For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. (James 3:2)
Ah James! He has so many challenging words to share about our speech and how it flows from our hearts. While it would be worthwhile to consider major subjects such as gossip or slander from the wisdom of James, today I want to contemplate a minor subject in our speech, ‘white-blasphemies’ (and blasphemy, the 3rd of the 10 Commandments, which is not simply limited to reducing God’s name to a swearword, but more about not reverencing His character). I bring up the subject of what I’m calling white-blasphemies because I was asked to do so. Some may think this goes too far or is not worth the effort, but I’ve long been convicted of the importance of wholesomeness of speech and purity of heart in these—admittedly—minor areas.
Consider a whole host of common phrases we use in ordinary [even Christian] English and what they are actually short hand for (hence white-blasphemies):
The list could go on…
When one pauses to consider what the white-blasphemy is actually veiling, it is disconcerting to see what we’re indirectly saying, even if when we use them there is no mal-intent. Good intent doesn’t mean something we say is right. This also raises the question why we even speak white-blasphemies in the first place.
Consider a common swear word, B***h. This is not a bad word in itself, it is the name for a female dog that breeders and farmers with sheep, etc, use all of the time. This word became a swear word when used in anger and frustration at one’s dog and then applied to women and beyond. When we use language inappropriately or negatively we reveal something much more serious than the words themselves, the inward disposition of our hearts.
Jesus said, “21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander [literally blasphemy], pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mk 7:21–23).
When we, in our hearts, are angry, frustrated, and anxious or, more positively, surprised or over-joyed we can say things to underscore or express our emotions. This can lead us to utter white-blasphemies. I think Christians could certainly find more appropriate words/phrases, and the subject, while minor, raises the deeper call to evaluate and guard our hearts (Pr 4:23). What is going on in our hearts when we feel compelled to make positive or negative uses of these white-blasphemies? Scripture tells us that watching our speech is a sign that we’re controlling our hearts, and control over our hearts is a sign that the Holy Spirit is producing fruit in our lives. The presence of the Holy Spirit shows that we are saved and know Jesus. May the Lord continue to sanctify our hearts and make our speech savoury—even in white-blasphemies—and may our wholesome speech bring glory to Him.
Check out a whole number of Bible verses on the subject of speech here.
The crowd, the media, pressures people to abandoned independent thought, and through fear, make them conform to their program. That is what lies behind virtue signalling.
Virtue signalling, a buzz word these days, is when you go along with the flow, not believing it to be true, but accepting or giving lip service to it, so that you do not face its wrath or intimidation.
But this is so very dangerous, to go along with something you don’t believe in simply out of the fear of public reprisal. This is how Nazi Germany developed, with too many Germans fearing taking a stand and so becoming virtue signallers for the safety of their families, economic benefit or continued social standing.
An old county song I recall from my youth had this poignant line, “you’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.”
Biblically, that something ought to be what God has said is true. In grace, we need to pray that as Christians we would have the boldness to speak the truth; that He would give us the courage to stand with the Lord in faith and not go along with the world in fear.
So many men of women of the faith from the Bible and history come to mind when I think of this, however, one verse strikes me, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor 16:13)
May we be radiant signals pointing people away from the world and to Christ!
Names being changed, statues being toppled, all a result of Cancel Culture. What is this?
Cancel Culture is the belief that anything that does not align with “modern sensibilities” or your view or ideology generally, must be cancelled, gotten rid of, purged, forgotten, if we are to liberate ourselves and create the world we desire to live in.
If he/she/they were slave owners, traditionalists, “homophobes,” etc, etc, they have no place in the remembrance of society, they must be cancelled.
From a historical perspective, Cancel Culture is troubling because it seeks to erase history and tell a different tale rather than recognize it, learn from it, understand it as part of your story and move on to new chapters of that story.
Politically it is disconcerting because this is the same strategy employed by Authoritarian and Communist countries. Identify the story that stands against your story and power, and cancel it. Those who used to be traditional liberals and moderates are more and more embracing what their very movement used to stand against.
Spiritually, however, Cancel Culture is most distressing for it foolishly believes that people are perfect. Reality check: if you look hard enough into any past or present figure—and even figures from your own group—you are going to find something nasty you could dig up. Why? Because no one is perfect (Ps 14:1a, Ro 3:10), we’re all sinners (Ro 3:23), even amongst the righteous we will not find one example of someone who never sins (Eccl 7:20).
Seeking to cancel our sin doesn’t change the reality. Instead we ought to recognize it and learn from it; to learn the chief lesson that if we want to become the person God desires us to be we need to ask him to cancel (to forgive) our sin—the shadiness of our past and present—and give us new life by His Spirit.
There was ever only perfect man, Jesus, and He was hated and killed for being perfect, yet He couldn’t be cancelled. He rose from the dead, is ascended into Heaven and calls on people to look ahead, look up, look to Him, if they desire a better life and future.
Black lives matter.
Of course they do! Though Christians may hold a patriotic view of their ethno-culture there is no room for nationalistic racism on two grounds: a) all humans have been made in God’s image and so are therefore worthy of respect and value, and b) in relation to slavery, which because of 16th–19th century slavery Africans became linked to, there is likewise no place as Rev 18:13 says that when Babylon (a picture of the corrupt powers of this world) is overthrown, there will be no more slaves, thus Christianity should not support slavery of any form.
All that said, what of BLM, a movement begun in 2016 and now an international network (though not a group that is the voice of all Black people and thus not a homogenous)? You can find out more about them on their website. As trendy as BLM has become in society and amongst the media—you can even buy their merch!—there are a number of concerning elements in BLM that should cause Christians to be warry of it, indeed to take no part in it (instead finding other ways to promote anti-racist causes of justice and to fight modern slavery).
Just a few include:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit [or new and popular movement], but test the spirits to see whether they are from [or of] God… (1 Jn 4:1a)
Even though the rainbow is such a beautiful aspect of Creation and a reminder of God’s covenant with man to never flood the earth as a judgement for our sin again, it has been hi-jacked of late to represent a double godlessness in the spirit of Isa 5:20 and Ro 1:32.
The month of June was labelled “pride” month and the rainbow flag, taken up as a symbol of the LGBT+ community (there is an irony here), was flown from many school and government flag poles, hung in residential windows, etc. Those who fly it symbolically encapsulate Isaiah’s charge to ancient Israel, who celebrated calling “evil good and good evil.” Yet this flag represents more than simply the diversity of expression within this community (itself not a hegemonic movement either), it is coming to be a representative flag of our times.
The rainbow flag is not simply being flown during the month of June; it is gaining a popularity far beyond those who support the LGBT+ movement or sympathize with them. The pride flag is growing in popularity because it stands for the values of the age: post-modernism, diversity, difference, acceptance, “tolerance,” etc. In effect it is the new symbol of moral anarchy, that everyone can believe and do what they like and no one can tell them otherwise. It is the warrant to be licentious. It is an embrace of the pride of the diversity of sin. Now, someone need not be LGBT+ or even support this precise cause, the flag is taking on a new meaning as a symbol of your support for the right of others to sin so that you yourself may do as you please: Though they know God's decree that those who practise such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practise them. (Ro 1:32).
As such the rainbow flag has become the flag of our times.
 The irony is that the very symbol they have taken up is actually related to a great judgement upon the world over its sinfulness.
 For example, many who identify as gay men or women, resent the fluidity expressed by the transgendered community. While the media presents the wider community as unified it is anything but.
 Here we see the intolerance of tolerance. Tolerance used to mean disagreeing with someone respectfully, but now it means accepting those of similar belief’s so long as you don’t challenge them.
Author: Chris Crocker
Pastor, historian and beekeeper.