Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So How Do We Respond to “Jesus Sucks”?

plane2.jpgIf you looked up in air in Toronto on Monday, you wouldn’t have seen Superman. Nope, you would have seen a plane pulling a sign behind it reading “Jesus Sucks”. It was the latest stunt pulled by one of the “stars” of the stupid reality TV competition Kenny vs. Spenny. Kenny, who was the one who hired the plane, claims that he did it just to irritate people but that he really doesn’t believe that Jesus sucks.

Of course, there are those who are offended by this mockery of their Lord and I can’t say that I entirely blame them. My first reaction was one of incredulity. As I have time to think, three things come to mind:

donkey 1. This kind of mockery is not new. On the walls of the Roman Palatine is a graffito dating to shortly after 200 A.D. It is a drawing of a crucified ass [donkey]; a mockery of a Christian prisoner named Alexamenos who worships Christ (who is the donkey). The writing says, “Alexamenos worships his god.” Throughout history, Christ has been mocked and ridiculed. Of course, it is hurtful to Christians who honour the Lord, but it is not new nor is it particularly worse now than it has been in the past. Nor is it entirely surprising,

2. It says something about Christians, doesn’t it, if we are seen as rather soft targets for such a stunt. Kenny knew full well that the worst that he would get was some disapproval from Christians. No lawsuits, death threats, or dragging before human rights tribunals. This is a good thing, I think. There is no call or need to respond to such a provocation in a provocative manner. As my wife wryly noted, it was a good thing he didn’t have “Mohammed Sucks” on his sign or he would either be running for his life or in hiding!

3. As offensive as Kenny’s message was, I support his right to say it. Does this surprise you? Then you haven’t been reading my blogs carefully enough. Yes, it was offensive. Yes, he will need to answer to God for it. But no, it is not illegal nor should it be. We have no right to be protected from being offended from offensive messages propagated by offensive people. I disagree with his message, but I support his right to say it.


Laurel said...

I think it also brings to mind that quote from Richard Wurmbrand himself. I don't know where to find it, so it won't be an exact quote, but something along the lines of taking our enemies to dinner instead of to court. I believe there are numerous Scriptures to back that up, too. (Matt 5:44; Luke 6:28, 35; Rom 12:20) And don't forget Jesus and Steven: Luke 23:34
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Acts 7:60 Then [Steven] knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”

Jo G said...

While he might have a right to be able to do it, I have to wonder about the reaction we have to it.
I often think upon the variety of issues that have led up to Canada (and most of North America and the westernized world for that matter)being in such a position whereby Christians have appeared to lost so much ground.

I know the issues are complex, perhaps. But is some of it in part due to the fact we have been almost complacent? Or is it just God's way in the world unfolding as its supposed to? And would stronger opposition (I'm thinking if all Christians and any who may stand with them across the land) make any difference anyway? And what if we all just prayed instead?

Any thoughts? I need help on these things.

Helen Ann said...

What benefit would there be to the Kingdom of God to react in any way besides love? Judgment is in God's hands.

Our charge as followers of Christ is to love people into relationship with Him. He taught us clearly how to respond to such things. When Jesus was mocked he allowed it. When they spit in his face he let them. When they lied about Him he didn't correct them. He took abuse all the way to the cross, let them hang Him with nails then he asked God to forgive them and died so that they would have access to life.

It would be utter blasphemy to the Lord to react to something this inane with anything less than love.

I like the idea of taking the guy out to dinner - or serving him in some way. I don't live in this city but if I did, I would love to get with a bunch of fellow nutty Christians and do something awesome for this guy. He apparently has no clue that his Creator loves him with an abundant, unearned and audacious love. If he did, his banner would read something completely different.

Laurel said...

I was thinking about Jo G's post again this morning, and wondering about the balance: when do we turn the other cheek and when do we clear the temple; and it came to me that Jesus cleared the temple, not the marketplace. It was those who called themselves children of God that He chastised, not those who did not yet know Him. While we were yet sinners He loved us. Rom 5:8

Helen Ann said...

Exactly, Laurel...People who aren't yet in the family of God cannot be expected to know any better than to behave that way...Most of the instruction given in handling people is for "brothers and sisters" who have chosen to live according to God's ways. Even then, there's a procedure recommended...Confronting alone, then with 2 or 3 others then with Church leadership before removing a person from the fold. Funny thing about that though, it says to send them away to be treated like tax collectors and sinners...How are we taught to treat tax collectors and sinners?? LOVE THEM!! :) It's all full circle...LOVE WINS.

As far as abuse and such, the Holy Spirit must be leaned upon for handling those situations. In general I'm not sure Jesus asks us to be punching bags except if it comes to standing firm in the faith against persecution. And I wouldn't constitute this guy's banner prank as "persecution"...

Glenn Penner said...

You may interested to know that a man in BC has decided to take Kenny before the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Personally, while struck with a sense of irony, I don't approve of this, especially as he claims to be doing on behalf of "silent" Christians across the country.

As for silencing, Blogger has locked this site for now, as their robots have decided, inaccurately, that this site has the characteristis of a spam blog. Good grief. Just hope that a real person will take a look and get us back up and running here soon.

Parakletos said...

23"If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?"
John 18:23. Why did Jesus Christ point out the offense? Because it was wrong to strike Jesus for speaking the truth. Jesus then after that allowed us to continue to mock, scourge, and crucify Him. While hanging from the cross He cried out,
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:34

Jesus pointed out the offence first, then He forgave them. As Christians we need to be cautious of being quiet about offence. Silence is applause. Jesus did not strike back, but He teaches that we are to point out the offense so that we show we do not condone it. How else can the offense be shown publicly, and then to take the opportunity to forgive rather than so. Point to the offense, condemn it in Christ Jesus, then forgive in Christ Jesus. This is Christ response to offense.

Laurel said...

First let me say, helen ann, what a joy to see you recognize the "end" of the proper response to discipline in the church: love and bring them back to the fold, just like we would an unbeliever; for we are called to a ministry of reconciliation (II Cor 5:18-21).

Second, parakletos, you gave me pause to think, but I stand by my original comment: Jesus was still dealing with the "religious" people, not the Gentiles or unbelievers. I don't believe it is our job to change the unbeliever by any method except salvation.