This past week “Curb Your Enthusiam” (HBO) aired an episode where Larry David (creator of Seinfeld) accidentally urinates on a picture of Jesus and a woman mistakenly believes the picture of Jesus is weeping. The outcry in the media among Christians, especially Catholics, has been significant. The argument is that if significant religious images valued by Jews or Muslims were mocked in the way that Christian symbols and images are, such mockery would be widely denounced. Kevin DeYoung has posted a helpful article about the double-edged sword we wield when Christians publicly denounce entertainment and media that offends them, but only when the offense is shocking or blatantly offensive.

DeYoung says:

But playing the grievance game with these kind of stunts is not always a good move.  For starters, it attracts more attention to the offending show.  More to the point, it overlooks the fact that just about everything on television is tasteless, irreverent, and stupid.  If we are going to be offended by sin, we should be disgusted by more than the occasional shock episode.  We should be just as opposed to taking the Lord’s name in vain, fornication, lust-enticing sensuality, glamorized crime, voyeuristic entertainment, and all manner of worldliness.  Sure, peeing on a picture Jesus is bound to get more headlines, but there are a thousand other sins that get broadcast every day and every night.

DeYoung makes a good point. Why is it that Christians aren’t as offended at all glamorized sin as we are at those sins that make a mockery out of our faith. Doesn’t all sin mock the sacrificial death of Jesus? Shouldn’t that be more important to us than whether or not culture is making a mockery out of our faith? Of course culture is going to mock the Gospel and everything associated with the Gospel. The Gospel is foolishness to a perishing world (1Cor 2:14). Since the Fall of Adam and Eve man has been exchanging the glory of God for the folly of worshiping created things (Rom 1:16cf).

The point is clear. All sin should be offensive to us, not just the ones that are blatantly shocking and irreverent. And yet, more often than not, we are as entertained my sin as our neighbors who are perishing. Our feathers don’t get ruffled until someone mocks our faith in a way that makes us look foolish for cherishing the Gospel. Too often we are looking for a level playing field within our culture, but only when we are especially offended by the gods of this age. There isn’t – and won’t be – a level playing field until the King returns to reign in power and glory. Until that day, if we are going to be offended, let’s be offended at all sin, not just the ones that shock us.

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A few years ago, a pastor at Covenant Life Church (Chris Silard) proposed twenty questions to help his church care for one another. I have found them helpful in spiritual conversations, and I hope you will too.  Print them out and stick them in your Bible or on your desk.  Obviously, you wouldn’t strap someone down and burn through the whole list, but one or two of them in our conversations can help us make our way towards more meaningful and helpful relationships.

Twenty Questions to Help Me Care for Others

1. What has God been doing in your life recently?
2. How are you doing in spending consistent time with God?
3. What is the most meaningful thing that has happened to you since we last talked?
4. Can I share these observations of God’s grace in your life?
5. What observations do you have about my role in my marriage or parenting?
6. What has God been teaching you about? What are you studying?
7. What are you doing to attack sin?
8. How can I pray for you?
9. Any fears you have? Any other areas of temptation?
10. Are you discouraged about anything?
11. In what area do you find that your spiritual life or pursuit of growth is difficult?
12. What do you feel is going well in your spiritual life?
13. How is your area of serving in the church going? Is there something else you would like
to do to serve the church?
14. What are the desires and passions of your heart for the future?
15. (For a spouse) How is our fellowship with others? How could your fellowship with other
women, mine with other men, or ours with our children be better?
16. How can I help you grow, spiritually; practically; or relationally?
17. What is the most important decision facing you in the near future?
18. What is the biggest challenge in your life right now?
19. Have you read anything recently that has helped you spiritually?
20. What excites you about God’s work in our church right now?

You can download a PDF here.