I enjoy a good argument. As an Australian with British heritage I think the ability to debate and hurl insults with your mates over just about everything and anything is a tradition we can take pride in.
Not every nation understands this sort of behavior and some are much better at it than others. I personally believe that when it comes to banter no one does it better or with more wit and intellect than the British.
My favorite current politician/celebrity is Nigel Farage, the face of Brexit; the man is a master orator and insult thrower. This British hero of mine won my heart not through political party or policies, but by YouTube videos, showing him tearing apart the European Union with his tongue.
From the moment I saw him describe the then EU president Herman Van Rompuy as having ‘the charisma of a damp rag, and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk’ I was endeared. When he was suspended and asked in front of the media if he will apologise for his statements, he proceeded to issue an apology to blank clerks all over the world for comparing them to the EU president. Perfect.
How about these gems from Winston Churchill:
When accused by Bessie Braddock of being drunk:
“My dear, you are ugly, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly.”
U.S. President Harry S. Truman once defended Churchill’s replacement, Clement Attlee, by saying “He seems to be a modest sort of fellow.”
To which, Churchill replied, “He’s got a lot to be modest about.”
Churchill once said of Ramsey MacDonald:
“We know that he has, more than any other man, the gift of compressing the largest amount of words into the smallest amount of thought.”
While not everyone has the giant intellect or sharp wit of Churchill, a nicely timed insult, which displays some sort of thought process higher than that of a violent animal, is honorable amongst friends and educating amongst enemies.
Of course with a world awash with false and hypocritical ‘tolerance’ and a western church made insipid and effeminate by a need to be nice and liked by all, intelligent banter is becoming a misunderstood and dying art. For those who lean far left politically in our present climate I can understand why engaging in intelligent insults is an unacceptable practice, and it’s not because you are incapable of engaging in insults.
Robust arguing, with the occasional humorous insult, without the use of violence or simplistic and bloodthirsty rhetoric, can be humiliating, yet at the same time beneficial. Nothing is more comforting than knowing the people that know and laugh at your greatest weaknesses expect nothing less in return, and yet those same people will take a bullet for you.
Which leads me to now clarify my above statement, in which I said the western church has become effeminate in its general character. In no way am I trying to make a sexist remark, although being 2017 simply being a biological male no doubt qualifies me as sexist, so what can I do?
What I am saying is that by observation and experience, adult male churchgoers seem to be the ones content to listen and learn in silence, and if they have a problem they will go home and ask their wife about it. Many of them couldn’t become any more inconspicuous if they put on a head covering.
When it comes to sport, fish size, Fords verse Holden’s, or arguing about video games I will always find plenty of Christian males willing to engage in some good old-fashioned stone throwing. By the time we are finished, every argument, insult and problem has been covered extensively, hopefully with plenty of laughter.
Sadly, the same can hardly be said when it comes to theology or the deep things of God. Many men are afraid to disagree or engage in arguments about scripture with other men. Once a concept is introduced in conversation that stretches beyond what they have learnt in silent submission it is often dismissed with silence or change of topic.
No banter, no exchanging intellectually and no exhaustive coverage of the topic. It is this lack of coverage where we miss out the most on expanding our growth as a man of God. A far cry from Job and his friends, who covered so much doctrine in their debating that God Himself had to get involved just so someone could finally win the argument.
Do people still care enough about each other to argue issues with intellect? Or will we undermine the foundations of our societies by neutering men who speak up and argue about things that really matter?
If Jesus and Martin Luther didn’t stand up and hurl biting, well crafted insults at their institutions and contemporaries where would we be today? Luther: ‘Even if your writings were from an angel from heaven, I would take this horrible document, and after having used it as toilet paper, wipe its nose.’ Martin Luther, The Keys pg. 363 of Luther’s works vol. 40
Joshua Robbie is currently serving the Lord under Pastors Ronnie and Shirley Naidoo of KZN Celebration Centre in Tongaat South Africa. He and His wife Rene’ moved from Australia to South Africa in April 2016. Their desire is to help in whatever way they can so that the church can become all that God has purposed her to be. Josh also enjoys sports such as surfing, basketball and boxing.
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