on “course joking”

where’s the line?

what defines “course joking” ?

is it simply using a (gasp!) curse-word?

is it lewdness?

is it always only in the ear of the beholder?

are there simply some things a christian should never say, under any circumstances?

(and if so, can you tell us without sinning???)

is what you ought not to joke about, or say, variable depending on whom you’re with? (and, yes, we know you’re always with god, that’s a given)

are there “levels” of course joking, with some stuff being okay for sally, but for jenny that would be a sin?

another point often brought up — by the more conservative among us, usually — is something along these lines:

“…but, if christians are not even supposed to give even the slightest impression of sinning…”

to which i resopnd: but jesus was accused of being a drunkard — surely those who did so got the impression he was a sinner?

also, this brings up a related point:

there is a verse that the KJV is very widely quoted, even by people who use the NIV or other translations normally:

1 Thess 5:22 (KJV) — “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

this verse is often misused to say that everything a christian does should never be able to be confused with something evil, by anyone.

but, as with a lot of things, the king james 600 year old verbiage is getting in the way of what god was really saying:

most other translations say something more like:

ESV: Abstain from every form of evil.

anyway, back to course joking: when is what you say simply wrong?

the idea of what’s “obscene” has changed a BUNCH in the past 30 years.

(anyone in here seen the movie grease lately? — its filthy! filled with offensive language — that was perfectly acceptable in its day. and i bet that if the producers of that film saw what we put on tv during primetime, they’d flip thier lids, with the ammount of skin we show)

i don’t believe simply “offending someone” can be the gauge, as i have heard some contend.

this is because of what i read in John 6

The Words of Eternal Life

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life…”

perhaps that’s a different “meaning” of the word offend than is often meant — but, there it is: clearly simply “if it offends, it’s wrong” won’t do as a test of what is or is not coarse joking.

in any case, our words can offend without being coarse joking — and coarse joking can be coarse joking, i think, w/o offending anyone in the room.

i think this just goes to point out, as i sit here and think about it, how wise jesus’ teachings are.

he really didn’t come with laws, as it’d be so easy to simply follow a list of laws and think we’re OK in god’s eyes (read: pharisees).

instead, he came with advice on real heart-change. changes in heart that result in sensitivity to the spirit, the fruit of which ends up being that things such as coarse joking naturally disappear from our behavior.

(or something along those lines)

i think that does NOT end the question, however:

since it was implied in my question that jesus does, in fact, hear everything anyway.

if we didn’t think god hears all we do, the question would be rather moot, even.

so, as it is, the question of “would you say it in front of jesus” is really just re-phrasing the question, in a way.

additionally, we get into the same problem of “…something jesus wouldn’t want to hear…” that we do with “what others don’t want to hear”.

who “decides” what jesus wants to hear and not hear from us?

that, really, was the point of my asking.

where do we end up drawing the line?

how do we end up drawing said line?

i submit that the lines we draw have little to do with jesus, the scripture, or leadings from the spirit so much as they have to do with the culture we’re brought up and live in.

6 thoughts on “on “course joking”

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