Justice, political correctness and offending people -- what would Jesus do?

Justice, political correctness and offending people -- what would Jesus do?

In this week's news, it was reported that ESPN has removed Asian-American broadcaster Robert Lee from the Virginia football telecast because his name happens to be Robert Lee... you know, the same as the Confederate General Robert Lee. Defending their action, ESPN says they wanted to protect broadcaster Lee from all the "Robert Lee is marching into Virginia" jokes and memes he might suffer. Hmm. Methinks it has more to do with getting caught up in a culture where wanting to avoid offending people reaches the point of hysteria. As the Washington Post put it, "ESPN proves it is the worldwide leader in silliness."

The American gospel desperately urges us to avoid offending people. What would Jesus do?

Last week I spoke at Sanctuary about doing justice Jesus-style.
  • Fact: Jesus did not desperately avoid offending people. 
  • Fact: Jesus was constantly saying things that offended people. 
  • Fact: If we removed all the offensive things Jesus said, we would be left with about three sentences of his teachings. Maybe two. 
Doing justice Jesus-style does not mean we take desperate measures not to offend people. It means speaking the gospel truth in love. And that usually offends people. It offends the status quo. It offends systems that thrive on oppression. It offends us when we justify and excuse actions of unlove. It offends us by telling us we are caught in a great prison house called "sin" and urges urges us to seek liberation through Jesus. It offends us when we think it's unbecoming of God to something like take on human flesh and die for the worst the human race has produced. That's right, God the Son died so Adolf Hitler might live. If we are not offended by that, it's only because we are too far removed from Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen to feel it. How about we throw in Osama Bin Laden and the leaders of ISIS?

Without offense, there is no Bible. There is no Christian speech at all. 

In a desperate attempt to avoid being a social media meme, ESPN has become this year's biggest social media meme. The church should be memed every time it shies away from the offense of its core message. 


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