NSFW: Not Safe For Work. Used to describe Internet content generally inappropriate for the typical workplace, i.e., would not be acceptable in the presence of your boss and colleagues. – Urban Dictionary
Christians need to embrace the term “NSFC”: Not Safe For Church.
Most Christians have said a joke, watched a movie, held a conversation or listened to a song that was definitely a little NSFC. The joke, movie, conversation or song doesn’t necessarily have to be sinful, just not the kind of material best suited for the Lord’s house. We wouldn’t mind that material’s presence in our own houses, but the standards are a little higher for God’s house.
Here are a few things that are definitely NSFC.
Boxed wine being NSFC has nothing to do with alcohol but everything to do with class. Even before I started drinking wine, I knew that I didn’t want to have anything to do with boxed wine. In my church we use grape juice for communion. In traditions that use actual wine, though, boxed wine would have to be NSFC; the symbol of Christ’s spilled blood deserves to come in a bottle, not a bag in a box.
Franzia is one of the more popular boxed wines. Their website has images of ethnically and generationally diverse people, gathered around a table, enjoying a meal and a glass of their fine wine. Something they don’t show, though, is the shame one feels when pouring wine out of a spigot. Maybe there’s a sense of nostalgia that comes from drinking wine the same way you drank out of a hose.
It’s rather ironic that the daughter of a pastor would end up on the NSFC list. Katy Perry makes a lot of catchy, well produced music. Unfortunately, lyrics about sex on the beach and going all the way tonight, are very NSFC. Last summer it was a lot of fun to drive around town with the windows down, blaring “California Girls”. Right now it wouldn’t be that bad to listen to “Firework” while on a run; shooting across the pavement like you shoot across the sky. Once you shoot off the street and into church, though, Katy Perry needs to stay outside, or at least in the narthex.
I preached at our church this past weekend and used a clip from Office Space as an illustration. I was speaking about work so Office Space seemed like an ideal movie. The clip I showed had nothing objectionable but the same can’t be said about the rest of the movie. The movie has a lot of cussing but nothing that I feel pulls me away from God. Even though I feel that way about the movie, I still had to put an NSFC label on Office Space. In my sermon I said that the clip highlights an appropriate point, but other than that I couldn’t condone the movie.
A lot of movies seem to fall in the gray area between God’s definite boundaries. Showgirls is definitely wrong but then there are a lot of movies that aren’t as black and white. The Shawshank Redemption is rated R, it has cussing and some pretty harsh scenes. It’s also a great movie and captures the indomitable nature of the human spirit. It’s a great movie, it doesn’t lead me to sin but is still probably NSFC.
Someone needs to clearly define what is and what isn’t NSFC. Is it like the Supreme Court’s ruling on obscenity: we know it when we see it? Or can some intrepid Christians create some charts and graphs to help us all decide what makes something NSFC? It would be nice to take any joke, movie, conversation or song, plug it into an equation and receive a definitive answer as to whether it is or isn’t NSFC.
Once that equation is in place, we can tackle the more profound question: if something is NSFC, should we really have it as a part of our lives to begin with?
Hopefully that equation is a long time in coming. I don’t want Battlestar Galactica to be ruled NSFC.
What else do Christians do that might not be sinful but might be NSFC?