Pressure, Expectation, Nehemiah

It has been a while since I last wrote. This was not for a lack of things to say, rather because working out how to say everything in my head was a task too great to muster. Also, because there are only so many times I can bear to repeat that same old tale of the ABCD.

The last couple of months have been particularly hard, and I have drawn myself away from God. This was not a deliberate move, it was more a ‘wedding to plan, furniture to paint, job to do, oh no I am sick‘ kind of business that just shunts him slightly into a place of constant, but silenced companion.

This has led to my being a hopeless friend – before some of you jump to correct me this is something I have felt. It has been a burden I have been carrying. I can’t really talk about it entirely in the past tense, as I still feel it now. However, there is more peace in the idea of putting it down.

I don’t say it for sympathy or praise or comfort. I say it because there is the burden of expectation. This is something I put on myself, of what a ‘friend’ should be. I feel, due to the fact I have been more absent, attempting life as a bit of a recluse, I am letting friends down. Not being available for them, being unaware of their need.

Recent weeks at church have been taking us through Nehemiah (legendary man – well worth more of a mention) and I was struck by the fact that he did not ever cave to the burden of expectation, or the pressure from others. He is a man so confident in God and in the task God has set before him that he goes about his business with an extraordinary strength.

I find my (real or percieved) social laziness, brings about a huge sense of pressure and expectation. I carry it, I cry about it, I wish I could be more how I think I should be. I certainly don’t really think to talk to God about it – I am frightfully busy after all.

Now Nehemiah’s task was not ‘being a good friend’ and in fact I don’t really think the desire to be a better friend and Nehemiah’s story are really comparable situations, as they are so different. What I have enjoyed though is the way he handles pressure and expectation.

The thing I really love about Nehemiah, is that so much of his strength comes from his confidence in God’s faithfulness. I don’t think God’s faithfulness, or anything of God comes into how I take on pressure. It often doesn’t occur to me as relevant. Nehemiah would send up one quick arrow prayer and then respond to those speaking. He didn’t ask God to give him detailed instructions for every step. He didn’t ask God to tell him how to do relationship. He studied God’s word, and he trusted in God to work through him.

For him God was at the centre.

It is so hard to remember to send up an arrow prayer when we are feeling under attack – whether perceived or real. It is often even harder to spend time with God when all is good and peaceful. However, reading Nehemiah, I find that he did not carry the weight of expectation. His enemies expected him to fail, his supporters expected him to succeed, or doubted he could just wished he would. This is the kind of pressure that would cripple most. Yet he didn’t stop. He waited when God said wait, then dived in with the knowledge that God would work and do his thing. There is no more to it.

There is a difference between what Nehemiah faced and my little problem of ‘I wish I was a better friend’ but he has inspired me none the less.

Finding time for God

I am too busy for my faith. It’s a controversial thing to say really, as I profess to be a committed and faithful Christian lady who loves God with her whole heart, and is grateful beyond words for Jesus and his saving death on the cross. However, I am too busy for my faith.

This does not mean it has gone anywhere, it means I am in a place where, quite frankly, I don’t have the energy to pray, read the bible, or talk to God. I am finding this current state of being exceptionally frustrating, mostly because the intensity of what I believe and the depth to which I believe it has not changed. I don’t doubt the existence of God, the fact that Jesus came to earth as man and died on the cross creating the opportunity for us to meet with God and have relationship with him. I believe it, I just don’t seem able to reach any sort of emotion about it.

It is a fantastical story, and Christmas has been a time of recognising just how huge the story is. However, despite the apparent absurdity of it I just can’t be bothered to give it the time it deserves. I can sit there and say that I miss it, but it doesn’t mean I do anything to change it. I am lazy.

The thing I doubt more than anything is myself. See the question is now in my head, how am I depressed? I know the story – it’s an illness, which means that it could happen to anyone. However, I have everything I want. I am happy and loved, and yet here I am, at the lowest I have felt in a very long time, with nothing seemingly able to shift it for over 2 months.

Am I just in dreamland? Creating some form illness in order to get away with being exceptionally lazy when it comes to coping?

I know the answer is no, but the longer this goes on with no improvement to my health despite my life getting better and better the more I feel like a fraud. This feeling has helped me to retreat. Church (this is any church, not a particular one) is where I feel the worst. I cannot sit still for the length of a service without getting anxious, so often I find a reason not to go. You feel slightly foolish if you are getting up and down 3 or 4 times in the length of time a toddler can sit still, and can’t help but feel people will be questioning your attentiveness, ability to listen and how committed you really are.

I have pulled back from a lot of my friends, not because I don’t want to see them, but because contact just seems like such an effort. How can you say ‘I can’t be bothered to call you’ without it offending? I am planning the wedding, and enjoying it mostly, and then going to work – and enjoying that. Then spending time with Mike and my family and that is all I can muster.

In the midst of all of this frustration, irritation, laziness and exhaustion I just don’t feel like going to God. What will he do? He will comfort me – he always does and I will come away feeling stronger, but no better. I am tired of being strong. I want to be weak or I want to be free and ‘better’ whatever that means.

I don’t really know what I want to say here. I don’t think I have a huge point to make. Other than the fact that in the midst of it all I know that there is hope to come. I don’t know what it will look like, or when it will come, but despite not talking to God, not spending time with him I know he is there. He is just sitting with me in silence.

20140106-141936.jpg I am looking forward to when I have the energy to find time for God, but in the meantime I will just get on with each day knowing he is with me and waiting patiently, with huge love as I plod on in frustrated depression. I do get the odd little glimmer of hope though. Whilst walking in the garden I came across this snow drop. I like flowers, they talk to me of a creative, imaginative and excited God, full of colour and delight. Seeing this just sitting amongst some very young grass in the middle of the winter, having survived the storms over Christmas spoke of hope to me. In the dark there is something that can bring the tiniest bit of light. Perhaps even enough to get you through a day.

Just being honest…..

Honesty and honour are a couple of words that I am a big fan of. I love honesty – I think the more honestly we live our lives, the better we get along. Honour is essential – if we act without honour to those around us we risk causing them pain, becoming known as untrustworthy and as someone who is dishonest.

So are they the same thing? I would say no. Much of the characteristics that are demonstrated when we are honest and honourable are very similar, however, as the title of this blog could suggest, they are easy to misuse.

What does it mean when someone says ‘I am just being honest’? In my experience it means that you are saying something that you know will upset someone, but want to say it anyway. It is a self justification for being unkind, or a way of getting away with saying something more aggressive than people will otherwise tolerate. Other phrases might spring to your mind, but another that has been pointed out to me is ‘with respect’, which translated means ‘I am about to disrespect you’. I suppose one could be greatful for the warning.

I am thinking about this at the moment because I have seen ‘I am just being honest’ used on more than one occasion on twitter and facebook over recent months (by more than one, read several). It has come, largely, from Christians and I feel that perhaps we need to reassess how we communicate if we feel the need to make such statements publicly.

Social media always has the potential to go further than perhaps we would like it to. It is a public forum where people can see what we are saying to each other. This requires that we are considered in what we post, not with the intention of hiding who we truly are, or of putting on a front, but because, if we want to live in such a way that glorifies God, then this has to encompass every area of our lives.

In 2 Corinthians 5:18 Paul says ‘God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation’, if we therefore have the ministry of reconciliation should we not watch what we say to ensure we do not cause conflict?

This does not mean losing all provocation from our social media interactions – Jesus himself was provocative. Questioning why we are being provocative though would be pretty helpful, is it for the benefit of the reader, or is it to prove a point? If our only goal is to prove that we are right, are we not perhaps causing a conflict where there does not need to be one?

Romans 15:1-6 talks about how we should behave towards each other,

‘We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

The question is, how do we live out such teaching on social media? If we are writing things for the good of others, not to please ourselves, then perhaps sometimes in order to prevent ourselves getting into a place of public argument and statements of ‘I am just being honest’ and is something we feel really needs to be said, would it not be better placed in an email? A direct challenge to the individual who spoke, rather than publicly might have more of an effect.

On the occasion where we are saying something to challenge someone, or cause a justified provocation publicly there is cause to be considered. How do we phrase what we want to say? What is the target audience, and what is it that we are hoping our statements will achieve?

The thing about social media, is it is so easy to send a quick fire response. At this point we start digging a hole, that often we then start frantically trying to back track out of, hence the phrase – ‘I am just being honest’.

Accepting the point that we are redeemed by the death of Jesus on the cross, that we are sons and accepted for everything we are, that our sins are paid for and we cannot separate ourselves from God means that we can speak from that position of security. From that we can choose not to take offence, and we can choose to understand that everyone comes from their own experiences that have shaped their view of the world. Having the grace to think about this before responding, and deciding who we are trying to benefit in responding could help us all.

I must say, I do love a bit of theory and bible – however, putting it into practise is the slightly more challenging aim! My brilliant mentor mentioned the phrase – ‘every encounter needs to be redemptive’. Perhaps this is the line by which we judge what we write. I for one am going to give this a whirl. Correct me where I get it wrong…..

I have written this after conversations with various people including my wonderful mentors Charlie and Jenny, and the amazing Vicky’s. Just for the sake of giving credit where credit is due and all….

Jumping into holes

I am ill. Sitting in my bed, and feeling thoroughly sorry for myself. These moods take over on a regular basis but are made considerably worse by the discomfort caused by an unhappy tummy, a throbbing head and scratchy throat.

So, last night I sat down to chat with my lovely Mr Mike and Chris Russell (wonderful man, writer of this brilliant book – well worth a read!). I like the way he speaks of God, it is somehow relatable in a world that just does not ever seem to make sense. While we were chatting he told me that someone had once told him, that the best way to save someone drowning in quick sand is to jump into the hole with them, to push against them and create a vaccum, this means you can both climb out. It doesn’t really matter if this is true or not, what matters is the image that this creates.

You see, I am an idealist. I don’t think I had ever fully realised the extent of this until recently, I knew it was there, but I was deluded. It is in the last couple of weeks that I realised, life is never going to be easy. There will be occasions when it will be easier than it has been, but there will never be a time in my life when there will not be at least one relationship, somewhere in my life, that is going through a rocky/distant/less than ideal patch. There will never be a time where every single aspect of my life is going perfectly, or a time when my character is so graceful and loving and wonderful, that I won’t get grumpy when I don’t get my way, that I will forgive with ease, and that really my super duper holiness will make the rest of life and all its bumps less traumatic and much simpler.

This realisation hurts. I can’t really hide it. I have known the realities of life for a long time. It is hard, but I guess a part of me was really just holding out, waiting for that time when life will get easier. Now please don’t misunderstand me, this is not a hopeless cry at the state of the world. Life in my experience, works in peaks and troughs and there are bound to be times in my life when I find things significantly easier than I do right now. This is merely a statement of shock at my own belief that at some point I was bound to end up living the dream, blissfully happy, trauma free and content.

I am not entirely sure when this bliss was due to arrive, as I can’t imagine marriage to be without argument or trouble, children to be without any difficulty, job to never cause me upset, or friendships to always run without a hitch. However, believe it I clearly did, it was ‘in the future’ whatever future that happened to be.

Whilst chatting to Chris I realised that this expectation is not all that uncommon. This vague picture of a happy future, ‘when we get there it will be easier/better/more fun’. It is so often the case that we put Jesus into our future. He is in our healing, he is in our success, he will lead us on the path to victory.

The thing is, he is also in our now. This is where the quicksand comes in, when we are drowning (or feel like we are) Jesus will jump into the hole with us. He will be there supporting us, encouraging us, helping us or just being there as additional strength. This does not mean that the whole world, and our entire lives are going to suddenly be made perfect, it doesn’t mean that all the pain will end. It means we are not alone.

This conversation inspired me, but it also made me sad. ‘It’s not enough’ was my response to Chris. Is it allowed to say that Jesus isn’t enough? I don’t know, but he is a reverend and he didn’t flinch. In fact he agreed.

God did not make us to be alone, to do things alone. We were made to be in relationship with him, but also with each other. This made me think about how we, as the church, relate to each other and our lives. There is so much emphasis on the life ‘after’ the trauma. ‘What is your testimony?’ My answer to this question would be fairly bog standard and without much drama, other than the fact that it ends with

‘and I am now living with depression, feeling like I am in a pit I will never escape from, knowing I am happy but also wondering how to feel it, hoping against hope that tomorrow will be different and tomorrow will bring that wonder cure. I am not alone though in this pain, Jesus is with me, and will never leave me. He has sent me his counsellor and comforter, to give me wisdom and strength, but also to give me comfort in this pain. However, the pain is still present and consistent’’

What would happen if that was the testimony we heard in church on a Sunday? Would we feel encouraged?

We as the church need to get better at jumping in the hole with people. We are very good at jumping in with those who are dealing with a short term problem, when there is evidence of change coming. However, we are not so hot when it comes to the long term challenge, to the hole that just keeps growing.

What is the point I want to leave with? I don’t really know! I feel so exhausted all the time, that the idea of hole jumping is quite frankly exhausting. But perhaps that is the point. If I was sharing my hole with some of those around me who are also in a hole, would the pressure perhaps be slightly less? Goodness knows. Let’s go see…

(Slight sidepoint, the point of the hole share is not to hold each other up, but to support each other, an equal distribution of care and support so as not to add additional pressure to any one individual)

Easy as ABCD?

ABCDYesterday I spoke at the Christian New Media conference, looking at the after effects of writing hopeful depression, the church and mental health and being the Archbishop of Canterbury’s daughter. A few people have asked me for a transcript of the talk so here it is! It has not been edited at all, so imagine it being spoken.

I am not one to ‘look before I leap’

I am fairly impulsive, like to be silly, pretty loud on occasion and very excitable!

So, obviously, on the occasion of my father – ridiculously becoming the ABC, I got a little silly. The thing is, it was such a surprise, we didn’t see it coming, so I tweeted.

DadTea CosyI didn’t really know what to expect. September 17th 2012 (the date my niece was born, I don’t memorise my follower count each day!) I had 40 followers on twitter – it wasn’t like I was known. Naively thinking a couple, but not many  might follow me – I mean, I am just me. My father was the one with the fancy hat, I just threw myself in. Didn’t hesitate, think to delete a certain picture of me also wearing a slightly interesting piece of headwear.

Why would I?

I realised quickly though – I had to consider that some think I AM my dad, because I am his daughter. I was confronted with the questions, who am I speaking for? Am I entitled to speak for myself anymore? Am I now a spokesperson for the office of the ABC, and therefore should really tone down the silliness, or could I just continue as I had previously?

My answer is, I am most certainly NOT my dad. I will pick up a giant tea cosy and put it on my head – because I am that way inclined. I potentially might not post it on a public forum though, as now my follower count has broken 4000.

However, and here we get to quote both Spiderman’s uncle AND the Bible – ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ also said as ‘“I am allowed to do anything” but not everything is good for us’ 1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT

A voice – whether chosen or not, needs to be used with care and consideration.

CorruptionI didn’t stop the stupid jokes – dad’s election is corrupt being a fine example, (it was a valid point, it being a ceremonial occasion aside, no where else in the world could have 1 candidate it was illegal to vote against without it being called corruption, it was ceremonial though so blah blah) Anyway, instead of stopping the jokes I run by them by dad first. Fortunately our sense of humour is fairly well matched!

I am me, I speak for myself, but my words still have power.

I cannot just say whatever, I must be cautious and not reckless. A real challenge for a leap pre thinker like myself.

I enjoy writing, it has always been a hobby. I used to write an embarrassingly poor blog, reviewing films. But I started again, and wrote about my depression.Obviously I wanted to start off gently, don’t want to go in too hard. That would be mad.

My father informed me it ‘might get picked up’ so obviously I figured it would be like that first tweet, not news, in tomorrow’s bin.

It didn’t really work out that way.

I felt overwhelmed, encouraged and terrified. I was no longer the ABCD I was the ABCDD (depressed daughter). People knew me, they assumed knowledge. I got advice aplenty, all meant with love and kindness, but frightening in it’s volume. I was out of my depth.

There was huge encouragement, warmth and kindness in the response too, and with 1 in 4 of us having a mental health problem at some point in our lives, it shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was in just how many came forward to say thank you.

Depression is the ‘second biggest cause of disability in the world’ today. What does this mean to us? I am now a part time worker, not because I want it, although I do quite like the extra sleep time! But because I cannot physically manage a full time week. I struggle to make it to church and home group every week, although I try, serving is sporadic at best. I am however present. I am a part of my church and I love it. I WANT to be able to give more, at this point in time I can’t. How many of those that we encounter day to day will be struggling in a similar way. How do we make sure that they feel included.

And this, I guess, is my point – have we changed? If I did not have that all valuable surname of Welby would the blog have been seen?

You have read me and seen me, but have you heard me? If I couldn’t communicate my illness with an apparent ease, was just another person who was always sad and struggling, hadn’t washed in a few days and showed up in church, would anyone have heard me?

At this point the risk is to slip into that accusatory ‘YOU’, however it is we that need to look out.

I am not the spokesperson for depression, I am someone with depression and I have a position from which I am able to speak. I guess the challenge for us all is to pay attention to what the person is saying, as well as who the person is.

We will always have a situation where certain people are given the opportunity at different times in their life to ‘speak’. Our challenge is to look beyond the title they have given themselves. To see the message and the learning that we can take.

In a boxI am not the ABCD, nor the ABCDD, I am Katharine Welby, soon to be Roberts, I have depression and am slightly eccentric, I have so much to say beyond mental health and I don’t want to be put in a box, all dusty and repetitive.

Two things that you could take away from here and do -

1. spend some time talking to someone you know who has a mental health problem, find out their experience, what they need, what helps.

2. spend 20 minutes writing down your own attitude toward mental illness, be entirely honest and then read it back and reflect – does something need to change?

There are many questions I could end with, will we look beyond the labels? Will we listen to, or even seek out voices which don’t come with a platform? Will we look to change when necessary according to what we have heard? being just some of them.

My main point though? Taking it one step at a time, how do we ensure that we are not only willing to listen and sympathise, but that we are willing to change when a failing on our part comes to light.

Let my people go

I have been following the various different organisations that tackle modern slavery around the world for a couple of years. However, I have been fairly passive in my interest. This is not because I don’t want to get involved, more because I am entirely intimidated by the whole thing.

I am a sensitive soul, and it doesn’t take much to make me ‘imagine’ what something is like. it was actually the film ‘Taken’ which really prompted me to start looking at this slavery. It made me so angry that Liam Neeson’s character went to save his daughter, but left all these girls behind. It felt to me, to entirely capture the story of these women. For the majority of slaves in the world, they and their plight is little more than a statistic. All of these women pointed out in Taken were there to paint the scene of the horrors in store for the main character. It was some colour to give the story more urgency.

I love my family, I am a proper home girl really. I like having comforts around me, I am pretty independent, and I like to know what is going on. The idea of being unable to contact my family, of being forced to do what I did not do, being told daily I am useless, feel that there is no hope left, no escape, no freedom. To be sold as a possession to people who care no more for you than they would cattle, I read in an article  the other day that women could be sold for $90! (Can’t find the reference, so don’t quote me as a source!) Even so, the idea that anyone can be sold as property at all is sickening.

I cannot really put into words the fear I feel at the prospect of this kind of thing happening in my neighbourhood. This last week there were raids in Birmingham, the freeing of slaves there. It is here in our country, and we don’t know!

I went to an A21 gala dinner the other night to hear about what they are doing. It was amazing to hear all the stories of what is going on. However, the thing that struck me most was a conversation with one of the women there. She mentioned that the thing that she comes across most in the women they see rescued, is mental health problems. This is not due to forced drug use, or any of the other common thoughts of what happens to these individuals. It is due to the mental destruction of their strength.

These people are told they are nothing, they are worthless, meaningless, that they will never be free, no one wants to help them or set them free. They are told it so consistently that they lose hope, they lose the will to fight, they break.

Depression is something I live with daily. I have all these thoughts in my head, but I have people around to counter them. I live in a comfortable house, I have freedom. To come out of captivity to find that the battle for freedom is only just beginning as you start to fight to find your character again, your mind, yourself, must as a thought in itself be exhausting.

slavesOn Matt Redman’s latest album there is a song called ‘Let my people go’. The lyrics are a call to action:

‘You stand for freedom,

you stand for justice in this world,

so many stolen, slaves to the shadows of this earth,

but these are your sons and daughters God,

and although the darkness seems so strong,

your fire of Justice breaks the night, we hear you cry

Let my people go

I can’t be passive anymore. There are so many problems in this world, and for each of us we need to work out what it is we want to fight. I am joining in this one. There should not be 30 million slaves in the world today, this has to end.

The A21 home page says ‘No one can do everything, but everyone can do something‘ I don’t even know what I can do yet, but I guess we will find out…..

For any more information on this issue, here are a couple of organisations working in it – not all by any means, but a start:


My thoughts have been very serious of late, and so, I shall return from a blogging absence with no hoo ha or excitement and just jump right on in there.



Why am I stating that is a joke? Because purity is one of those words that has been twisted and warped. Perhaps this is only in my mind, but for me it is a damaged word. Pure – in the sense of pure gold – is not twisted, but put any form of religious connotation onto it and it is messed up for me.

This is a subject I want to delve into (if I manage to get into write mode more often) and theology will follow, however, for now here is some of my waffle on the subject.

Innocence and naivety have always been teased out of me, and purity has generally, in my experience, been put into the box of either innocence and lack of exposure to the world, or a naivety of what the world really was.

I have not always lived a pure life. I have tried and failed, and I have decided I didn’t want to try as it was a waste of time. I am now in the place of desperately wanting to be pure but it really ain’t that easy in the end.

The thing is though, when we talk about purity the first thing we think of usually, is sex. Sex is sex, no more no less. Purity is so much more. Blessed are the pure in heart – Jesus says in Matthew 5:8. So if it is about the heart it comes a long way before we get to sex.

Purity covers so much of who we are and how we speak. It is not something we need to run from, hide from or cower from, it is something we should seek out.

The thing is, as my mindset changes, as I begin to try to work out the meanings of all of these words – honour, purity, love, grace, hope, joy – and seek to see what the bible is wanting to say, I find a pure heart is something I want. I want to encourage those around me in seeking after purity, not for the sake of judgment or condemnation but because with a pure heart we are able to see more of God.

So many conversations I am in, part of, the instigator of, have at some point a joke, innuendo, direct reference to something that could not be considered pure. It is almost like there is a certain pride to be had in being a ‘cool Christian’ (I don’t know what that looks like either). We can show the world that although we still believe in these ancient texts we know what you are dealing with, we are relate able. The problem with this, is that in our desire to seem ‘normal’ we lose the very thing that makes us different in the first place.

I learnt a lot about the world whilst in the police. When I joined I would blush if someone said ‘sex’, now I almost take pride in the fact that it is only the rudest of conversations that will make me blush (please don’t try!). I have worn this fact almost as a badge of honour, and am more than happy to take a joke one step further to show ‘I am more worldly than you’.

It is a ridiculous way of thinking, and one I am truly ashamed of, the thing is though, that we so often don’t realise the power of our words. If I, in a moment of warped pride state something in jest, someone near me can be led toward a temptation that they had previously succeeded in avoiding or resisting.

Talk of sex is important – it should not be a taboo subject in church, jokes of sex are unhelpful. They make the whole thing seem less meaningful, more common, and suddenly temptation is harder to resist. We talk briefly as a joke of foreplay, and someone else within our group loses their battle against thoughts that have been building, they sleep with their partner/watch porn or just go down an unhealthy thought pattern and the next day have to start again feeling guilty and ashamed. Our little joke has led our brother/sister in Christ to fall, but they then feel alone in picking up the pieces.

How we get the balance between not creating a taboo subject within church, not appearing judgmental within and without church and maintaining a pure heart is a mystery to me. However, it is a mystery I feel that we are in need of unraveling. A pure heart will be reflected in the way we speak of and to each other, in how we disciple each other, and in how we encourage each other.

I am pure by the blood of the lamb. That is all I have, but that is so much more than enough. It is a transformative thing. So here, I shall state – I want to have a pure heart. To do this, I need to watch my thoughts, watch my words and watch my actions.

Or that’s the plan anyway. Purity is a sacrifice. It is not something that comes from a ‘holier than thou’ attitude, as such a thing lacks purity of heart in itself. It is a matter of choosing to reject certain thoughts, or not to participate in or encourage certain conversations. It is a matter of looking to God first, and not seeking after what others might think.

Jesus was pure. He never sinned, and yet he was the one most likely to be found with those left the furthest from society. I think it is worth a go.