More Vulgarity

WomanIs it possible for one to exercise one’s freedom of expression without offending anyone? I would like to think that it is. But like freedom itself it seems that we, in our sinful state, tend to gravitate more towards that which is harmful, useless and plain evil than that which is good, which is the result of sacrifice and selflessness, prayer and fasting.  Patience.

Ah, but then there are those who quite simply take this abuse of freedom too far. In which case, I’m afraid it is not merely a weakness or a failing to express that which is noble. Rather, it seems as if it is nothing but a firm commitment to glorify freedom for the mere sake of freedom with no regard to responsibility.

As was pointed out in another post, there are things which we  shan’t make fun of or pervert for they are things which are set aside, that is, they are holy. One would conclude that it is in respecting this dictum that we respect freedom itself.  After all, freedom is not something that we fought for and thereby earned. Instead, it has been given to us by God. It’s a gift and as such deserves our respect. Moreover, it is something which we ought to cherish and defend, not flaunt or abuse. For, that same freedom which we use for our salvation can just as easily be used for our demise.

These thoughts came to me this morning upon reading about a play which took place in conjunction with the Glasgay! arts festival “a celebration of Scotland’s gay, bi-sexual and transsexual culture.” In the play Jesus was depicted as being a transsexual woman!?!  Actually, it was more of a reaction to a statement made by the producer:

“Glasgay! supports the right to freedom of expression and offers audiences a diverse view of LGBT life.

“This work is not intended to incite or offend anyone of any belief system. However, we respect your right to disagree with that opinion.”

Not intended to offend? Well, what, pray tell, is the intention then?

“Don’t set foot on the path of the wicked….For they can’t sleep unless they have done evil; they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble” (Proverbs 4:14,16).

See story here.

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6 thoughts on “More Vulgarity

  1. Freedom is not free. While this may sound like a paradox, the fact is that to have freedom one needs to be responsible as well. For example, to yell out “fire” in a crowded theater — when in fact there is no fire — will get one arrested for causing people to panic and perhaps to be injured unnecessarily.

    For Jesus to be depicted as a transsexual woman in a play in Scotland — because such a portrayal is a “right to freedom of expression” — distorts what the right to freedom of expression really is. One does not have the right to defame a person — let alone the Lord — because such defamation is illegal and can lead to a lawsuit for libel or slander.

    Moreover, portraying the Lord in such a state is a violation of a higher law — the Law of God.

  2. I’m not saying that we should be like the Muslims and go to the streets in protest which, in such cases, can turn quite violent. My point is that it seems that Muslims have a sense of what is holy (at least for them) while Christians have taken an it’s-all-good attitude. Nothing seems to be sacred since all of the sudden we are given the ability to place ourselves in God’s shoes and say Well, I’m not so sure God would be offended by this or that.

    Our love for our neighbor does not include his sins. The love we have for our neighbor is our love for God since that person and every person, whether they reject it or not, is made in God’s image and for that reason they are holy. Just this morning I read a beautiful quote from a holy father of the church which, paraphrased, was: “My heart only has entrances, it has no exists, who is once inside remains there and whatever he does I pray for his salvation.” Our neighbor can never do anything wrong which would not warrant us praying for them. But, then again, this does not mean that they cannot do wrong.

    God is not quick to anger and neither should we be but we should at least be sensible enough to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. As the book of Revelation points out, You are either hot or cold, if you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth. We have become so sensitive to people’s feelings and so afraid to offend anyone. It is not our intention to offend. Regardless, the gospel message might be offensive to some (1 Cor. 6:9) but there is little we can do for such people. We pray for them. We wish them the best and that’s it. In the end, it is God who saves but it is also God who judges and not us.

  3. Fr. > Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    I agree that the question of whether God is offended by this is the more important. Whether and to what extent He is offended by this theatre production does of course open one of the discussions on which there is wide-ranging and divisive disagreement between people of faith in Christ. That in turn raised the question of how one might most appropriately voice one’s disagreement with a Christian brother or sister, or with those who have no faith.

    I’m not so sure that comparing Muslims’ treatment of Allah to this situation is helpful, however. The basis of the Christian faith is love: God’s love for us, and our love for God and neighbour in response. I don’t claim to be an expert on Islam, and I’m open to correction, but in my understanding the dynamic of power and control is very different there. Chrstianity and Islam have distinct (scripturally based, in both cases) belief systems pertaining to how God may be characterised, and as to the consequences of derogating from scriptural teachings.

  4. Damascusmoments > You have apparently done much more in investigating this than I have. However, I don’t think I agree with your argument. It is not a question about offending us but God. Nor would I go to the streets protesting because someone has offended me. That happens on a daily basis. Muslims seem to have much more respect for Allah than we have for the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sakes, who suffered extreme humility for the salvation of the whole world. And in the end, our response to that seems to be: whatever gets people to believe in Jesus must be good.

  5. I spent some time looking into the background of the play today, and reflecting on the response by the protestors against it. It’s too easy simply to consider that this was intended to offend. From within our faith perspective we presume that those who don’t share our view or understanding have more concern than they do. An interview with the play’s author, to which I link on my own blog today, suggests that in fact the play’s focus is twofold: it is autobiographical, but it is also fundamentally about the struggle of the author to identify with the person of Jesus (and in her prequel work with the Fatherhood of God).

    Perhaps we are offended too easily – Matt 13:57. And even if we’re not, I struggle to see how this protest is consistent with Matt 22:36-40.

    I read a blog today in which someone indicated they had moved on positively towards making a commitment to Christ because they were better able to understand that Jesus could love them having seen this play. Are we critics really so sure of what we’re criticising?

    I blogged about this here: http://damascusmoments.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/transgender-jesus/

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