England’s rulers was on display for the world to see. Then it struck me, Amanda Thatcher was not speaking to them, she was speaking to us (and through her, God was speaking to us) , reminding us of who we are and what the stakes are.

    The same dynamic is happening on this side of the pond; our would-be rulers are not fit to rule a Christian people. It is time to be “the lesser magistrate”; it is time to withdraw our consent.

  25. Katecho writes: “Second, we need to realize that sometimes the objective is offense…. This is what Christ taught us, by example, as a true Shepherd fighting for the sheep…. Notice that the principle is not that we should always be looking for someone to offend. The principle is that sometimes offense is the righteous thing to offer against the wolves who attack the sheep.”

    I believe this is grave error. I don’t believe Jesus’ objective, in what he said or did, was ever to offend another. He never willfully gave offense. Rather, others took offense.

  26. Let me say that I generally side with Pastor Wilson on the issues, but sometime the rhetoric bothers me.

    Two points. First, the more personal of the two. I have four children, one of whom significant disabilities, both physical and intellectual. Using a pejorative based on her disabilities or anyone else’s disabilities bothers me. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. Technically, she is not a moron. Her disabilities are far more profound than that. Still, it strikes me as bad form, if not worse, to take a pejorative which is meant to assert that the target is a bad off as that “little retarded girl”. Indeed, it is worse. For by equating the target with the disabled you also equate the disabled to the target. If the target is just like my daughter in his intellectual capacity, then she is just like the target. On this score, I don’t really mind if you want to insult the target. I do mind that you use a term based on my daughter’s disabilities to do it. Frankly, I don’t think it is very Christ like. Christ called folks vipers, but he never called anyone a moron or a retard that I recall. He did say that some were blind and dear, but “blind” and “deaf” are not pejoratives.

    Second, Christ did say, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” It seems to me that calling someone a “moron” is akin to calling him a “fool”. Now some may protest that the targets of these insults are not our brothers, not being of the household of faith. And I know full well that in the Proverbs and the Psalms, the authors of sacred Scripture use the word “fool” and in Psalms, this is even sometimes translated “stupid”. Still, those don’t seem to be intended so much as insults of specific individuals as warnings not to be like a fool. And I am well aware that in the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12, Jesus teaches that God calls the rich man a “fool”. But, of course, that’s a parable. I’m not sure it is a license for us to go around calling specific individuals “fools”.

    In the end, others can and will do what the choose, but I’ll refrain from such insults, especially insults which are based on other’s disabilities. I won’t insult the disabled by equating their disabilities with another’s hard heart and willful blindness. When I choose to point out another person’s inability to think rationally about a problem, I simply say that St. Paul’s writing in Romans 1 is proved yet again. Literate Christians will know what I mean and the target can look it up if he chooses to do so. And in doing so, I don’t equate him to my daughter or any other person who is disabled. I merely observe that his denial of God has resulted in God’s judgment that has left him with a debased man. I think that is the better approach.

  27. John Barry: “I believe this is grave error. I don’t believe Jesus’ objective, in what he said or did, was ever to offend another. He never willfully gave offense. Rather, others took offense.”

    I struggle to grasp your meaning, as Jesus most certainly knew what sort of feelings would result from his statements. He didn’t verbally spit on newborn babies, but I’d say with certainty that he verbally punched their fathers in the gut.

    If we know our statements will cause others to take offense, and still say them, we are willfully doing so knowing that they will take offense. This is what Katecho seems to be saying, as opposed to seeking out ways to truly offend. There is a difference between being a blowhard and being a stalwart.

  28. John,

    So purposefully and purposely healing on the Sabbath while knowing what would be the response of the Pharisees was not intentionally offending? Telling people that their father is not in fact Abraham, but rather the Devil wasn’t seeking to offend?

    That’s somewhat of a reach, no?

  29. Wesley,

    No, in neither case was Jesus’ objective to give offense. Nor, I believe, will you find such a case in the gospels. Willfully giving offense as one’s objective is sin.

    And the apostle Paul is careful to not give offense and tells the Corinthians to do the same.

  30. Well, perhaps we’re actually meaning two different things. Perhaps you mean giving offense as intentionally seeking to hurt someone, whereas I would say that Jesus (along with the OT prophets (“you cows of Bashan – Amos; Ezekiel 23; Elijah’s asking the prophets of Baal if their god is “relieving himself” in 1 Kings 18) and the Apostles (Paul calling the Galatians stupid) did seek to offend for a purpose and an end to convict of sin?

    I’m honestly seeking to understand, so is that fair and/or accurate?

  31. Seth,

    I responded to katecho as I understood him. He said that sometimes the objective is offense. This sounds to me like he’s advocating (at times) willfully giving offense as one’s objective. Perhaps I misunderstood him.

    Regarding your certainty that Jesus verbally punched the fathers in the gut, I confess I’m not sure what you mean by this.

    You say, “If we know our statements will cause others to take offense….”

    But nothing I say causes anyone to take offense. The listener is free to respond to my comments as he sees fit. I may even will to offend a listener (or reader) as my objective (which is sin) and the listener or reader not take offense at me. Or I may intend to not give offense, yet the listener takes offense.

    So I see in your statement above a misunderstanding of the nature of giving and taking offense.

    No offense intended.

  32. Wesley,

    Thanks for your question. And for the reminder that it’s a good idea to define one’s terms at the outset of a discussion such as this.

    If offense is my objective, I take this to mean that I am willing ill rather than good to another. I intend for the other to stumble. This is sin. Of course, I don’t believe Jesus ever did this.

    Plugging my understanding of “willing to offend as an objective” into your last statement above, it would read something like, “I would say that Jesus and the OT prophets and the Apostles willed ill to others with a view to convicting them of sin.” Again, I don’t believe this is so. I believe these were seeking to convict of sin, not seeking to offend in order to convict of sin.

    Perhaps you could explain what you mean by “seek to offend” in your post above?

  33. John Barry wrote:

    “He said that sometimes the objective is offense. This sounds to me like he’s advocating (at times) willfully giving offense as one’s objective. Perhaps I misunderstood him.”

    John understood me correctly. I believe Jesus, acting as Shepherd, on behalf of sheep in danger, struck wolves to deliberately offend them. See Luke 11:43ff:

    “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the chief seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the market places. Woe to you! For you are like concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it. One of the lawyers said to Him in reply, “Teacher, when You say this, You insult us too.” But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them.”

    Jesus was warned that He was coming close to offending the lawyers too, and yet He doubled down and pulled them into His pronouncement of woes. Jesus didn’t make any motion to avoid offending them too, which indicates that it was deliberate in nature. Not everyone is called to be a shepherd, but a shepherd does not properly address true, unrepentant wolves without willfully offending them at the critical moment. If we don’t understand this, we won’t understand good storytelling either.

  34. Katecho emphasizes what the lawyer says Jesus is doing. But this isn’t what Jesus is doing. The Greek word translated “insult” is hybrizo, which may be translated “to run riot; to outrage, to treat in an arrogant or spiteful manner”. The verb is used in the following verses: Mt. 22:6; Lk. 11:45; 18:32; Acts 14:5; 1 Thess. 2:2, and is typically translated “mistreat” or “ill-treat”.

    Did Jesus ever run riot? Did he ever treat anyone in an arrogant or spiteful manner?

    If the lawyer was outraged, this was his free response to Jesus’ words. Jesus’ objective wasn’t to outrage the lawyer. He doesn’t even address the lawyer himself. Rather he addresses lawyers as a class, pointing out their sin. This particular lawyer was free to take offense or not.

  35. “You brood of vipers!” says Jesus to the Pharisees. Or, in other words, “you are snakes, and your Mama is a snake!” If that is not an insult, then words have no meaning.

  36. What would Jesus have had to say if He had intended to insult? If Jesus had taken a white glove and slapped the lawyer across the face with it, some would apparently find a way to suggest that the lawyer would still have been free to take offense or not.

  37. katecho, you ask, “What would Jesus have had to say if He had intended to insult?” In what sense(s) do you use the verb insult?

    If I will to insult, give offense, stumble another, then I have sinned. I understand willing these actions to be wrong by definition. Jesus did none of these.

    katecho, Jesus took a lot more than a white glove across the face from those who willed to offend, mistreat, insult Him.

    Jesus chose to not take offense.

  38. So I do believe in rules for polemical discourse. I believe that a biblical approach to it allows us to hit hard, and above the belt. But God defines for us where the belt is.

    (Genesis 32:24-25 ESV)
    And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.

    So, there ya go!

  39. I get that you’re worried about the PC-police here, but you don’t really address microaggressions proper.

    I’m wary of the PC-police too, but I think ‘microagressions’ is a pretty decent neologism (as opposed to the three doozies you coined a few posts back, which I don’t get). Microaggressions are “brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate [hostility]” (Derald Wing Sue’s definition). An example I read once of a microaggression (on Femina) is when a mom goes grocery shopping with their children and someone in the checkout line says, “You do know what causes that?” It’s a ‘joke’, but it communicates that the mother in question is outside of the accepted cultural norms of the person telling the joke.

    As long as we don’t criminalize such remarks it seems to me like it puts a word on something previously harder to define.

    If we had the mind of Christ we could choose our offenses perfectly. As it is we have to cultivate gentle and courageous spirits – meekness.

  40. John Barry asks:

    In what sense(s) do you use the verb insult?

    If I will to insult, give offense, stumble another, then I have sinned. I understand willing these actions to be wrong by definition. Jesus did none of these.

    By insult, I mean to cut open, to chop down, to denigrate, to besmirch, to sully, to make vile, etc., as one does with a wolf that is attacking the sheep. But I would invite John to consider who is called the rock of offense, and the stone of stumbling.

    “He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; They shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken.”

    and “A stone of stumbling, ​​And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. — 1Pe2:8

    God doesn’t set a trap and snare that fails to stumble its target. Notice that this does not remove their culpability in the least because they chose the road of wickedness they were on, but God is the one who deliberately set the snare on that path, they didn’t set it there for themselves.

    There are several other actions that many Christians also hold to be categorically “wrong by definition”, such as being jealous, or taking vengeance. Yet we need to get our definitions (and appropriate contexts) from Scripture.

    “A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; The Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.” -Nahum 1:2

    Behold, I am against you,” declares the Lord of hosts; “And I will lift up your skirts over your face, And show to the nations your nakedness And to the kingdoms your disgrace. I will throw filth on you And make you vile, And set you up as a spectacle.” — Nahum 3:5

    That last reference is an example of how the Lord insults. Will John Barry still say that God isn’t deliberately delivering an insult in that context? Does the one with the skirt pulled over his face decide whether he has been insulted? Words and actions have meaning.

  41. John Barry wrote:

    “katecho, Jesus took a lot more than a white glove across the face from those who willed to offend, mistreat, insult Him.

    Jesus chose to not take offense.”

    I fully agree with John that Jesus did not stand up in His own defense, or deflect the shame of the cross away from Himself. God came to receive the worst humiliations that man could inflict on Him, to the point of death.

    However, Jesus most certainly took offense at the abuse of God’s house when He overturned the corrupt money tables and drove the leprosy out of the temple with a whip. Jesus most certainly took offense at the abuses of the scribes and Pharisees, and He intervened for the sheep to cut loose that burden. Zeal for God’s house (God’s people) consumed Him.

  42. Austin, thanks. My concern is that we already have words to describe such behavior — rudeness, for example. As far as the intent to criminalize goes, just consider the form of the neologism itself, the kind of people who are using it, and how they are in fact already using it. It is my conviction that Christians should have nothing to do with it.

  43. katecho asks, “Will John Barry still say that God isn’t deliberately delivering an insult in that context?”

    The LORD’s objective is not to insult or cause anyone to stumble. He is declaring judgment on Nineveh (presumably with a view to its repentance, as He did earlier through Jonah). Which Ninevite does the LORD insult or cause to stumble in this text?

    katecho, on those occasions when you are fulfilling your objective to cut someone open, to chop someone down, to denigrate another, to besmirch someone, to sully someone, to make another vile, etc., are you willing good to the other, or willing the other ill?

  44. First I want to be clear that I’m not saying everyone has the office, or is otherwise called, to deliver harsh rebukes and insults in defense of the sheep. God works through appointed means. Doug is a pastor and shepherd and is speaking from that role. I support and encourage him because he shows thoughtfulness and restraint while at the same time he doesn’t fear the consequences to his reputation (even from Christians who don’t grasp the principles of kingdom warfare).

    However, it seems clear at this point that John Barry simply refuses to acknowledge the principled use of insults no matter how clearly they are described in Scripture. I think the passages I’ve quoted stand quite clearly on this point, so I’m not going to belabor it. I would respond to Barry’s last question by pointing to the reality of wolves, and the necessity of shepherds. Barry seems to be suggesting that the policy of shepherds toward wolves should be love, without stumbling or interfering with the wolf in any way. If a shepherd never stumbled a wolf, his flocks will eventually disappear. As Doug has said, to love the wolf is to hate the sheep, and to love the sheep is to hate the wolf. This is basic. Though it may be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, we don’t deny the possibility that God can turn a wolf into a sheep just before judgment falls, but this doesn’t stop God’s broad pronouncements of judgment by His prophets and shepherds against the wolves, as wolves.

    We are not to return evil on those who spitefully abuse us (our defense should come from outside of us in all but the most immediate dangers), but we should be bold and fierce in our defense of others who are oppressed and abused, especially when we are called to that office. In the passage I already quoted, we see that Christ was pronouncing a series of woes on the Pharisee and the lawyers too. So I turn the question back to Barry. Was Jesus willing good to those snakes, or willing them ill and defeat and sorrow and a desolate house? If John can’t get this answer correct, then I’m afraid there are bigger problems of principle that are beyond hermeneutics.

  45. we don’t deny the possibility that God can turn a wolf into a sheep just before judgment falls, but this doesn’t stop God’s broad pronouncements of judgment by His prophets and shepherds against the wolves, as wolves.

    And we also affirm the necessity of that wolf ceasing from his wolfness in order to stop being the target of the nasty end of the shepherd’s crook. That is a work of grace, of course, but it is a necessary prerequisite to the shepherd’s cessation of beating the wolf. If the shepherd stops beating the wolf before that happens, the sheep become wolf chow.

    Which is not different from what you said but it seemed worthwhile to hammer it even more precisely.

  46. katecho,

    You say, “John Barry simply refuses to acknowledge the principled use of insults no matter how clearly they are described in Scripture.”

    Can you identify for me the clearly stated principles from Scripture a pastor should follow when his objective is to insult and offend someone? Bear in mind that neither citing a narrative passage nor quoting a speaker whom you interpret to be insulting or offending constitutes the statement of a principle. If you derive a principle from a narrative passage or quote, what is your basis for doing so?

    You write, “So I turn the question back to Barry. Was Jesus willing good to those snakes, or willing them ill and defeat and sorrow and a desolate house? If John can’t get this answer correct, then I’m afraid there are bigger problems of principle that are beyond hermeneutics.

    Yes, Jesus loved his enemies (“those snakes”). He prayed for them. And he told his disciples to do the same with respect to their enemies. The Greek ouai which you take as pronouncing woes, I understand to be the expression of gut-wrenching grief as Jesus declares the scibes’, pharisees’ and lawyers’ sin. Jesus then says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

    Did I get the correct answer?

  47. John Barry wrote:

    “Can you identify for me the clearly stated principles from Scripture a pastor should follow when his objective is to insult and offend someone? Bear in mind that neither citing a narrative passage nor quoting a speaker whom you interpret to be insulting or offending constitutes the statement of a principle.”

    Scripture teaches many (most?) principles by example and by case law only. The underlying principle is something that we see when we meditate and interpret Scripture as a whole. Wisdom is the word to describe this kind of discernment. For example, what is the principle behind God’s command not to muzzle the ox? What is the principle behind each type of animal sacrifice? That is the principle behind binding God’s word to the wrist and forehead? When these laws were given, the principle wasn’t clearly stated at the time (as Barry insists), but nevertheless God’s people were still expected to honor the principle behind the letter when it was first given. God describes that He is more interested that we honor the principle from the heart, rather than just perform the motions “clearly stated” in the letter.

    So it isn’t my intent to cite a passage of Scripture for Barry that says “though shalt insult wolves”, rather it’s my intent to simply point out examples of God, and of God’s appointed representatives, doing it. Barry refuses to acknowledge these clear examples, but I don’t feel the need to hold his hand. They speak for themselves for those who aren’t trying to make Scripture bend to their preconceptions. Some people have already decided that God is not allowed to hate His enemies, or ever insult them. When they read about God pulling Ninevah’s skirt up over their face and smearing filth on them, they apologize and declare it to be an act of God’s love (“Pardon me, Ninevah, no insult intended!”) This is what sentimentalism does to theology.

    John Barry also wrote:

    “The Greek ouai which you take as pronouncing woes, I understand to be the expression of gut-wrenching grief as Jesus declares the scibes’, pharisees’ and lawyers’ sin.”

    In Barry’s understanding, notice how Christ’s woes are subtly turned on their head. Instead of describing the coming judgment and desolation and sorrow upon the Pharisees, The woes of sorrow are instead attributed to Christ! Barry sees Jesus as the one in sorrow, pronouncing grief upon Himself, misty-eyed over their sins. Poor Jesus. This is sentimental nonsense.

    John Barry then quotes Scripture:

    Jesus then says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

    Barry cherry picks and neglects the surrounding context of condemnation. From the surrounding passage in Matthew, starting just five verses earlier, we read:

    “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? … so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. … Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!

    This judgment of hell and desolation is what Christ’s prior woes refer to. Jesus declares that repentance was repeatedly offered to them, and they have refused it. God is not striving with them for even one more generation. All that remains is for them to fill up the cup of their fathers’ guilt. Jesus is not saying “woe is Me”, but rather, “woe betide you, Pharisees, your grief is coming”. Part of the filling up of their guilt is the act of stumbling over Jesus, the Rock of offense, which God laid as an obstacle in their wicked path to stumble them (so the cup of their guilt would fill up even more). Jesus is taunting them, “go on you vipers! fill up your guilt!”. Jesus’ face is like flint, not weepy and distressed.

    In all sincerity, Barry is mishandling Scripture here, and coming to the wrong conclusions about how God addresses wolves. There is a time for gathering like a hen, and there is a time for offending, insulting, and grinding into dust.

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