So… I’ve been thinking… and no, I haven’t hurt myself yet!

But seriously, I’ve been asking myself, “When is ‘it’ over the line?”

I love a good laugh, even if it means introducing a little potty humor (thanks Mo!) – I am a male after all.

My team at Thrive Church has at times skirted “the line” – often without realizing we were close to “it.” The only way I know is when someone says something like, “Wow, we could never do that our previous church” or “Be careful, don’t let the district office see that!”

I guess I don’t understand when people are afraid to laugh at beer commercials (admit it, they are the funniest), or when they blush at marriage humor (married folks – you know what I mean), or hide their giggles at the sound of broken wind. I guess, I don’t get the big deal. The human condition is often funny.

I suppose that there is a line of appropriateness somewhere, and I have found myself at times deciding something was too much for Sunday morning (anyone see that squirrel fart video?). But where is the line, and who draws it?

For Easter, we’ve been preparing a series of spoofs of the Dos-Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials. We showed the first one at church this past Sunday. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that while our folks thought it was great, many a few of them were concerned that their Christian friends outside of our tribe would be offended by it.

I don’t know – I just feel a little squirmy by that idea – feels like false piety to me…

What do you think… when is something “over the line?”

21 thoughts on “thats.over.the.line”

  1. I loved the commercial.

    And I think something is over the line when it’s dogmatic.

    I think that it will speak to those who don’t know Him.

  2. I feel like the video toes the line but am having a hard time processing the why. When I saw it a red flag went up immediately. I love the Dos Equis commercials on TV. I don’t drink beer but find the content very clever and funny. For some reason it doesn’t feel right for a church scene but like I said I can articulate why. Therefore, I don’t say, “YOU HAVE CROSSED THE LINE!” I say, “You may be toeing the line because it made me uncomfortable.” I don’t think that is your intent with the video. However, if you tell me what context it is being used in and what point you will be driving home in your message maybe the shock factor of this video is absolutely appropriate and very important in the whole scheme of things.

    I think you need to be on guard for some negative feedback from some people, or at least don’t be surprised. I think most people take Jesus very seriously and while he may have had a great sense of humor when walking the earth most of us haven’t seen that side of him. Maybe that’s where my discomfort comes from…wondering what He thinks about it…wondering if He would want me to laugh.

    OK, I responded to this because Herb asked me to so please don’t destroy me if you think I am off base. I don’t hate the video, it just made me a little uncomfortable. There are several people that commented on the video page that they liked it very much. So, I say the video toes the line but doesn’t quite cross it. The reality is that all people interpret the location of “the line” differently.

    1. Rick, I TOTALLY appreciate you chiming in, my friend… to the rest of you, Rick is my bud – don’t thrash him or I’ll slap you with a wet fish. (smile)…

      To your comment… could it be because it is a spoof of a beer commercial? I mean, there’s lots of humor in Jesus-land… take my fish slap comment… Veggie Tales…

      Context: it is one of 4 spots for our Easter Series, where we will assert that Jesus is the most interesting man in the world, with a walk-thru of his life, death, resurrection, and reign. It is purely a humorous look at some of the amazing things Jesus did and does.

      EDIT: I wonder how the vid would have been received if it was our original idea and the Dos-Equis’ commercials never existed…

      1. Good point. It could be all about it being a lot like a beer commercial.

        I really hope you have great success with it. Kudos for the time and energy to produce these videos for your congregation. I know how much work it is. Your congregation should feel blessed that you are investing so much time and energy in this project.

        I wonder if Mary had a tattoo that said “Son”? LOL

  3. This is the hard thing because the line is so subjective. It can depend on your background, culture, personal experiences, etc. I see Rick’s point, but I didn’t really feel any of that when I watched it. I wondered what a non-believer would think about the ‘drinking blood’ statement, but Jesus made that statement Himself so there you go. I think we need to be watchful, but as long as we’re solid biblically, I don’t see a huge problem. It’s never going to please everyone because it’s so subjective. Interesting conversation, Herb. Thanks!

    1. I think you are right – the line is subjective… I guess if you are going to draw a line, you ought to be ready to defend where you put it – and realize that others wouldn’t put it there… that’s all I am saying…

  4. The line is definitely subjective. I think we have to consider our culture when deciding where the line is. What do the people that live in our area see as offensive… What do the people in our church consider offensive. Also, we have to consider if we have the right to do certain things. By that I mean have we earned the right to say that or do that because of our success with like things in the past? I think this is where i, as a young pastor, often fall short… I lack the track record. We also have to consider our motive. It can’t be about us… It must be about reaching people, pointing people to Jesus. One thing NOT to consider is religious people. Some are going to be offended simply because they’re too ‘religious’ not to be. They’d rather be mad than happy anyway. Just my thoughts…

  5. wow…first off, I’m honored to be recognized for my talents.

    as for “over the line,” I suppose it’s important to consider what the joke actually makes you think about. If it takes your mind somewhere unholy…well…maybe it’s over the line. Fart jokes? Priceless. Boob jokes…maybe not so much. Poop? Golden. heh heh.

  6. The spot about Jesus being the most interesting man in the world to me is nowhere near the very subjective line. I think you’re right about it being a case of false-piety. “What? It’s a parody of a beer commercial? You mean beer where one drunk by an adult won’t do anything at all in almost all cases but perhaps some people will engage in the sin of drunkeness by consuming it on the same level that most of us are incredibly fat yet go for thirds at the Old Country Buffet every Sunday after church? Oh, we must ban it!”

  7. Very interesting question. I guess that is one of the great things about being a Christian is that we are led by the Spirit and our rules can be boiled down in some sense to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. Our list of specific do’s and dont’s is very short. “What is over the line” is a question a good Muslim or Jew would really need to worry about I suppose. If we are honoring and loving God in what we are doing and not causing our fellow Christian to stumble, I don’t think we don’t need to worry about what others think of our actions. But seeking feedback (like you are here) and truly asking ourselves are we honoring God in what we do and searching the scripture is key. Thanks for the Post.

    1. Thx for chiming in, Doug. I get what you’re saying, and I agree – our list is short, but it is also long too – I mean, the context we are operating in has a lot to do with what we choose to do or not do. And I think respecting one another brings with it some boundaries set by that love and respect. I do think that sometimes we operate in our own little bubbles and need to peek outside every once and a while to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.

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