"Take a harp, circle the city,
Sing your old songs, your many old songs.
Maybe someone will remember." Isaiah 23:15-16 (MSG)
Last night was opening night of the local community theatre show. It was really well received by the audience. Nevertheless, there was one patron who made a comment about being offended by something in the show. No surprise. I've served as the president of the board of directors for our local stage troupe for the past few years. In that capacity, I get to answer the letters and e-mails of offended audience members. There's always a few of them. Interestingly enough, every complaint has come from a good, upstanding religious person.
When I read passages like today's from Isaiah, I wonder how straight-laced religious people with their undies in a bunch make it through God's Message without being offended. Do they take out their exacto knives and cut out the offensive passages or just ignore them? What do they do with Isaiah? He pulls no punches. The old prophet walked naked in public to make a point. He used worn-out whores and used menstrual rags as metaphors.
So much for propriety.
One of the things I've always loved about God's Message is the way it presents Truth in all sorts of powerful ways. When you read it for yourself, you find that God doesn't play it safe. He doesn't pander to anyone. Sinner and saint alike will find it inspiring, convicting, and regularly hard to swallow. Truth, communicated through intense metaphors, will offend all sorts of good religious people. It's akin to what I've come to learn and love about art, literature, music, and theatre:
If you communicate what's true, you're always going to offend somebody.