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The Right to Not Be Offended: Common Ground with Dr. Mohler

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The inscription in my copy of Dr. Albert Mohler’s 2008 book Culture Shift reads, “May God greatly bless you. I am thankful God called you to Southern Seminary.” At the time, I was a fervent disciple of the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Now, some might consider me to be an enemy. While there is no question that my views and theology have changed dramatically since I sat in the classrooms Dr. Mohler presided over, I have often wondered what common ground is left. While browsing my library a few weeks back, I stumbled on my copy of Culture Shift. For an hour or so, I read through the fundamentalist pages. I found little I agreed with until I came across this line, “There is simply no right to not be offended, and we should be offended by the very notion that such a right could exist.”

 

We live in an age where the mythical right to not be offended is valued above all else. If someone is offended, you’re expected to stop saying or doing whatever you’re doing immediately. There is no room for discussion or dissent. Society becomes powerless to move. I find it all incredibly stifling. My faith teaches me that there must be room in our lives and interactions for robust and passionate disagreement and offense. Truth be told, you can’t follow Jesus without offense. There is nothing more offensive than asking people to give their lives for the betterment of their enemies. There is nothing more offensive than demanding love in a society filled with hate. There is nothing more offensive than declaring God to forever be on the side of those we marginalize and oppressed. The Gospel of Jesus offends sensibilities and rationalities consistently. I can’t stop following and proclaiming the truest and most offensive construction I have ever known. For those who believe they have a right to not be offended…I guess I should warn you to stay away from me.

 

Amen.

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