Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Advent 2015 December 9

Just want to ask. What does being offended have to do with anything?

As someone in higher education, I have been scratching my head over this “safe space” and “trigger warnings” controversy.  While I can sympathize with a college student being required to read some of the really prurient stuff they are required to read by some professors, there is plenty in literature and history (and the current world) that could trigger reactions and work against the creation of “safe space.”  The world is not a safe space; we need only see that 14 people met their death at the hands of radicals during a holiday potluck for their workplace last week.  To lead students to think there is a safe space and that their demands for protection from offensive ideas is, well, beyond my ability to grasp.

I am, or could be offended, every day by any number of things.  I turn the TV off, usually, which I imagine most do.  We recognize practices and attitudes exist in this world that cannot be legislated out of existence. 

So, why is this an Advent reflection?  As pristine as we try to make it, there is plenty to offend somebody in the Advent story.  Needless to say, Herod was offended.  Joseph could have been offended, and the town of Nazareth.  The Magi could have been offended to find that the king they sought was a toddler at best in a humble shack.  Mary could have been offended by the smell of the stall and shepherds.  Obviously, I am being a bit sarcastic here.  Offense is often a matter of perspective.  Not to defend racist language or behavior, which is very real and should always be confronted. 

Offending and being offended may just be related to those sins that Immanuel came to save us from.

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