Hmmm, been thinking about this one a bit… There is an element of being “real” or transparent, and there is Godless chatter too. Its incredible hard to define, as realness and transparency can cross into a lack of reverence and gossip pretty easily. Perhaps this is one where one has to rely on the still small voice, albeit scripture does address this in a multitude of areas.
sadly, I think it quite easy to put up a brick wall and not listen to the Holy Spirit in such matters, whether it be common parlance, or something one really likes for other reasons. Or perhaps worse, being a guy with a log in the eye, its what others do (being middle aged), ie the young whipper snappers and their enthusiastic chatter over movies or the little old ladies who mix fellowship and gossip.
Of course there is also the issue of conviction. We dont get hit with every detail of the law at once… it may take years to be led in that direction. Yet, if God is calling, we best listen. Ultimately, the quesiton is where do we pick up the cross on this, and should we put lines in the same, and if so, where should they be. Perry Noble has some interesting thoughts on that, concerning personal safeguards. I think he makes a lot of sense, know ones vulnerabilities, and make the lines from there.
For me, is it endless bantering over theology? It could be, but perhaps not, as it could also lead to edification. Its tough though… I must admit I do like to spar periodically, but when is the line crossed? I know I never let things go personal, but that may well be too far.
Is it crass language? This is a tough as well, as its regional, its cultural, and its even time sensitive. What about a couple blog titles I’ve read. One is Jesus says Dont be a Dick (which btw is quite funny, and surprisingly theologically profound too, but the language is bothersome to me). Another is a title I’ve shared here, “Giving Jesus the bird” There was also the outrage over the use of some language on Christian radio that resulted in the removal of Chuck Swindolls show on VCY a couple years back. This is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I guess I draw the line some of the time, and not others on a case by case deal. Probably more cultural/regional than anything though.
What about song lyrics? Heart of a Pastor in Garbage in Garbage out brings up some interesting ideas. In some ways I agree, but in others not so much. The lyrics in Highway to Hell are very much aligned with someone who doesn’t know Jesus. I obviously dont think such has a place in worship, but for a teenage youth group as a discussion topic, absolutely. Whether teens should be listening to such, I’m not so sure. I dont make the same connection with music as Heart of a Pastor makes, at least as concerns these lyrics, although there are others, which go way too far ie actually promoting sin etc. However, as a bass player for hire years ago, on a Saturday night, I may well be playing “Highway to Hell”, and 6 hours later at a church somewhere playing “Awesome God“. Perhaps I am putting up a brick wall.
I will say after living on the road playing CCM for 3 months, and not hearing any secular music, I was taken aback when I first heard Chicago’s Stay the Night on the ride back to LAX. Granted, there is a difference between Highway to Hell and Stay the Night, but no where near as much as between them and Let There be Praise.
By the same token, if we sanitize our communications such that we dont even mention some scripture, or completely disregard real life, hurts and all, thats not cool either. Granted, just because the size comparisons of male anatomy is present in scripture, I doubt one should not make such discussions common parlance. (Yep that was going on, way before the advent of spam)
I think perhaps part of the answer resides in context, 2 Timothy 2:15-18, seems to present a significant amount of lattitude, yet obviously its not the whole story, there is still the outright condemnation of gossip, and reverence is a common theme throughout scripture. Alas, it is late, and thus those are for another blog entry.