The Thinking Christian

Lately, when confronted with the opinions of my fellow Christians, I ask myself, "What were they thinking?" Truth is, I wonder if they've really thought through the opinions they put forth. In this blog I will attempt to provoke thought on some current issues. My thoughts might not mirror the popular view, but I hope they will help others consider the question, "What would Jesus think?"

Sunday, January 23, 2011



By Cynthia Wilson

What's the difference between black people and snow tires? Snow tires don’t sing when you put chains on them.”

California, the state of fruits and nuts.”

How do you know when a Pakistani boy becomes a man.? They take the diaper off his bum and put it on his head.”

What does a redneck divorce and a tornado have in common? No matter what, somebody's losing trailer.”

How are women and a pile of dog crap alike? The older they get, the easier they are to pick up.”

Did you hear about the new Helen Keller doll? You wind her up and she bumps into the furniture.”

How do you drown a blonde? Put a scratch and sniff sticker in the bottom of a swimming pool.”

How many democrats does it take to change a light bulb? Five. Al Gore to insure it’s a CFL, and EPA agent in case the blub breaks and a mercury cleanup is necessary, a person to bail out the home owner, an ACORN member to insure that the right person changed the bulb, and a member of the media to celebrate the change.”

What do all of these jokes have in common? They all ridicule certain groups of people: African Americans, homosexuals, the mentally ill, Muslims, rednecks, older women, the blind, blonds and Democrats. Of course, the jokes we tell are not limited to these groups; there is no group safe from this kind of humor. Also, the humor is not limited to pre-packaged jokes. Those of us gifted with biting sarcasm, can throw out original zingers on the spot.

While I am not one to tell any of the kinds of jokes above, I am guilty of the latter. In witnessing this many times, a friend of mine always said, “Never mind the carnage, Cynthia. Go for the joke.” It's true. While I would never mean to hurt anyone, some times I just cannot resist the joke. Especially if it's really funny. And it often is.

What is the Christian's responsibility when it comes to humor? While most Christians would never tell a “dirty joke,” do we find that we are more comfortable telling jokes that ridicule groups of people? If so, we have to ask ourselves how these jokes make those people feel. Hurt, certainly, but also degraded, marginalized, stereotyped, unloved and humiliated. If our jokes cause this kind of pain, should we be using them? In light of this, let's look at what the Bible has to say about our words.

Ephesians 4 (New International Version, ©2010)

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs {emphasis mine}, that it may benefit those who listen.

James 3 (New International Version, ©2010)

5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Psalm 39 (New International Version, ©2010)

1 I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
while in the presence of the wicked.”

Matthew 15:11 (New International Version, ©2010)

11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

1 Peter 3:10 (New International Version, ©2010)

10 For,

Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.

Proverbs 18 (New International Version, ©2010)

2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.

3 When wickedness comes, so does contempt,
and with shame comes reproach.

4 The words of the mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

6 The lips of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating.

7 The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives.

There are more, but we get the idea. I read these Scriptures and realize I must change my ways. No longer should I hear, “Never mind the carnage, Cynthia. Go for the joke.” Instead, I should tell myself, “Never mind the joke, Cynthia. Go for the kindness.” I challenge you to join me in this endeavor.


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