Our friend and guest columnist George Churchgoer is back this month with some thoughts that may offend you. OK you’ve been warned.

And on this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he even mentions MLK as well as some other people who in some cases went out of their way to offend. 

Already offended? Be careful, George is a little religious. Please read on…


In America today it seems we have a race.

No, not the Kentucky Derby or Daytona 500. Not the Olympics or an event at the local high school track.

It’s a race to be offended.

And too many folks out there have turned this into an outright sprint.

We see it in the news seemingly every day – this politician is “offended” by something another politician said. Someone said to be representing a certain group of people is “offended” by the remarks or actions of someone else. BOTH sides have perfected this game of being “offended.” If one side does it, we’ll do it too.

So many people seem to be offended these days at the proverbial “drop of a hat.” ANYTHING sets them off.

Religious followers aren’t immune from this malady. Someone Jewish is offended by something someone Muslim said – “anti Semitic” is the favored term here and it’s thrown around a lot.

Someone Christian is offended by something some atheist person said. And far too often, someone secular and not churchgoing is offended by something some crazy Christian said or did. Gotta do something about those people…

And on and on.

Well, you know what? We should all be offended by something Jesus did. Yes, HIM. And not just something – a whole bunch of somethings.

After all, this rabble rouser spent three years stirring up trouble up and down the Hebrew countryside. Think about some of the things he did…

There was that story about the rich young man. Here’s a successful young guy who just wanted to follow this Jesus fellow, hear his teachings, see how it applied to him.

And this Jesus had the audacity to tell the young man to give up all his possessions, then give that all to the poor and follow him. Yeah, ALL his stuff, just give it up and then walk around with him.

You work hard for what you have and then THIS? The young man was almost certainly offended.

What about the moneychangers in the temple? Here were local entrepreneurs just trying to do their business like they’ve always done, and the temple leaders didn’t mind.

But along comes this holier than thou dude in a huff who proceeds to flip the  tables of these hard working breadwinners, ordering them out of “His” Father’s house. What a mess. The story actually appears in all four gospels, it was so bad.

Can you imagine how offended those poor businessmen must have been?

And then this Jesus guy drops this bombshell in Luke 14:26 – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.”

What? Who does this guy think he is? Turn my back on my own family members? Be willing to sacrifice my own life? For what – HIM?

ARRGHH – so offended!! How dare he!

It’s no wonder the Pharisees, the chief priests and scribes wanted to do away with this malcontent.

This Jesus troublemaker would be perfect for our times today. The headline makers would love him. He was a walking, talking tidal wave of offense.

Well……yes, yes He was.

And one of the morals of this story is that sometimes you NEED to offend someone. Yes, you read that right. It might be the best way to get someone’s attention – if only constructive dialogue and action would follow…

In our current age maybe we have too many people stuck in their own bubbles, insulated by a lack of knowledge or any challenge to their way of thinking. Life should be easy, after all, and someone saying we’re wrong or misguided throws all of that aside.

That’s simply offensive and shouldn’t stand. How dare they!

Challenging thoughts on a college campus, where the ideal of debate and reason used to be the norm, seems to have given way to the so-called “snowflakes” who melt at the first sign of challenge. Instead of rigorous constructive discussion they run for a “safe space,” not willing to see if their views stand up to the light of truth.

Instead they cry that the other person is offensive and they feel threatened – threatened simply by a different point of view.

Wonder how Jesus would have handled snowflakes?

Let’s be honest – we have no idea. The Son of God was revolutionary for His time…and still is today.

The contemporary Christian church is at a crossroads right now and the fear of being offended is at the center of many of the troubles. Is it more important to be liked, or more important to be right? To go along and get along, or to upset the apple cart?

History is filled with stories of people who challenged thinking, who challenged authority – because they were right and they proved it.

It was founding father Thomas Jefferson who once wrote that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing. That Revolutionary War and the world’s greatest democracy that followed it proved him right. No, it wasn’t perfect right out of the gate and it took time to build, but that little rebellion was the right move.

Martin Luther King’s little rebellion in the 1950’s and 60’s, which offended some people – also the right move.

Jesus’ rebellion two millennia ago – another right move, but in some ways perhaps we need a new little rebellion today to get the attention of many people who no longer feel the need for morals and compassion, that Bible teachings are outdated and really don’t count for much anymore.

Perhaps we should go out and offend them? But be careful, YOU might be the one who feels offended. Melt away like a snowflake…or tackle the debate?

That “love your neighbor as yourself” idea, for instance – good start…but be careful and it’s hard to believe but someone might be offended…


From George Churchgoer, an occasional non-conformist

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