Received this church sign from a friend recently. Too thought-provoking not too share. This week’s bad church sign of the week says:
SERMON OCT. 14
GET OFF YOUR DONKEY
And if you are like me, you automatically see the insinuation with the replacement word for donkey leaping into your mind. The passage is of the Good Samaritan. Don’t avoid needs when you see them, get off of your literally donkey or your figurative donkey and get up to help somebody. That’s the point of the message.
It’s funny. It’s clever. But is it right? Where is the line between being engaging and being crude?
Nowadays, many preachers and churches will get into the shock and awe business trying to keep their churchgoers intrigued or a buzz about the latest thing said. The end justifies the means. If something is funny and can get their attention, throw it out there. It doesn’t matter if it makes some uncomfortable or if it was even sinful. If people laugh at it, it was worth it.
Is it? The Bible is clear about the words that Christian leaders should use. Check out some of these instructions:
- “Let your conversation be always full of grace, . . . so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Col. 4:6
- “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” -Col. 3:8
- “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” -Eph. 5:4
- “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” -Prov. 13:3
- “How can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” -Matt. 12:34-35
- “Men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” -Matt. 12:36-37
- “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” -1 Tim. 4:12
I honestly wish I knew how much of our conversations, jokes, insinuations, and entertaining remarks would God consider as filthy, foolish, and crude? Is it bad to say “get off your donkey?” Maybe. Maybe not. Is it bad for pastors to make crude jokes trying to entertain juvenile minded crowds and not grow them up in maturity? Is it OK for them to be crass talking about sexuality? Is it acceptable to use trigger words in our culture just for response or shock value?
Life is too short to play in the gray.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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