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    Should we be mamby pamby Christians or be blunt?

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    orvette1

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    Should we be mamby pamby Christians or be blunt?

    Post  orvette1 on January 28th 2014, 12:54 am

    I am a member of the Christian Motorcyclist Assoc. There are a few here in Honolulu we are part of. We go to events and put up our tent with our sign. We pray for people, talk with people and let people know there is such a thing as a Christian motorcyclist.
    A while ago we were at an event. I was talking about bikes with this couple. The woman said she wasn't feeling good because they went bowling the night before and drank too much. We talked a bit about the lifestyle they were living. Then she complained again. I said, "I'm glad I'm a Christian. That way I don't have to deal with those types of problems."
    Several in our group got mad at me. They felt I was telling the woman I was better than her. They thought I should have sympathized with them. I said that I was, in fact saying that my Christ centered lifestyle was better than their non Christ lifestyle. I was not going to sympathize with her because I did not approve of the way their life was heading.
    I believe we should speak the truth, no matter how it hurts. When did Christians become so afraid to "offend" someone? If the person is living a life that will end with them not going to Heaven, why shouldn't we say something.
    Maybe I am wrong, but that is how I feel. I feel the Bible backs me on this also. John the Baptist never held back. Jesus never held back.
    I am not a "in your face" Bible thumper. But I believe we shouldn't be afraid to offend.

    Paeter
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    Re: Should we be mamby pamby Christians or be blunt?

    Post  Paeter on January 28th 2014, 6:37 pm

    I don't think mamby pamby has much potential to be thought well of, and blunt doesn't often have a good connotation either, so I might shoot for two different contrasting options. Like say, truth or love.

    As I'm sure you know, the best road is in the tension of "truth IN love".(Ephesians 4:15) But what does that look like?

    I think we do tend to err on one side or the other. But your description of your words alone doesn't give me enough data to even suggest possible error on your part or the part of those who criticized you. I think a lot is going to depend on tone.

    If we aren't good at using the right tone, our words can take on an attitude we don't intend. So I think as believers we should be aiming to learn how to use words that are clear and uncompromising, but equally develop the ability to understand how our tone effects our words and how to manipulate and use our tone in order to help our words convey what we really mean and feel (which is hopefully love in the driver's seat).

    You might think back to the woman's reaction to your words. Maybe she smiled. Maybe she was unreadable. Maybe she was noticeably bothered. The fact that someone is bothered by our words doesn't mean we are in the wrong, but I do think it's cause to be extra cautious and thoughtful.

    We want our speech to be as appealing and easy to receive as possible, without compromising the truth. Like a juicy steak, as Colossians 4:6 almost describes.

    "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."

    The word "grace" means "undeserved favor". So our speech should aim to be "delicious" and "more favorable than the listener deserves".

    Still room for interpretation in those words, of course. But those two verses are where I'd start as you continue to process this.


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    WhiteBoy
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    Re: Should we be mamby pamby Christians or be blunt?

    Post  WhiteBoy on January 29th 2014, 1:51 pm

    Excellent answer, Paeter.  I was thinking the same thing: "I wasn't there so I can't tell one way or the other."  What Paeter said about speaking the truth in love is right.  And "love being in the drivers" seat is right.  It sounds like you truly had concern for her so it was likely said in love; but it is also important that love is effectively communicated to them.  

    In response to those who maybe were against you saying anything at all, I would ask: "What is the point of the group then?"  I assume you are all there to minister to people with the goal being having an opportunity to witness to them and hopefully they will be born again.  I would think that would be the focus of everyone in CMA at an event like that.


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    Re: Should we be mamby pamby Christians or be blunt?

    Post  Guest on January 30th 2014, 4:42 pm

    Mamby Pamby or Blunt

    Firstly, this construct of Mamby Pamby versus Bluntness looks like a false dichotomy.  Is it helpful to polarize your thinking in this way?

    Secondly, the topic's title is leading, and your word choice indicates contempt for those who disagree with your desire to be blunt.  If you've demonized an opposing opinion, and elevated your own; are you therefore only seeking confirmation of your own opinion?

    You usage of the term Mamby Pamby makes me think of something Mr. Spock said in the most recent Star Trek movie: "Resorting to name-calling indicates you are defensive and therefore find my opinion valid."  And I don't think you have to agree with or be comfortable with an opposing viewpoint, to secretly see some degree of validity, whether you admit it to yourself and others.  Something to consider in the future, when you go this route during discourse with others.

    You said you are glad to be a Christian.  Are you proud to be a Christian?  Think carefully about this.  Are Christians supposed to be prideful in their spirituality (or humble, I ask in my own leading way?)?

    You attribute Christianity directly to not having to deal with "Those types of problems."  It may have been your own choice, in the name of Christ or in honor of him, to not do certain things in your life.  But you give the impression this an automatic result of accepting Christ.  It isn't automatic, though, is it?  Some Christians have to work hard to cut certain things out of their lives, while others don't struggle with it as much.  But then, non-Christians struggle in the same ways, too.  Easier for some, tooth and nail for others.

    Someone on a Christian forum elsewhere once said that Christianity is better thought of as a hospital, were people go to acknowledge they are sick.  They're still sick, just as sick as those who haven't come to the hospital, and all they might get is the hope of some DIY home remedies to take the edge off of the symptoms, not the guarantee of such things and not the cure, within this lifetime.  The sickness is only gone after we're dead, it's not cured in any of us while we're alive.

    Also, you present the notion of Christianity and the Christian lifestyle as being easier than it is.  Some Christians struggle with something, and the struggle doesn't end throughout their entire life.  I could easily see people, Christians and non-Christians getting the wrong idea from how you present this notion of dealing with troubles within the faith; as if Christianity will provide some divine boost to get past personal hurdles.  I've seen Christians lose their faith because they have been given false hope in this regard.  If you bring new people in to the faith with this notion, then they are coming in with a very serious handicap to their faith.  Some things can be left to God, but some things we have to take personal responsibility for.  A person of faith who look to God too much for something they need to take personal responsibility for can be in danger of feeling abandoned by God, and lose faith.  I don't advocate this thinking.

    You say that several of your own group got mad about your declaration of superiority.  Are there any other nuances to their perspective beyond that you should show sympathy?

    I've talked at length with a friend and co-worker who recently became a pastor of his own church.  We talked about Christians who come with this baggage: the notion that being Christian means they are better than others, and how this leads to an a perspective that hinders their ability to be effective as a Christian.

    People here have so far been measured in their responses.  Do you respect bluntness?  I don't know a lot of people who delight in watch a fellow human indulge in presenting themselves as superior to others.  I personally find it offputting.  And my friend, the Pastor agreed with me that it doesn't reflect well on Christianity.

    Why do you feel you have to be blunt?  Why do you feel justified in acting like you are superior to other human beings?

    I notice you present the truth as "blunt truth" but let me ask you, can you separate the truth and blunt truth, so that you can contemplate being truthful without the vulgarity of bluntness?  As other posters here have alluded to, how about kindly spoken truth?  Is that any less truthful that blunt truth?

    Too often I see people latch on to the notion of blunt truth as an excuse to be discourteously truthful, rudely truthful.  I am not accusing you specifically of this, but ask yourself if this is why you value blunt truth, and ignoring the possibility of removing the "blunt" part of it?

    Also, if this is an issue of ego and superiority, ask yourself if your fellow Christians argued for more favorable speech and empathy out of concern for fellow humans who could be saved by the Christian message.  Are they angry because you've alienated non-Christians and made their job on God and Christ's behalf to spread the message more difficult?  What is more important, spreading the message or your need to use blunt truth?

    Do you think it is harder work to set aside the desire to flaunt your feelings of superiority within the lifestyle of Christianity, in order to make a non-Christian feel loved rather than looked down on?  Is it easier to give free rein to these feelings of superiority?  Which pathway, then, requires a greater strength of character, a willingness to surrender the self to God's purpose?  Who is taking the humble path, the mamby pambies, or the guy who wants to be bluntly truthful?

    Is your superior demeanor justified?  Are you alienating non-Christians and making it easy for them to close their ears to the message?  And what is more important, your need to be right, or the immortal soul of other fellow humans that you can serve God by helping?  Are you here to serve God, or to show non-Christians that being a Christian, joining up, is an opportunity for them to go around and act superior to non-Christians, as a way of enticing more followers to the faith?

    One final thing.  Your comment about how you are not going to sympathize with a persons pain because you don't approve of the way their life is going.  If your not sympathetic or empathetic, then where is the love?  It comes across that you don't want to put up with them bemoaning the problems they have, so why are you bothering?  Couldn't you just goof around and say, "Then don't drink so much, next time, silly!" and share a laugh with them, without getting pretentious about God, Christ and a noble lifestyle?  Do you think it helps you to be in the mind set, to say in your mind, "I don't approve of your lifestyle."  Ask yourself if you put to much stock in your approval?  Would it be better to make friends with them first and earn their concern for having your approval?  I don't approve of that kind of mindset, and yet not one person on this forum, yourself included, should worry about my disapproval of all the things I've discussed above.  Whose approval really matters?  Yours, or...God's?  It's between them and God, and maybe you can weigh in with your opinions when you earn their friendship and respect.

    This feels like a missed opportunity.

    Paeter
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    Re: Should we be mamby pamby Christians or be blunt?

    Post  Paeter on January 31st 2014, 11:40 am

    Desert Kris wrote:

    You said you are glad to be a Christian.  Are you proud to be a Christian?  Think carefully about this.  Are Christians supposed to be prideful in their spirituality (or humble, I ask in my own leading way?)?

    I've talked at length with a friend and co-worker who recently became a pastor of his own church.  We talked about Christians who come with this baggage: the notion that being Christian means they are better than others, and how this leads to an a perspective that hinders their ability to be effective as a Christian.

    I don't know a lot of people who delight in watch a fellow human indulge in presenting themselves as superior to others.  I personally find it offputting.  And my friend, the Pastor agreed with me that it doesn't reflect well on Christianity.

    Why do you feel justified in acting like you are superior to other human beings?

    Do you think it is harder work to set aside the desire to flaunt your feelings of superiority within the lifestyle of Christianity, in order to make a non-Christian feel loved rather than looked down on?  Is it easier to give free rein to these feelings of superiority?  

    Is your superior demeanor justified?   

    And what is more important, your need to be right, or the immortal soul of other fellow humans that you can serve  Are you here to serve God, or to show non-Christians that being a Christian, joining up, is an opportunity for them to go around and act superior to non-Christians, as a way of enticing more followers to the faith?


    I'm thinking this is derailing off the case in point a bit. Kris, I think your comments about Christians avoiding any hint of superiority in their conversations with others is extremely valuable. I think we can all take a second to evaluate our interactions with others and consider whether or not we've been (intentionally or not) giving this kind of extremely harmful impression of ourselves.

    It probably wasn't your intention, but when reading your comments it appeared that you were running with the assumption that orvette1 was/is actually thinking of himself as superior to others. I'm no mind reader, so that may well be the case. But I didn't see enough in his post to make that assumption.

    I didn't see the words "proud" or "pride" on orvette1's post. But surprisingly there IS room for being "proud" to be a Christian in scripture. However, it is pride of a very specific type, and not the kind of pride we usually think about, which you rightly cautioned against.

    Galatians 6:14- But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

    1 Corinthians 1:30-31- And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

    So there is absolutely room for this kind of happiness or "pride" about being a Christian. That is, being one rescued by Christ. And I think that may have been what orvette1 was talking about. I don't know that, but I like to give the benefit of the doubt.

    So again, I think tone and effective communication is the core issue here. We are absolutely right to be thrilled and proud of what Jesus has done for us, that we never could have done for ourselves. We can also be proud of the better life Jesus is leading us into now, that apart from him we can't truly do with our own DIY efforts.(Christianity as DIY doesn't work. I've tried. That's a very discouraging path.) But the way in which we communicate this happiness and boasting is vital, so that we don't give the impression that we're engaging in the wrong kind of pride.


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    ComiKate

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    Re: Should we be mamby pamby Christians or be blunt?

    Post  ComiKate on February 18th 2014, 9:39 pm

    orvette1 wrote:I was not going to sympathize with her because I did not approve of the way their life was heading.

    Truth is definitely needed orvette1, I agree with you there. But without love, I'm afraid you won't get very far even with the Truth.

    Showing love is not the same as agreeing with someone's lifestyle, Jesus showed us that. I'm certain Jesus did not approve of the lifestyle of the tax collectors and other sinners He met. He showed them love and empathy nonetheless - without being 'mamby pamby' even for a second, I might add. His disciples were sinners as well, and they were His closest friends.

    Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matt. 9:11-13).

    So, dear friend, you can safely show a non-believer empathy, and introduce them to truth, without risking falling into their sin yourself (at least, not just by showing empathy Wink ).

    I encourage you to not be afraid to risk heaven's judgment on yourself by entering into connections or friendships with sinners. That would only lead to (the wrong kind of) pride and wrongful judgment as a self-defense mechanism. And you don't need that, Jesus is your Defender already.

    It's not easy to open yourself to others, especially when they are "difficult" or lead disastrous lifestyles. Yet it is what the Lord is encouraging you to do. I'm sure it's why He put you in that particular motorcycle club!

    So go and make disciples of your nation! cheers

    rossmcclure4

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    Re: Should we be mamby pamby Christians or be blunt?

    Post  rossmcclure4 on March 2nd 2014, 5:12 pm

    Please be gentle orvette1, everything you've described about this lady I can relate to. For years I drank like that, amongst other things. It was so useful to me when Christians would condescend to my level and treat me with affection and love, even though I didn't deserve it at all. Thanks for posting this story, this seems like a good thing to think about.

    mikel.withers

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    Re: Should we be mamby pamby Christians or be blunt?

    Post  mikel.withers on November 4th 2014, 9:18 am

    I'm, as ever, late to the party, but I wanted to throw in with my own perspective.
    Let us not take Orvette's comment out of context... this was a biker event, an event where they felt the need to explain that there is such a thing as a "Christian biker", was it not?
    A couple years ago I played rugby with the local club (and no, "Christian rugby player" is not an oxymoron). They found me vastly amusing because I would drop my son off at Church youth group, and walk over to practice, which was on a field adjoining the church grounds. ...they quite literally knew where I was coming from. If I played mamby pamby, or couched every word I spoke in the gentlest form possible, I would not have gotten as far as I did with them. (it wasn't far, but I hope I represented the Christian life well enough to be seen as a possibility for the guys) In order to be seen as a peer, I had to knock people down, I had to throw my body around like it was a rental car (which, in a way...) I had to bleed and make people bleed in order to gain a voice. Likewise, this biker crowd might really appreciate someone who says, "That was dumb, as a Christian, I don't do idiotic stuff like that." (which, knowing as many Christians as I do, I don't think the two are mutually exclusive, but that might be another discussion)
    When evangelizing, you have to speak a language that the intended audience can understand...and I am willing to leave the decision on what that sounds like to the the soldier in the field.

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