As mentioned on the GirlTalk blog, there are a what I think is a disproportionate number of men in the Sovereign Grace churches that believe the best way to show affection to other men is to make fun of them, particularly in public. (I suppose I am continuing the stereotype published by the GirlTalk blog, but perhaps I will hear from guys who also think this way)
I have talked with various guys at church who believe this, and insist that is correct, so I guess if that is the only/best way they can show affection, then I guess they should do it, since the other guys seem to understand.
My pastor did say that if that is the only way you show affection, then it is probably wrong, and if that is the only way that other people see you show affection, then it is probably wrong too.
The sad thing is, I think that is at least the majority of the "affection" I see in most guys around me, and it is becoming more and more acceptable.For those of you who think I am being too strict, or too uptight to not allow you to have some fun, I would like to challenge you to keep track of how many times your speech falls into this category: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers versus the poking fun kind. I think you will be surprised. And I would argue that unless you are finding yourself ministering grace and edifying others the majority of the time, you need to be slower to speak.

On the positive side, now that I think about it, there are probably some guys who I haven't talked to who would see things more from my side, but I guess I have only talked to people after I have observed them making fun of someone else.
I am all for having fun, and in certain contexts, things can be said that can be quite appropriate, but, I think we should instead be, "speaking the truth in love", "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
I see this definition of affection as the world's teaching, and what is seen all over the place, but how much better is the bible's definition of affection: Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another."

PS. Yes, I am one of those guys who reads the GirlTalk blog, though it is aimed at women...
Posted by Jon Daley on November 11, 2005, 5:52 am | Read 3487 times
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I'd never heard of the GirlTalk blog, but followed your link and found this, "Ladies, this [mocking] is yet another example of the difference between men and women. They call this 'affection.'" To which my response is, Sure, and some people will knock their children into the middle of next week and call it "discipline." Mocking isn't affection, it is aggression. I believe it was Martin Luther who found mockery an excellent weapon against Satan, but I don't see how it can be right between brothers. It is a middle school tactic, and we all know how much harm can be inflicted in middle school.

Then again, I've often watched with amazement as Porter and one of our nephews seem to enjoy physical and verbal sparring with each other that to my mind borders on cruelty, so maybe some people really do find that a form of affection. If so, I think they need to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL not to assume other people feel the same way.

By the way, this is not just a Sovereign Grace affliction. I've found it to be epidemic in the PCA as well.
Posted by SursumCorda on November 11, 2005, 6:58 am

Come on, guys! Isn't anyone going to defend this odd approach to affection? There must be someone out there who can explain it.
Posted by SursumCorda on November 13, 2005, 3:59 pm

I was going to post a short comment, but it got too long. Please visit my blog (IrishOboe - see link to the right) if you want to read about my insights from Japan.
Posted by Harp on November 13, 2005, 8:55 pm

I am not sure if anyone from my church reads this blog, maybe I will ask some people to respond to this, to give a clearer view (and not biased in the opposite direction) than what I can.
Posted by jondaley on November 14, 2005, 8:16 am

"I am not sure if anyone from my church reads this blog" -- I recognize the scenario, though I don't understand it. Some of my friends will say, "Tell me everything that is happening with Heather/Janet" -- but don't read the blogs, where all that information is available in a much more complete and efficient form. Reading what someone has written is no substitute for personal contact, but if I wanted to get to know someone better (which presumably people from your church do), and he had a blog, the first thing I would do would be to read it regularly!
Posted by SursumCorda on November 14, 2005, 8:55 am

Well, not all of us are as technologically advanced as you. (:
I also wanted to say that I talked to one guy the other day and he said while he didn't find CJ's "make fun of other people to help them be humble" strategy all that helpful in his own life, that he did find the fundamental point that CJ was making which is to not take yourself so seriously. He said that has lessened tensions in his family when they learned that.
Posted by jondaley on November 14, 2005, 9:47 am

Jon and I talked about the other day regarding not taking yourself so seriously. There's a huge difference between being able to laugh at yourself (good) and making fun of other people (bad.) True, if everyone was good at laughing at themslves, it wouldn't matter so much. But I strongly agree with Jon that the things that come out of our mouths should be edifying.
Posted by joyful on November 14, 2005, 10:46 am

I find C. S. Lewis's analysis of different forms of humor (The Screwtape Letters, chapter 11, illuminating.
Posted by SursumCorda on November 14, 2005, 11:16 am

Having been at the Sovereign Grace Pastors College, this was something I personally struggled with. In fact, I even spoke directly to CJ about it, and he responded to my questions and also gave me some articles to read about it (one of which was by C.S. Lewis). I was trying to make the distinction between self-deprecating humor as a means to keep me humble and laugh at myself (which I have found profitable, but still working on it), and third-party humor as a means to point out to someone else their mistakes, assumptions, foibles, idiosyncracies, and oddities as a means to help them grow in humility and not take themselves too seriously. What I have come to appreciate is the proper and appropriate use of humor for the purpose of encouraging humility in myself and others. When this is done successfully it doesn't fall into the category of corrupt communication that tears down, rather it is a loving use of speech that has a good goal in view--growth in humility--which is edifying. Naturally, humor can be used wrongly and sinfully, and perhaps that is what too-often occurs. But, striving for humility is a good thing and God has given us the gift of humor. So, the question is, what is the proper use of this gift in the pursuit of humility? I am uncomfortable with the word "mocking," which I think has the connotation of tearing down, undercutting, ridiculing. Hope this helps, but if not, help me laugh at this rambling post. :-)
Posted by Joel Rishel on December 24, 2005, 1:59 pm
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