Breaking Taboo

When it comes to favorite pastimes and surefire sources of laughter, I’m reminded of Taboo, the game known for its outrageous cards and legendary buzzer.

Yet, as I pondered the name of the game, upon finding it in my closet, I found myself mentally adrift. In church culture, has the word “taboo” become, well, taboo? And if the answer is “yes”, how do we contend?

Before we pursue answers, we have to realize some key truths about the “church-taboo” dichotomy.

For one thing, the church at large has developed this idea that the unacceptable can’t be corporately discussed - that intolerable is wildfire, only contained if quarantined into smaller fires, extinguished behind the veil of conditioned understanding. However, this type of veil opposes the living, breathing Word of God. Why? Because this version of veil shields believers from deeper dependence on the Holy Spirit. Although secular independence says otherwise, the fact is only God can establish veils and draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable.

When we study the Bible, we discover a certain curtain that, on rare occasions, lifts up to reveal things normally hidden (2 Kings 2, 6). We see this with the birth and baptism of Jesus, the transfiguration and the prophetic visions of Joseph and Daniel. With each uncovering, God’s absolute authority and power allows glory to be encountered for the sake of communion at a specific time. And when authority, power and glory intersects, God manifests His perfect love through the disclosure of plan and purpose; however, as spectacular as this is, challenges often stand in the way of whole-hearted devotion and complete obedience. Although supportive evidence abounds as to why this is so, what I can say is the body of Christ must be careful not to fabricate veils to shun what culture considers “taboo”. For only God can authorize the institution of veils into relationship. When we investigate the Scriptures, there is a higher spiritual framework to embrace, one that requires routine heart inspection.

In examining ourselves, we cannot be afraid to ask the following questions concerning the “taboo dilemma”:
  • Ø  Do we not see how passive-aggressive approaches fuel the church-wide temptation to cower in the face of discomfited dialogue?
  • Ø  Do we not realize how lax stances customize the Word to tailor agenda, needs and results, thus, dowsing the power of the Holy Spirit?
  • Ø  Do we not care that such a mentality (see bold text) quenches holy fire to render hearts for the sake of avoiding all that is taboo?

Friends, we must realize that truth calls us to actively engage the unbearable, address the inexcusable and conquer the impossible. God is not honored with overprotective inclusivity - when the heaven-bound tiptoe around imperative subject matter, treating His absolutes like some fragile, fine china, when contrarily, they are steadfast, strong and enduring (see Psalms, John 1 & 3, Colossians 1, 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1, James 1). He is not glorified when the church customizes the identity and joy of sanctified dialogue, or exalted when the power of Scripture and Spirit is dialed down to scale partial faith.

But God is honored when His people are united in educating the lost, the confused and the suffering (Isaiah 58, Romans 1). He is glorified when the church lives out boldness in fullness, operating out of surrendered connection to His heart, without the joke of pretentious religion (Isaiah 2, Psalm 73).  He is exalted when discernment is balanced into a desire to emphasize relationship over regulation, and when courage encourages one to talk about the socially unacceptable in a perfectly acceptable way*.

Truly, if anything is to be deemed “taboo”, then the church’s futile attempt to conform to unholy standards should be high on the list. Seriously, just say “boo” to “taboo”, grow up (the Jesus way), love with hope, love with faith, encourage the courage in others, while standing tall in the face of fear. Friends, the time is ripe and the time is now to tackle difficult issues that modern Christianity is facing. In the meantime, ask the Lord to hone your patience and discernment. Ask Him to fill you with a greater hunger to seek Him consistently and persistently. And as momentum collides with revelation, you’ll understand how “taboo” is severely overrated in contrast to the thrill of the unveiled God.

* Out of a posture of obedience and worship.
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