137. The Value of Controversy

This issue looks at the value of controversy and the reason we get offended.

SINCE YOU ASKED

Several “ministries” refuse to carry my books because they claim they are too controversial. I’m¬†not angry that they won’t carry them. I just don’t understand the reasoning. Perhaps they are over-sensitive to possible lawsuits. Maybe they have enough problems and don’t need to invite more. Some, no doubt, have bought into political correctness and don’t want to offend anyone (except the authors they are rejecting). I have actually been asked to remove the controversial sections, and they will consider carrying them.

I am also asked to avoid any controversial statements at some of my speaking engagements. Some things, I’m told, are simply off limits. I can respect the desire not to enflame (with a “careless” word) a unique situation that may exist. Some ministries are located in “sensitive” parts of the world. Every word spoken or written must be chosen carefully. Restrictions imposed by ministries in safe areas, however, are more problematic. It’s tough enough dealing with the politically correct crowd “out there,” but even tougher when the restrictions come from within the Christian community, especially when the purpose is to avoid controversy.

AS I SEE IT

To my way of thinking, if something’s not controversial, why bother writing about it? If everybody already agrees with me, then how have I stimulated them? How have I given a new point of view to consider? How have I given them anything to help them grow and mature? The only importance of anything brought to a society is the change that product or idea makes on that society. All else is just dribble.

Regarding biblical truth, Jesus said that most people would reject the narrow gate that leads to life (see Matthew 7:13-14). Instead, they would choose the broad gate that leads to destruction. Considering that most people were (and are) heading in the wrong direction, nearly¬†everything Jesus said was (and is) controversial. That’s just the way it is. Why should we think we can live, write, and speak under a different set of rules? Besides, with political correctness, diversity training, and the entitlement mentality, it’s hard to say anything without offending someone. Glenn Beck does a whole series on the unheralded accomplishments of black Americans and he is called a racist. You can’t win.

You can only put the truth out there and let the chips fall where they may.¬†What’s the problem with offending someone anyway? Should we stop disciplining our kids because they find it offensive? Should we not¬†object to cultural practices like female mutilation because the societies that practice it are offended by our outcries? Should we not point out the atrocities regularly inflicted by Muslims on Christians worldwide because it offends the name of Muhammad? Give me a break!

While we are to speak the truth in love and with gentleness, we are to boldly speak the truth. It’s going to be controversial. There’s no getting around it. I love getting comments from people who disagree with me. These are the interactions where somebody is going to learn something, and their lives are better for it. Sometimes I’m the one doing the learning. What’s wrong with that?

My point in this article is for us to welcome controversy and differences of opinion. When we are offended, it usually indicates that we have some growing up to do. Someone has to take the high road. Let’s let it be us.

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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

Why is it called “after dark” when it really is “after light”?¬†


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