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Satire and Sarcasm
Chasing Hats ^ | July 18, 2002 | Joshua Clark

Posted on 03/23/2010 5:44:17 PM PDT by delacoert

Is there a Biblical case for satire? When referring to theological opponents, is it acceptable to use such derogatory terms as “fundie,” “papist,” or “orthodust”? Are such books as Nathan Wilson’s Right Behind and Doug Jones’ Mantra of Jabez appropriate parodies of evangelical books? Or are all of these improprieties in criticism, tending to further division in the Church, drive people from whatever position is being defended, and portray a general picture of Christianity devoid of the love of Christ?

Opponents of satire and sarcasm argue that the mockery behind such monikers and books is not grounded in the love of Christ that is best manifested in charity toward enemies. They say that such ridicule is entirely against Paul’s command in 2 Cor. 6:3 to “give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.” And in addition, they say that such sarcastic remarks about theological opponents ignore the fact that we are still brothers in the Lord despite doctrinal differences, and thus a spirit of sectarianism is promoted rather than a spirit of unity in Christ.

While there definitely are perversions of satire that are intended only to stir up strife and dispute, you cannot toss out the principle of Biblical sarcasm just because of its perversions. This is akin to the argument that Christianity is a sham because there are hypocrites calling themselves Christians. Just because there are fake diamonds being manufactured and sold as genuine doesn’t mean true diamonds don’t exist. And so offensive satire should only lead us to seek out what Biblical satire looks like.

Tremendous insights can be gained by looking at Christ’s diatribe against the Pharisee’s in Matthew 23. In vv. 24-27 Jesus says,

Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

This passage and the rest of the chapter show that the Christianity of the Bible is not always as “nice” or “kind” as we would like. The “love of Christ” is not so warm and nonconfrontational as is commonly assumed. Rather, when there is an antithesis between two groups of people, mere intellectual wrangling can rarely resolve the conflict, and often more inflationary language is required. Christ used this method of caricaturing to show the distinction between His followers and the “blind guides” and “whited sepulchres” that were the scribes and Pharisees.

Also indicative of this sarcastic spirit are the references in the Psalms to laughing at your enemies and having them in derision. The image of Christianity presented in the Psalms is one both of praise to God for preserving the lives of His saints and of prayers to God to cut off evildoers and judge the wicked. Take Psalm 52:6-9:

The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.

Such passages as this show that although we are certainly to love our enemies and pray for their salvation, we must also remember that it is God who casts down those who strengthen themselves in wickedness, and preserves as an olive tree those who fear Him. And the revelation of this antithesis between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman can at times be found in somewhat biting laughter and mockery.

Often Christians get so caught up in restraining themselves from hating their enemies that they end up thinking it is entirely unrighteous to show disdain for them or to mock them. But we find that the Bible is not devoid of ridicule for the fools, and that Christ Himself spread it rather thick on the Pharisees. In our attempts to understand how best to confront those we disagree with, we must never disregard the pattern of Scripture, as this will always lead to futility.

So we see then that sarcasm can be used righteously, but we must define the goal of sarcasm if we are to avoid the more invidious uses that hinder Christian truth. The goal of satire, as with all forms of rebuke, should be to save a person from error. As James 5:20 says, “He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” Rebuke in any form is a very gracious act when done with concern for the soul of the man in error.

Mockery should not be the form of rebuke in every situation, however. In Galatians 1:1, Paul says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.” Never should the usage of sarcasm in the Bible be interpreted to support immediate harshness whenever a brother errs; rather, the emphasis should first be placed on a private rebuke, as this is the first step in the Matthew 18 process.

Yet sometimes mockery is appropriate. Once a person has spurned rebuke, and especially when other Christians are falling into this person’s error, open ridicule may be an appropriate way to call them back to truth. And when the object of the ridicule is the heathen and the workers of iniquity, then mockery is definitely appropriate, as they don’t even share the privilege of brotherhood in Christ. These are the people David and Christ were reproving and mocking. Regarding church discipline, 1 Timothy 5:20 reads, “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” And this should also be the heart of any appropriate satire; that others also may fear.

So we find that there is no cookie-cutter approach to determining propriety in satire. At times it seems best to just let an error be, or to go privately to the straying brother. But at other times the shrewdest approach appears to be a public ridicule of a person’s doctrine so that others are not led astray. In order to make this judgment of suitable action, we must have a firm grasp of the basic principles and purpose of satire and then let wisdom guide our actions. If we try to lay things out unilaterally, cut and dry, then we will inevitably hurt somebody since situations are more variable than that. But if we rely on wisdom, we can have assurance that our form of rebuke will be fitting for the occasion.

In summary, we must remember that Christianity is not so limp-wristed as to avoid all mockery of wrong positions, as the examples in Scripture show that this is allowable at least in some circumstances. But we must also remember that the purpose of mockery should always be to point out error, and when mockery is causing undue offense or further entrenching a person in their error, it should be pulled back. We must constantly keep in mind that satire, when wrongly used, can be a divisive blade, cutting brethren to pieces where a simple rebuke would have been admonishment enough; but when rightly used, satire can be an exposing light, revealing error and exhorting to repentance.

So let us use satire with wisdom, and pray for such unity in the faith that satire will become entirely unnecessary.



TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: anitmormonthread; beck; glennbeck; inman; mormon; mormon1; mormonism
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Continuing a thread of thought from The Fine Art of Godly Mockery. Lately, it appears that the meme *mockery is un-Christian* has gained some traction.
1 posted on 03/23/2010 5:44:17 PM PDT by delacoert
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To: delacoert

How could someone read Paul’s rant against the super-apostles in 2 Cor. and doubt the Biblical use of scarcasm. Or how about Elijah ragging on the Priests of Baal when they tried bring the fire down from Heaven. (”Dance faster. Maybe your god’s busy going to the bathroom and can’t hear you.”)


2 posted on 03/23/2010 5:49:34 PM PDT by circlecity
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To: circlecity

Exactly. I was just recently reading this passage in 1 Kings 18:27 and having a good laugh.

3 posted on 03/23/2010 5:54:34 PM PDT by delacoert
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To: delacoert
There's satire in the bible itself.

"Where's Baal, huh? Maybe he's travelling. Maybe you need to wake him up! Yell louder, I can't heaaaaar you! Maybe he's taking a craaaaaaaap!"

4 posted on 03/23/2010 5:58:57 PM PDT by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: Lee N. Field

Seems there’s a few of us that can appreciate sarcasm.


5 posted on 03/23/2010 6:03:44 PM PDT by delacoert
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To: delacoert
And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
1 Sam 15:13-14 (KJV)

And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
1 Kings 22:15-17 (KJV)

6 posted on 03/23/2010 7:18:20 PM PDT by Rocky (REPEAL IT!)
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To: delacoert
So let us use satire with wisdom, and pray for such unity in the faith that satire will become entirely unnecessary.

Good post. I especially like the last sentance.

7 posted on 03/23/2010 7:33:42 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to him.)
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To: delacoert

Although I agree that satire or mockery is not inappropriate or wrong, as a generality, I also think that, in today’s climate, it’s more likely to miss the target than not. I think one is more likely to communicate a point by stating it clearly, in the most concrete possible terms, without flourishes, figures of speech, or hedges.

We’ve reached the point where reality is far more absurd than anything we can imagine as satire - that’s why satire or humor articles have to be flagged in big red letters, or people think it’s fact.


8 posted on 03/24/2010 4:31:17 AM PDT by Tax-chick (It's a jungle out there, kiddies. Have a very fruitful day.)
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To: delacoert
there definitely are perversions of satire that are intended only to stir up strife and dispute,

And it is this type of satire and sarcasm we see most often in this forum.

Satire and sarcasm are strong debating tools when used properly and sparingly, but when used often and loosely satire and sarcasm only make the one using them look to be a pious bully who wishes to ridicule and not to inform.

9 posted on 03/24/2010 7:51:10 AM PDT by Between the Lines (AreYouWhoYouSayYouAre?)
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To: delacoert
Often Christians get so caught up in restraining themselves from hating their enemies that they end up thinking it is entirely unrighteous to show disdain for them or to mock them.

****************************

I don't think we have to worry about that here.

10 posted on 03/24/2010 8:00:58 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: delacoert

I’m assuming I’m still okay to market

“The Purpose Driven Nap”
Forty Winks of Purpose

by

Rip Van Warren


11 posted on 03/24/2010 9:06:55 AM PDT by will of the people
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To: aimhigh; AmericanArchConservative; aMorePerfectUnion; BearRepublic81; Birmingham Rain; bonfire; ...

The meme creeping into recent Religion Forum threads is that sarcasm and mockery is too mean and devoid of Christian niceness.

I say, "Hogwash!"

12 posted on 03/24/2010 12:38:05 PM PDT by delacoert
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To: delacoert

Christian niceness?

I don’t think it was very nice of Christ to tear some place apart, though he was kind enough to rebuild it in three days. /s


13 posted on 03/24/2010 12:41:24 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously... You'll never live through it.)
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To: delacoert

Yeah, but I do need to watch my tongue. It can be a little too sharp. :(


14 posted on 03/24/2010 12:42:36 PM PDT by brytlea (Jesus loves me, this I know.)
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To: delacoert

It is an after effect of several years of Oprah Christianity...


15 posted on 03/24/2010 12:44:48 PM PDT by ejonesie22 (Palin bashers on freerepublic, like a fart in Church...)
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To: delacoert

Seems there’s a few of us that can appreciate sarcasm.

****

I think that is why the Lord said

John 14;2

In my Father’s house are many mansions:
if it were not so,
I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you!:)


16 posted on 03/24/2010 12:46:45 PM PDT by restornu
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To: Vendome

Yeah, sorry about that. Perhaps it was bit too sarcastic for the delicate sensitivity of some Religion Forum participants. ;)

17 posted on 03/24/2010 12:49:53 PM PDT by delacoert
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To: delacoert

Mockery is fine. I love that passage in 1 Kings. However, when its all you have to offer and you offer it all the time, that’s when it crosses the line.


18 posted on 03/24/2010 12:50:56 PM PDT by Reaganesque ("And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers.")
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To: trisham
No, "we" don't. Do "we"?
19 posted on 03/24/2010 12:52:02 PM PDT by SZonian (We began as a REPUBLIC, a nation of laws. We became a DEMOCRACY, majority rules. Next step is?)
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To: delacoert; All

Oh I agree. If sarcasm is not acceptable as a form of rebuke then I we need to dispense with writers such as C. S. Lewis


20 posted on 03/24/2010 12:53:24 PM PDT by the long march
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To: SZonian

Evidently not.


21 posted on 03/24/2010 12:53:52 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Tax-chick

You mean people are so stooopid they cannot tell when sarcasm is being used?????


22 posted on 03/24/2010 12:54:50 PM PDT by the long march
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To: delacoert
I would have been backhanded for that “Am I my brothers keeper” crack . That was bold .
23 posted on 03/24/2010 12:55:56 PM PDT by kbennkc (For those who have fought for it , freedom has a flavor the protected will never know F Trp 8th Cav)
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To: delacoert
The meme creeping into recent Religion Forum threads is that sarcasm and mockery is too mean and devoid of Christian niceness. I say, "Hogwash!"

I couldn't agree with you more. Sarcasm and mockery tend to arrive from others who provide absolutely NO content to the particular thread, only to ridicule individual posters and try to start flame wars to shut those threads down.

Paul when refering to the judizers in Galations wished they would go the whole way and castrate themselves. The self appointed critics would have labeled Paul as a bigot and a hate speaker.

24 posted on 03/24/2010 1:03:29 PM PDT by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: delacoert

St Paul’s wish about those who would bring in circumcision is a classic.

Why cut a little bit, cut it all off!


25 posted on 03/24/2010 1:13:05 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (If I say to you "I'm your friend" ....RUN!)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
St Paul’s wish about those who would bring in circumcision is a classic.

Some here would refer to Paul as a bigot and a hater for that remark.

26 posted on 03/24/2010 1:15:44 PM PDT by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: restornu

Resty, I would LOVE to know what leap of logic had you pair up the use of sarcasm with God’s promise to prepare places in heaven for his children. Do you think He was being sarcastic?


27 posted on 03/24/2010 1:39:03 PM PDT by T Minus Four ("You do not have soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body." C.S. Lewis)
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To: delacoert

;-)


28 posted on 03/24/2010 1:44:13 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously... You'll never live through it.)
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To: restornu

Jesus added the little smily face. Sweet.


29 posted on 03/24/2010 1:47:14 PM PDT by svcw (Jesus comforts the uncomfortable and makes uncomfortable the comfortable.)
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To: T Minus Four

logic..................roflmao


30 posted on 03/24/2010 1:47:53 PM PDT by svcw (Jesus comforts the uncomfortable and makes uncomfortable the comfortable.)
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To: svcw

Shhhh! :-)


31 posted on 03/24/2010 1:48:59 PM PDT by T Minus Four ("You do not have soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body." C.S. Lewis)
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To: restornu

:)


32 posted on 03/24/2010 1:49:38 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

Nope, not at all. Especially when the attempts are directed at the messengers and not the message. Happens quite often and the purpose and motives are highly suspect.


33 posted on 03/24/2010 1:56:40 PM PDT by SZonian (We began as a REPUBLIC, a nation of laws. We became a DEMOCRACY, majority rules. Next step is?)
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To: SZonian

I’ll leave the discernment of purpose and motives to you.


34 posted on 03/24/2010 1:59:16 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

How magnanimous of you.


35 posted on 03/24/2010 2:07:23 PM PDT by SZonian (We began as a REPUBLIC, a nation of laws. We became a DEMOCRACY, majority rules. Next step is?)
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To: restornu

Well Resty, if you won’t answer that question, here’s another:

When Jesus said there were “many mansions”, is that referring to the different kingdoms of heaven: the Celestial, Terrestial and Telestial?


36 posted on 03/24/2010 2:08:53 PM PDT by T Minus Four ("You do not have soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body." C.S. Lewis)
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To: SZonian

Thank you. You’re too kind.


37 posted on 03/24/2010 2:10:44 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: T Minus Four

Its 2 o’clock - watch out! ,-)


38 posted on 03/24/2010 2:14:15 PM PDT by svcw (Jesus comforts the uncomfortable and makes uncomfortable the comfortable.)
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To: svcw
Pssst! What happens at 2:00?
39 posted on 03/24/2010 2:20:10 PM PDT by T Minus Four ("You do not have soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body." C.S. Lewis)
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To: T Minus Four

Trolls crawl out...............and I make myself some tea.


40 posted on 03/24/2010 2:22:36 PM PDT by svcw (Jesus comforts the uncomfortable and makes uncomfortable the comfortable.)
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To: trisham; SZonian
I’ll leave the discernment of purpose and motives to you.

Right /sarc

41 posted on 03/24/2010 2:27:10 PM PDT by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: Godzilla
Right

*********************

Jeepers. Thanks!

42 posted on 03/24/2010 2:28:29 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: restornu

You know, my feelings are getting hurt. You won’t talk to me (pouts)


43 posted on 03/24/2010 2:51:47 PM PDT by T Minus Four ("You do not have soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body." C.S. Lewis)
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To: T Minus Four

Resty, I would LOVE to know what leap of logic had you pair up the use of sarcasm with God’s promise to prepare places in heaven for his children. Do you think He was being sarcastic?

***

I thought the reply was self explanatory to the quote.

“Seems there’s a few of us that can appreciate sarcasm.”

So if there are only a few there would need to be a place for those who think that way!

You know the Father house is very spacious and therefore it covers all degrees of glory!


44 posted on 03/24/2010 3:07:36 PM PDT by restornu
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To: Godzilla
To quote Charles Spurgeon:
45 posted on 03/24/2010 3:12:24 PM PDT by delacoert
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To: restornu; svcw
Resty:I thought the reply was self explanatory to the quote.

Um.....no, sorry

Resty: “Seems there’s a few of us that can appreciate sarcasm.”

I think it's more a matter of being able to dish it out vs taking it.

Resty: "So if there are only a few there would need to be a place for those who think that way!"

are you trying to say that God is promising to make a special mansion in heaven for those who appreciate sarcasm? That doesn't sound right to me.

Resty:You know the Father house is very spacious and therefore it covers all degrees of glory!

Well, Christians don't believe in "degrees of glory". However, I know that LDS do. Whay is confusing to me is the next verse in the chapter you quoted (remember - context, context, context)

When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:3

Is that right? The LDS can't believe this is true. Jesus will only visit the two highr degrees of glory, the Celestial and the Terrestial kingdoms. Those in the lower Telestial kingdom never get to see Jesus again, nor "Heavenly Father"

So is Jesus being sarcastic?

46 posted on 03/24/2010 3:19:45 PM PDT by T Minus Four ("You do not have soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body." C.S. Lewis)
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To: delacoert
To quote Charles Spurgeon:

Oh noes - another of those 'Bigots'

47 posted on 03/24/2010 3:24:23 PM PDT by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: T Minus Four; restornu
Those in the lower Telestial kingdom never get to see Jesus again, nor "Heavenly Father"

Welllll......technically Jesus could go and visit them, but would he want to? They might use sarcasm and that would just be totally disgusting!

48 posted on 03/24/2010 3:39:11 PM PDT by colorcountry (A faith without truth is not true faith.)
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To: colorcountry
Welllll......technically Jesus could go and visit them, but would he want to? They might use sarcasm and that would just be totally disgusting!

Well, who said the sarcastic mansions are in the lowest level of glory?

49 posted on 03/24/2010 3:40:49 PM PDT by T Minus Four ("You do not have soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body." C.S. Lewis)
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To: T Minus Four

Only as far as it is correctly translated.      <rolleyes>

 

 

Did I say that outloud?

50 posted on 03/24/2010 3:50:22 PM PDT by delacoert
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