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4/03/2006

CATHOLIC GETS KICKED AND SO DO I

"I don't listen to Christian music or anything but that kicked ass," she said.

"Thank you."

I want to thank her right now and everyone else at St. Norbert College who came to my show tonight, leave this post at that and hit "publish." But I can't. I know my readers too well. They're a lot like me. And I know I'll be telling everyone at ikon tomorrow night that we can't do anything - no matter how funny to us, no matter how harmless to us, no matter how trivial to us - if we know it would confuse any other fellow Christian trying to discern virtue from vice. So I have to explain why I used that tiny word now. I have to make this post more boring to me by adding words on top of words in hopes that this post inspires us to ponder more than it plants confusion and births attacks.

There's no appendix in the back of my bible listing the "bad" words. Is there one in yours? God never wrote such a list. I know this. But once I didn't. I used to keep a list of my own. You may have a list too. You may have used the words on that list before you believed the story of Jesus to be true and you may now associate those words with that old pre-faith life of yours. And you may be shocked, even sickened and angered, at my using them because of that, because they belong to that old life and not the new life you and I have in common because of our shared faith. Those words trip you now. Even a three letter one.

Tonight I used a word on your list when quoting a girl from tonight's show because the word was humorous and profound all at once - for me. See, I'm used to playing at "Christian" colleges and universities where church going people like me sit calmly in their seats and seem at times to be tolerating my faith more than celebrating it along with me. I'm grateful for the opportunities I have weekly to be on these campuses but honestly the passion isn't too palpable much of the time - nor is it all that evident in my own expression and words off stage. And maybe that's fine. Maybe faith isn't supposed to be something that veers us out of control, that's always written on our face, that jerks us from our staid posture and undermines our attempts at acceptable eloquence.

I don't know. But I know I appreciated hearing something different from that girl's mouth tonight: A student who doesn't like things labeled "Christian", who didn't know better than to say "ass" to me - a minister, who didn't care what I thought of her or how she sounded to my ears, who was overwhelmed and out of control with excitement and gratitude for what was to her a life changing evening - what to so many others is just a song and sermon.

God did something to her or in her or for her and she didn't have more pleasant palatable pious words to describe the encounter and didn't want to take the time to find them. She was bursting with thrill. She was honest. She was herself. And the least of her worries was whether these words of hers were "good" or "bad" or on our lists.

Which makes me wonder if sometimes we worry about whether everyone else in our club is staying inside the "good" lines, minding our lists, because we haven't encountered the God who gives us bigger things to look at. I know that's true for me at least.

I want to be kicked - to be moved beyond caring how I come across, to be moved beyond words. And I almost was tonight. But then I remembered I have a responsibility to care how Christ comes across to you, to weigh my words so they don't cause confusion, to put your faith above my exuberance and freedom. I remembered 1 Corinthians 8.

Practicing what I preach sure sucks. Can I say "sucks?"

65 Comments:

Anonymous Nick said...

you most certainly can.

this post surely kicked ass as well. thanks.

4/03/2006  
Blogger hal. said...

Thank you.

4/04/2006  
Anonymous bs said...

wish i could be there tuesday. make Brink get this one online soon. have fun.

4/04/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Excellent post Shaun! I have that "list" too, but I think what bugs me most is that I do still use that list; more often than I'd like. You really kicked me with this post to be sure. I'm so worried about how people will take what I say that I don't proclaim Christ as I should, I don't often use words to tell others about Christ because I'm scared they'll reject me. How stupid is that? Why should I care what anyone thinks of me? I am the temple of the Holy Spirit and there's nothing finer to be ever. Besides, they're not rejecting me really, they're rejecting Christ. That's what should really make me want to kick ass, but it doesn't. and that just sucks.

Beth

4/04/2006  
Anonymous keith said...

We should also consider Eph. 5:4 which gives specific instruction to not use any "obscenity." As you said, we must consider what belongs on the obscenity list, and some would argue that growing desensitization to some "bad" words provides greater liberty. I believe, however, that most people in our culture, no matter how they use them, have a pretty common understanding of what is obscene. I would even argue that there is a global list that is pretty common, based on meaning of course. In this light, I believe Christians would do well to avoid them altogether. Besides, I've never heard of anyone who reached the end of their life and said, "I wish that I had cussed more."

4/04/2006  
Blogger Hale-Yeah! said...

Nice keith, "i wish that i had cussed more". That's hilarious! It all comes down to the heart of things. I don't care if you get a tattoo, I want one, but if you're getting it just to make christians mad, then question your motives. Smoking won't send you to hell, but if you're bound to something that you can't quit, it's called addiction and therefore maybe idolatry. I don't care if you drink, but if you're nursing the bottle all the time in a way that says, "look at me, i'm a christian and i can drink", then check your motives. My pastor cussed from the pulpit a couple weeks ago and it was heartfelt and honest. I liked it. not because he cussed but because it really showed his frustration and passion that some of really needed a "spiritual kick in the ass!" Shaun, I honestly think that i'm on the same page as you, because I believe in honest expression and not being legalistic. i just wanted to make sure we are relevant for relevant's sake. i'm tired of hearing church people saying, "see, christians can have fun too..." it's like we are trying to have fun after we apply all the "rules" that we put on ourselves. we have the ultimate source of joy and truest muse for our artwork, so let's stop emulating the world's good times and start living our own.

4/04/2006  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

According to me Shaun you're safe and okay when using the word sucks nothing wrong with that it's the equivalent of saying
"It creates a forceful vacuum" except in one word. According to my mom you should get your mouth washed out with soap if you say it again. Trust me getting a bar of Dove down the throat doesn't taste well at all. I know from experience because I said Golly three times when I was of the innocent age of 4. There are a ton of words on my mom's list. And just to be ridiculous here's a few of them...
Dang
Heck
Darn
Gosh
Golly
Gosh-darn
Geez or Jeez
Crap
Suck
Piss
Freakin or Frikin
I'm older now and sometimes I use some of these words. Don't get a bar of soap down my throat but I get a warning. But also to get around those words I make up words of my own like...
Snot
Snap
Cow
Purple Flying Monkey Poo
Fudge Monkey
Mik-da (which is cursing in Jaffa for those of you [if any] that know what a Jaffa is)
I know there’s more that just kind of come out spur of the moment but I’m not really sure what those are right now. So yeah, make your own list it can be lots of fun. :)

4/04/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Yes, of couse you can say sucks! I say it! Probably shouldn't, but I do.

I just keep the verse that says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is good for building eachother up" in the forefront of my mind when speaking. I have had a HUGE problem with swearing ever since freshman year of high school. Coming from a homeschooled background (4th grade-technically freshman year, but that's a long story. I'll blog it tonight for those of you who are interested), ANY swear word, whether it be as mild as d*** or as horrible as f*** was something that made me literally shake. I was in TOTAL fear of what God would do to me or say to me if I EVER uttered a word like that. Shoot,I was even afraid to say "God" the wrong way. Then, freshman year, the "d****s" started. It's had it's highs and lows ever since but freshman year of COLLEGE, you've got the d****s, the s****s, the whatever....Any and every. It's disgusting and I hate it.
So because it's something I struggle with, it really helps to have Christians around who don't use those words, even if it is kinda funny (which sometimes, I admit, it fits the situation perfectly when someones says an innapropriate word).
I mean, we all mess up, slip, oops, but I've always appreciated people who don't say them, because them I'm less inclined to say them, and then I'm less likely to sin with my mouth. The verses in James that say how the same mouth praises God and the same mouth curses. That always hits me, and I wish it hit more people.
Luv ya'll!
~*Amb

4/04/2006  
Anonymous Jon Haarstad said...

How often do we get so uber-sensitive to not say the wrong thing as believers...that we become bland and un-passionate people. To me the whole issue of the words we use is largely a reflection of our intellect and the sort of cussing that irritates me the most is the lazy sort that comes from people who have a tiny vocabulary and try to talk big with four letter words. To which I respond with...*yawn*. How do we as believers express our angst...especially our righteous angst with things and people around us? Even Christ (oh yes, here it comes) used strong language. For those biblical scholars out there, calling someone a "brood of vipers" or any animal was, in that time and place, a VERY strong expression and I'm not going to go so far as to say X = Y in today's language but the point is that even Christ had strong words for things that he was passionate about. The world will recognize passion...and that's something I think that many believers have largely neutered ourselves from being - passionate people who serve a passionate God.

4/04/2006  
Blogger stephen said...

Wait, what's wrong with donkeys?

4/04/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Huh? I'm lost...

So are you (Jon, is it?) saying that it's ok to swear to show passion??

Aren't there better ways to show passion for God than using foul language?

4/04/2006  
Anonymous Jon said...

betheltraumarn - Don't be lost - I'm not trying to trivialize the whole matter but language itself is a constantly changing thing and what's offense to one person in one setting, is totally unoffensive to another (example - the word d*mn is not considering in anyway offensive in other countries like Australia and is as normal as saying "shucks" or "fiddle-sticks"). Of course we need to be mindful of what we say and I'm not defending or promoting a pro-swearing platform...far from it. In fact, the words we use reflect the heart that is inside so our words are in many ways a window into our souls. But I am weary of my fellow believers getting so worked up about things so trivial when it comes down to us trying to make everyone else talk, walk, sing and act exactly like us...or else they're sinners. Last I checked - I have no power to save or condemn. We do need to be careful what we say - but I would encourage all of us to be more focused on saying and speaking words of life and substance than whether or not we we speak a word from "the list" (oh my). I've had similar experiences as Shaun described in this post and I've received it as it was given...in sincerity and appreciation.

4/04/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... Shaun did you hit a nerve or what?

I only cuss when it's funny.

brody

4/04/2006  
Anonymous Jon said...

Nice one Brody... yeah, this is getting to be a bit of a heavy discussion - for good or for ill...not sure which. Sometimes we just have to look in the mirror and laugh cause we take ourselves too seriously.

Booyah!

Ok...I'm done now.

4/04/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

What a "bad" word is, is often dependent on the culture as Jon was saying. Cussing is in many ways a cultural sin, like so many other things.
I don't know why we get so offended when we hear these words...I don't know that it's always judgement we are passing, or that when we hear these words spoken by fellow believers it's just jolting...because we expect to find a sort of sanctuary or breeding ground of life with others who profess our faith. Just offering up some thoughts. I just think if a believer is offended or gets quiet or seems surprised by the words spoken, it doesnt' necessarily mean they are passing judgement on the speaker.

4/04/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

O_ooooooooo, Jon I finally get it! haha...Took me a sec but I get it now. I think you have some good pooints.

I was also thinking as I was skimming through the more recent comments, that we have to be careful what we say, cos we do hold a certian standard as Christians, and the world expects that standard to be upheld (maybe not perfectly, but to whatever degree...I know I was in high school. EVERYONE knew I was a Christian & I was put through some really horrible things because of it, but they all noticed if I messed up bigtime. I mean EVERYONE noticed.) and if we say stuff that goes against that standard (like swearing, since we're on the topic) they notice, and believe it or not, that causes some people to think less of Christians. I've met so many people that have said "this person did this and that just pushed me away from Christianity alltogether." Like that's sad...anyways, more of my random ramblings...haha :)
Luv ya'll
~*Amb

4/04/2006  
Anonymous mandy said...

This is an interesting topic to think about. What is it that make those words so wrong, anyway? They are just cultural taboos, I guess. Personally, I choose not to use them, but at the same time it doesn't necessarily horrify me to hear someone else say one every now and then. Also, why do we look down so much on cussing while allowing things like gossip, slander and lying as if they are no big deal? Just a thought.

4/04/2006  
Anonymous keith said...

gossip, slander, and lying: all big deals

4/04/2006  
Blogger Kathryn said...

cool story. the girl was being herself, talking like herself, appreciating what you did. I esp. like the last 2 paragraphs of this post. I want bigger. . i want God - not club rules and such

4/04/2006  
Anonymous c long said...

Shaun, I'd be refreshed too. I try to go into every moment expecting to get my toes stepped on or my butt (my mom didn't let us say that growing up...and the f word in our house was fart...) kicked or my breathe taken away by the awesome nature of my God. I'm with you. Sometimes it feels like people go to church or "christian" concerts to say they did, not because they are expecting to be knocked on their butts, never to be the same again. Kudos to you for making that happen to I'm sure more than one unsuspecting student. Just one more proof of the depth of your relevance. Carry on!

4/04/2006  
Anonymous Jess said...

Wow, looks like everyone has something to say abou this huh. Our faith, our relationship with God is definitely complicated (but what relationship isn't). I guess with everything (even swearing, or cussing as those of you in the USA say) it comes down to your heart. If you are living for God (and others) then what motivates your heart will be evident in your actions and words. God doesn't want us to live by a set of rules but He doesn't want us to be a stumbling block for others either. It's hard, but totally worth it. I have no idea if I am making sense so I might stop now.

Oh yeah, damn while not considered offensive by some in Australia is still considered offensive by some of us here in the land of OZ (but you are right Jon, for most it isn't).

4/04/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the most amazing, faithful people I know use some of the crudest language you'll ever hear. Yet they are the only people who will give you a piggy-back ride up the stairs after you've had an asthma attack, or pick up your books when some football player just knocked them out of your arms, or have a kind and tender word for you when you are down in the dumps. Maybe their don't have the traditional "Christian" background and their mouths aren't pristine, but I would rather hang out with those sort of people any day rather than those who will never swear and act all high and mighty. Their hearts are with God, even if their mouths aren't.

4/05/2006  
Blogger daniel said...

i remember when a guy in my church's band came back from a christian conference in another town and stood up the front of church and said "God kicked some arse this weekend!" and no one mentioned anything about it except i knew old people would be having minor strokes.

i used to be a swearing nazi, looking down on anyone who swore. I'm more relaxed about it now, except i don't like gratuitous & offensive swearing.

4/05/2006  
Blogger Kathy said...

WoW! These have been fun to read. I loved the post. It was refreshing. Your post created many different responses. Just like when 5 people see a accident you will get 5 different stories.

Keep us on our toes Shaun! It is good for us.

Kathy

4/05/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

When I was in college (Baylor University) I had to go to weekly chapel and a local activist for the poor, Jimmy Dorrell, spoke about world hunger. At one point he said (I don't remember the exact stat), "40,000 children die every hour and we Christians don't seem to give a damn!"

Needless to say, everyone was stunned. We were in the Bible Belt. You do NOT cuss at Chapel Forum at Baylor. We were all wondering when he was gonna get the hook.

Then he said, "And you all care more about the fact that I just said "damn" than the fact the 40,000 CHILDREN die everyday."

That has convicted me everytime I think about it. How often do we as Christians worry more about what we shouldn't do than what we should do? Are we doing what we should do?

I would hope that even if I cussed a blue streak that my other actions would speak even more loudly about the love, mercy and compassion of Jesus.

4/05/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Maybe like a certain Irish rock star?

4/05/2006  
Blogger methy said...

You are a better man than I (even though I am a woman) because I would have posted the dialogue and left it at that. Let all of the others fight it out.

4/05/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

But what about "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks"?
And what about the kind of witness we give when we say stuff like that?

I think being @ Bethel has made me more sensitive and aware of what comes out of my mouth and head, but mostly what comes out of my heart.
What you say is what's in your heart, and what you say is what other people (Christian or non Christian) hear. And believe me, the latter are watching us closer than you think.

4/05/2006  
Anonymous mandy (bethel college student) said...

A response to Keith's response:

Exactly. But I've known a lot of Christian people who would never allow a swear word to slip from their mouths but who would gossip up a storm if given the chance (please excuse the cliche). Sadly, I sometimes catch myself in the midst of a good gossip spree and have to stop.

4/05/2006  
Anonymous Cpt. Crayon said...

This just in from Apple.com...
HELL FREEZES OVER

4/05/2006  
Anonymous Cpt. Crayon said...

Now, on topic...

I'm not sure that cursing is as pivotal as...hmm...let's say sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, or carousing, but even in all these, the point is that people should not practice sin. If we slip, there is grace, but grace does not give us license to stumble. If cursing is a habitual chain for someone, then that person should, through the blood of Jesus, break it.

But our freedom should not cause a stumble...

"For you are called to freedom, brothers; only don't use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

If cursing causes stumbling, forget it! If being a wad about everything causes stumbling, forget it!

"Hatred stirs up conflicts, but love covers all offenses."

If I'm not coherent, forget me!

4/05/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

betheltraumarn,

While I really do think we're on the same page about cussing, I think that the difference lies in the importance we place on using good language. I think there's a hyper-focus on it in the Christian community.

While what you say may be what's in your heart, what we say ISN'T who we are. I say that I want to floss everyday. I don't. I say that I want to drink 8 glasses of water everyday. I don't.

I think that's human nature. We, as Christians can have the cleanest language, but if we aren't giving to the poor, if we aren't loving our neighbor (even though he cusses), if we aren't laying down our lives for others in the name and for the glory of Jesus - then we're just resounding gongs and clanging cymbals.

Would you rather have someone say they love you - or live like it?

4/05/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

So are you focusing more on the actions associated with the words?? I'm kind of confused...but that's not hard to do ;p

To me, it sounds like people are saying "yeah, we shouldn't swear" but then kind of expecting people to ignore what can/could/does come out of their mouths and focus on what they DO, as oppossed to focusing on what they do AND say. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, cos I probably am, but that's my impression at this point...
Luv ya'll
Amb
PS- ya'll can call me Amb or Amberle, you know :)

4/05/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Amb,
I think it's kind of like that quote I mentioned earlier.

The guy at my chapel that said, "And you care more about the fact that I just said Damn, than the fact that 40,000 children will die today of hunger."

40,000 children will die today of hunger.

It just seems like our focus is off. Way off. I think that if Christians devoted as much time to compassion as we do to being piety police, then I think the world would be a different place.

I don't mean to pick on you Amberle. I just was thinking about this the other day and it's fresh on my mind. I really appreciate your input and thoughts! Thanks for letting me rant.

4/05/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Kat-
No, it's totally cool :) It's SO nice to be in a conversation where people don't just blow up...I've been in WAY too many of those, so civilised conversation is a good thing :)

I think I understand what you are saying, & I think you're right, mostly...I think? Ha, I don't know...lol been a long day.
Umm...I think we shouldn't be as focused on policing people's mouths, (which we kind of should other believers cos they need to uphold a good witness) as we are on say the dying kids in Africa or whatever, but what we say is still an important issue, and it should be at least somewhere closer to our foreheads than the back, you know?
Anyways, thansk for sharing :)

Amb

4/05/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

Bethel,


I think that maybe another problem is that we are so concerned with making sure that we dont use "bad" words to stress a point that we can actually appear more pious than pure and borderline Pharisitical. Strong Language is used throughout the bible, from Solomon about his wife to Paul about people who should "just get it over with and cut their testicles off" Galatians 5:12

I imagine that it is left to each believer to decide what they should say and in what circumstance, and I know that the world is watching us, but they are usually watching for double standards. This is what the Pharisees were giving, and that is what Jesus was railing against. If you are saying, "dont cuss" and know that "they" are watching you, then well, you kinda have to stick to your guns. but if you are not saying that, then your not obligated, and hopefully you use words that will communicate the message of Christ in the best way possible.

I love the book "Conversations with Bono" there is this part where he is talking talking about Grace and he uses the "s" word, which ill blot out here so as not to offend.

Bono: "But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity."

here is a guy that not only some sinners are watching but literally the whole world is watching. And guess what, the world is listening. In actuality the world reads this and says, "hey, he just said s-h-i-t in the same paragraph as the grace and forgivenss through Jesus Christ, maybe knowing Jesus is less about that other stuff ive been waiting for Christians to prove themselves wrong about, and more about something else.

Anyway just some thoughts

Seth

4/05/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Good stuff Seth!

4/05/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Strong language yes, but it wasn't swearing...Otherwise why would "do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths..." be in the Bible?

Are you saying that like, unbelievers might get a 'better' view of us if they see us mess up? Like are you saying that they might think we're trying to be all holier than thou by not swearing & being sensitive when people/believers do, that they'll see we mess up too?
Again, please correct me if I'm wrong.
I'd agree with that statement to a certian extent, I think, but I still think swearing can be more dangerous than it seems.

4/05/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shaun-
Would you want your children to walk around saying these words...I don't think so!

-Heather

4/05/2006  
Blogger Stephen said...

Betheltraumarn, you said: "Strong language yes, but it wasn't swearing...Otherwise why would "do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths..." be in the Bible?".

What then is strong language?

So what you're telling us is that calling someone a generation of vipers is "wholesome talk"?

4/05/2006  
Blogger *The Blogstar said...

Frikin A.


:)

4/05/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

Kat,

I'm currently in seminary at Truett here at Baylor. Jimmy, whom I know, actually borrowed that line from Tony Campolo. Tony's original quote was, "I have three things I'd like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a shit. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night." He's said it numerous times and he even still has the huevos to say it in churches. I love it.

I've worked for years in the entertainment industry. I have never once had a conversation with someone about cussing. The words we use mean nothing without the content and meaning behind them. On one side of this coin are so-called 'cuss' words. On the other is Christian-ese. Neither set of words means anything apart from the content behind them. I can have a very 'unwholesome' or 'obscene' conversation without using a single 'cuss' word. I can also have a very uplifting and saving conversation without using meaningless phrases like 'personal relationship with Jesus.' Language is culturally tied and agreed upon. It is only among ourselves, largely in the American South, that we get our panties in a twist over these stupid words. No one else cares. Like I said, I've never had a conversation about cussing with a non-believer.

What we mean has to carry more weight than what we say. What does 'shoot' mean? What does 'darn' mean? What does 'friggin' mean? Are these anything more than substitutes for 'cuss' words? Don't we mean the same thing when we say them? Don't we have the same intent? If we speak in hate or anger it doesn't matter what words we use. Likewise in love.

Yes, Paul's speech about believer's freedom comes in to play. I'm not advocating saying shit in the pulpit. It wouldn't be beneficial. But not everyone lives in a world surrounded by those who would stumble because of words. Nor should we if we hope to reach the world.

These kinds of distractionary concerns are why we're not reaching the world. They are definitely watching, but not to see if we cuss.

4/06/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

By the way, Kat, I didn't mean for that whole post to be directed at you. Just the part about Jimmy. Sorry about that. As I looked back over it, I realized that it seemed like the whole thing was singling you out. Pardon for that, please.

4/06/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

cachinnator,
No problem. I had thought that Jimmy was paraphrasing someone, but I didn't know who. Thanks for the details.

I love the last line you wrote.

So what should we do? We've spent days talking about how cussing is so unimportant in the great scheme of things. There are so many more important things we can do. Like what? Let's take this discussion and turn it into action.

Perhaps we could start here.

4/06/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

Great place to start, Kat. I just hosted a screening at my theatre in Waco. I would encourage everyone reading to make sure it screens in their area too. Great stuff, Kat. God bless!

4/06/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Kat, I love your love for people. It's inspiring.

Cachinnator, will you be my new best friend?

Alright, seriously, what an interesting read you guys have created on this post. You know more than one interviewer yesterday at Gospel Music Week in Nashville said they were reading this post's comments - your words are seeping into the subculture that is Christian music and into the Church around the world - so we all need to think and place peace and love above all other things in our brains before we post or comment. The blogosphere has made us all equally influential in a way - that means you, not just me.

Lastly, it's odd to me that anyone reads my blog, much less that people contribute their thoughts and time to making it a dialogue and not a monologue. Amazing. Thank you for ALL your thoughts, even the ones I disagree with. They all made me think and respond in some way. And that's how I grow. Thanks for your contributions.

You complete me ; )

SG

4/06/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Stephen:
Am I? Maybe?...I guess I'm not saying that's not strong language, but isn't there a difference between something God deems 'unwholesome' and something He deems "strong language"? I don't think the same God who called a bunch of pharisess a 'brood of vipers' would turn around & say "do not let any unwholesome talk..." if 'brood of vipers' was 'wholesome'. Wow, did that make sense??
Umm...what Jesus said must have not been on the same level as swearing in the least, at the very least, I would say. Cos God can't be hypocritical.
I'm not really sure how to resolve this whole thing...I think I'm pretty much wrung dry with this one...anyone else?

4/06/2006  
Blogger Jeff Prosser said...

I think we sometimes worry more about our witness to other Christians, than our witness to unbelievers.

You go Shawn...great post!

4/06/2006  
Blogger Tracy said...

You sure can! Thank you, my brother, for that most refreshing post!

4/06/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Good job guys :)
Shaun, you rock, thanks for making ME think! I generally don't really want to listen to other people's side of th story cos I'm so set in mine (still am), but I think doing this has helped me to listen to other people, and not just hear them, AND to reason with them. IT's so much better! I'm SO glad to have brothers & sisters like ya'll!

Luv ya'll!
~*Amb

4/06/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where does "causing someone to stumble" fit in this topic? does it?

4/06/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I just taught on 1 Corinthians 8 this past week at ikon - one of the passages where the whole "stumble" idea is in scripture. If I offend someone I haven't made them stumble; I've made them angry. If I've made them sin then I've made them stumble. And by "made" I mean unnecessarily tempted them while knowing I was doing so.

Drinking in front of someone I know is an alcoholic would be making that person stumble, for instance.

So, yea, how do you think that idea applies to this?

4/06/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Is everyone talking to me?

4/06/2006  
Anonymous Tabitha said...

Personally, I'd rather hear honest and maybe even casual cuss-words than vanilla langauge that patronizes or shows contempt. I think it's the attitude Jesus was talking about when he said that if you say "raca" (empty-headed, you fool) to someone then you are guilty enough to go to the firey hell.

Words are words, and what they mean depends in large part on who is using them and how. In fact, the subtext is the key thing.

Live in such a way that you do everything that you do for the glory of God. Can you cuss for the glory of God? Maybe. If so, do it. Can you abstain from cussing for His glory? Do it. Can you cuss and it not be wrong but it doesn't really mean anything at all to you? Then you should probably not do it.

But can you know why other people make the choices they make? If there is even the slightest possibility that they are saying what they are saying from an honest and loving motive of reaching and serving the lost, or just showing Christ to someone who needs to see Him (either to a pharisee or to a sinner), then give them the benefit of the doubt.

And if you must cuss, then do so to the glory of God.

4/06/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think my thought on the "causing someone to stumble" was simply based on the "would you want your kids to say those words" comment. If I am cussing like a sailor in front of a Jr. High youth group that may or may not look up to me does that, or could that, or does that have the potential to "cause them to stumble"?

Does Bono dropping an f-bomb in front of thousands all of the sudden make a bunch of Christians rethink the list they have in the back of their Bible because Bono is cool. Maybe he says it while saving kids. Can I say it while I'm mentoring those same Jr. High students? Are we (Christians) called to be "set apart"? Set apart from what?

b

4/07/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

Cussing? Stumbling? Really? Are we talking about a salvation issue here? Paul made those 1 Cor. 8 comments to people who thought their salvation was at stake. That's why it was important. But remember... was their salvation at stake? No! Paul said it was fine to eat the idol meat because a sacrifice to no-god can't hold a curse! The refraining from idol meats was a cultural courtesy.

So do you cuss in front of a Jr. High youth group? Of course not. Is that because you'll set them on the path to hell if you do? No, it's because their parents and our society would consider it inappropriate. That's just being a good leader. To think that we somehow have the responsibility to keep all people at all times around us from going wrong is foolish and arrogant. Like Shaun said, the element of knowingly leading someone to their weakness must be present in order to be 'causing someone to stumble.' We have a pretty high opinion of ourselves if we think we can keep people from screwing up or even from sinning altogether. And again, we're not even talking about a salvation issue here.

It is without a doubt our responsibility to do all within our power to keep from leading those who follow us down any path we know will harm them. But I think we waste our time and theirs by coming up with creative ways to help them stick their fingers in their ears to avoid any offense that we've previously conditioned them to take. How about teaching them how to really engage their generation in this world so that by all means they may save some.

4/07/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

shabang. kablam. and she is out of the park ladies and gentlemen.

4/07/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

although i might be provoked to cussing in front of a bunch of junior highers if i were to ever attempt teaching that age.

4/07/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

And THAT was my point.

The real point of this post was NOT words that are "good" or "bad". The point is that there are bigger and better things to respond to and ponder and act on. MUCH better things.

SG

4/07/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

umm...ok?
I'd agree, it's not necessarily the words per say, but the iimplied meaning behind them that's bad...And I'm more terrified of saying 'raca' or 'fool' than I am of uttering a damn or a shit. But that's me personally.
Luv to all from gloomy (literally)Bethel College :)*WHICH, I should mention is Shaun's favourite! :p
Amb

4/07/2006  
Blogger Nialle said...

I was at lunch with my pastor the other day, and we were having a talk about some worship ministry issues. He said, quote:

"I've gone through a lot of ass-kickings from God. But the bigger the ass-kicking, the more you know God's got a great call on your life and needs to prepare you."

Now I'm no George Carlin fan, but he did say, "No bad words. Bad thoughts, bad intentions, but no bad words."

Food for thought.

4/07/2006  
Anonymous suzie said...

The thing I most dislike about christians, (I myself am one and am striving to pluck the thorn out of my eye before criticising others), is that christians are the most judgmental people I know. Who cares?!!! The focus is should be the heart. What was so pure about the girl using the word 'ass' was the fact that it was honest. There was no proper, anal, paranoia, robotic, walk on shells about her statement. One's language, if honest, should reflect one's heart. Is it no better keeping quiet and thinking it in your mind risk being hypocrytical than to actually say it and be free from worldly treasures. It's between a person and God. Who are we to judge and say whether it is bad or not. God works in mysterious ways. I'm not excusing cussing nor promoting. Sure, if a person cusses often, that might be a problem, but how amazing it is when friends naturally cut down and eventually quit cussing (without the judgements and complaints from christians).

4/09/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

A friend of mine who doesn't go to church, believes in God, not so hot on "religion" etc commented to me that he thought it was pretty silly how many comments this post has received. To him saying "ass" is so minor. I have to say that to me it is too.

What's surprised me about the comments on this post though - not disappointed, just surprised - is how most of them focus on the ethics of language and not on the main point of the post itself: wanting to be moved like that girl was, so pushed past eloquence and piety that I pop with exclamation having somehow understood or felt God vividly.

Like I said, we're still staring at our list, forgetting God has given us grander things to ponder and more impacting things to do.

4/12/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

More impacting things to do, yes. But I think that pondering language, our behavior, obedience, and what the Bible really says is all quite important. Not because of a list, but because I am so desperate and hungry to know Jesus for Himself...and not how we have constructed Him. Not to disagree or anything, but I do believe there is value in examining all sorts of things and challenging all sorts of commonly held beliefs. i believe this...why? perhaps this discussion has caused someone to experience a greater freedom or take a step closer to understand the heart of Jesus. Just me thinking.

4/12/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to be number 65!!! crzay stuff, man.

4/16/2006  

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