Friday, March 16, 2007

Of Pigs, Puppies, and Political Correctness

An elementary school in England recently changed the name of its school play from "The Three Little Pigs" to "The Three Little Puppies" in an effort to be sensitive to Muslims, who are forbidden to eat pork.

Even though this is an isolated incident, it is certainly indicative of trend toward hyper-sensitive, all-inclusive political correctness that continues to emerge and express itself in absurd ways. I suspect we will continue to see more and more instances of this sort of idealism taken to extremes in our society, government, and churches.

Interestingly enough, the Muslim Council of Britain referred to the school's name-changing hiijink as "bizarre."

The contenders for next year's school play include The Ugly Duckling The Duckling That Was Judged on Its Personal Merits and Not on Its Physical Appearance (HT: James Finn Garner), The Princess & The Pauper The Equally-Able Non-Gender-Specific-But-Fashionably-Effeminate Individual & The Economically-Marginalized Individual With Deferred Success, or Snow White & The Seven Dwarves Lakeisha and the Shorties.

4 comments:

The Traditional Plastic said...

jvd here is an interesting debate...

how do you quantify or make practical what is too sensitive or what isnt sensitive enough? What I mean is taking within the context of 1 Corinthians 8-11 and 1 Cor 9:22, how does this balance with these things. Or what is your opinion on that. I am not taking a anything goes approach to evangelism, however I would think that the ability to create a substantial ruler in which to guage what is too sensitive and what isnt prior to doing so...if that makes sense...

vandorsten said...

I suppose the point of my little rant here is exactly the question you are asking - where is the line? while i am asking in the socio-cultural realm, you are asking in an evangelistic realm.

As you referenced, Paul said "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." i think that probably has a very wide swath of practical application. however, i would be clear in that i do not think it means "avoid offending people" as our culture now calls us to do.

Paul clearly understands the need for some amount of sensitivity or practicality in conveying the Gospel - but Paul also knows that part of the Gospel includes that people come to the knowledge and acknowledgement that they are sinners in need of a Savior. He says this message will be a stumbling block to some, seem like foolishness to others - people will be offended.

I am not trying to dodge your question, but I don't know that there is a blanket answer or universal gauge in regards to "sensitivity" in evangelism. On balance, though, the best I would tell you is to avoid extremes. In your evangelism, do not be so "sensitive" that the message of the Gospel is lost in your desire not to offend. The path of relevance eventually leads to relativity. Likewise, do not be so harsh and insensitive that you become irrelevant by obscuring the message of the Gospel with unlove.

goodwillhiking said...

Here is C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters writing as a senior tempter giving advice to a junior tempter on how to make his “patient” into a more angry, ill-tempered person…

“Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured and, as a result, ill-tempered…The sense of ownership in general, is always to be encouraged. The humans are always putting up claims to ownership which sound equally funny in heaven and hell, and we must keep them doing so.”

Humans are always making claims of ownership--claims to certain rights we have (beyond what our laws guarantee). I have a right to “my time”, “my career”, “my space”, etc. Woe to us when we attempt to add to our list of certain inalienable rights the right not to be offended. What faster or better way could there be to produce an angry and miserable person? What faster or better way to destroy healthy human relationships. Uncle Screwtape, himself could not have had a more brilliant idea.

It is when we are willing and able to give up our rights that we can begin to find peace and contentment. If I make no claim to “my time” then it can never be stolen from me. If I make no claim to “my space” then I won’t be annoyed when you invade it. This is the idea behind the word “submit” in the New Testament (especially in Ephesians 5-6). When we submit to one another, giving up our rights and claims of ownership, not only do we foster healthy loving relationships (whether in marriage, in parenting, at work, or between friends) but we remove barriers to our own contentment and peace.

vandorsten said...

"It is when we are willing and able to give up our rights that we can begin to find peace and contentment."

good word, good will.