Pre­par­ing to be of­fended

Walker County Messenger - - Worship Directory - Bo Wag­ner Evan­ge­list and au­thor

I must con­fess to be­ing a bit un­pre­pared for the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the re­cent Colum­bus Day hol­i­day. I had not tuned into the news or so­cial me­dia for a while, and thus, was caught flat footed and com­pletely un-of­fended. It was a bit em­bar­rass­ing to me to not even have the time to work up so much as even a mild ire over the man who is cred­ited with let­ting the bulk of the world know about this beau­ti­ful land that we now live in.

How­ever, I am a fairly quick learner, I think, and am de­ter­mined not to miss an­other op­por­tu­nity to be of­fended or to help oth­ers do so. And so, I have done the req­ui­site re­search in my quest for of­fense and here is what I have dis­cov­ered and de­ter­mined.

Oc­to­ber 24 is United Na­tions day. This presents an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to be of­fended at the very con­cept of na­tions. Why should some places qual­ify for na­tion­hood when oth­ers are only able to qual­ify as states, cities, towns, or vil­lages? From now on I de­mand that ev­ery place be called a na­tion, or, if that is not fea­si­ble, ev­ery place in­clud­ing na­tions sim­ply be called “places.”

Oc­to­ber 31 is Hal­loween. This one is too easy. Any cos­tume, at all, can be taken of­fense at if a per­son is cre­ative and de­ter­mined enough.

Novem­ber 1 is All Saints Day. And why, pray tell, (Yikes! My apolo­gies to all non-be­liev­ers for the us­age of the word “pray” in that id­iomatic ex­pres­sion.) should some qual­ify as saints when oth­ers do not? From now on I de­mand that ev­ery­one from the Vir­gin Mary to Eminem qual­ify as saints. No saint­hood, no serenity!

Novem­ber 4 is the full moon, an ex­clu­sion­ary event that den­i­grates ev­ery other phase of the moon.

Novem­ber 23 is Thanks­giv­ing. One could write a (very an­gry) novel on this one. Whom did those ma­raud­ing Pil­grims think they were? I think it is clear that gen­er­a­tions of tur­keys have gone on to suf­fer as a re­sult of their ac­tions, and chil­dren ev­ery­where have been cor­rupted by the out­dated no­tions of thank­ful­ness and God.

De­cem­ber 12 is Hanukkah. This fine Jewish hol­i­day may be a bit un­known to many Amer­i­cans, so we will need to en­cour­age peo­ple to re­search it care­fully to find out why they are so of­fended at it.

De­cem­ber 25 is, of course, the mack-daddy of all of­fense as far as hol­i­days are con­cerned. How dare the very Son of God lower him­self to be­come flesh, be born of a vir­gin, live in poverty and ob­scu­rity, and then die for our sins. We should all be­gin by fo­cus­ing on doubts as to whether or not De­cem­ber 25 was the ac­tual day of his birth; this will de­tract from the fact that the main point is not when he came, but that he came. We can pro­ceed from there to la­bel this most blessed day as racist, sex­ist, big­oted, ho­mo­pho­bic, xeno­pho­bic, cap­i­tal­is­tic, non-ve­gan, hav­ing too large of a car­bon foot­print, and be­ing the root cause of one of the world’s great­est evils: fruit­cake.

There now, we are all prop­erly pre­pared for the next two months worth of op­por­tu­ni­ties to be of­fended.

In Matthew 15, Je­sus spoke of what de­files a per­son. Af­ter He did so, the dis­ci­ples came to him and said, “Know­est thou that the Pharisees were of­fended, af­ter they heard this say­ing?” Noth­ing he said was wrong, at all. Yet the Pharisees never missed any op­por­tu­nity to be of­fended, in­clud­ing this one.

Je­sus an­swered, “Let them alone: they be blind lead­ers of the blind.”

Be very slow to take of­fense. A per­son who is eas­ily, of­ten, and need­lessly of­fended is just like the Pharisees; a blind per­son lead­ing other blind peo­ple. Peo­ple who can see, mean­ing peo­ple with any ac­tual dis­cern­ment, are very slow to take of­fense, if at all.

One more piece of coun­sel. Think of the well-known, pop­u­lar voices of our day. Now ask your­self a ques­tion. How of­ten are they of­fended at some­thing? If the an­swer is “very reg­u­larly,” that per­son will not be a good guide for you, un­less you want to be con­tin­u­ally mis­er­able.

So­ci­ety has prob­lems. Com­ing up with so­lu­tions is worth a moun­tain of gold. Peace mak­ing is worth even more than that. Con­stantly find­ing rea­sons to be of­fended at things is worth noth­ing at all.

Bo Wag­ner is pas­tor of the Cornerstone Bap­tist Church in Moores­boro, N.C., a widely trav­eled evan­ge­list, and au­thor of sev­eral books, in­clud­ing a kid’s fic­tion book about the Bat­tle of Chicka­mauga, “Bro­ken Broth­er­hood.” He can be emailed at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org

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