One Big Post, or Lots of Little Ones? (Swearing)

When I lay in bed at 5 in the morning wondering about all the things spinning in my head that I would like to post I get confused as to whether I should creat a seperate blog entry for each one or just a biggy. Seperate ones can get confusing and elongated for the reader, but it’s better for seperating thoughts and referencing in the future.
Well I will list them, maybe I waffle too much anyway –

  • What’s with swearing? Some say people who swear lots simply lack adequate language skills to explain what they mean without employing the use of slang or gutter language. Others might say, the use of swear words are an add on to their already exhaustive and impressive vocablary, it adds colour and expression. What is a ‘swear word’? Does this depend upon cuture and context? In Singapore a good conservative pastor I know is regularly heard using ‘shit’ in sermons and in his daily language. A farmer friend of mine regularly refers to his soil as ‘shit’, and he wants a new farm…he is a leader in his church. Should I have written ‘shit’ or should I have written ‘sh**’? In Sydney this issue is less of an issue than here in Perth, we seem to be more conservative. Is that good? Does that make us better Christians, nicer folk? People joke about this issue within the emergent church movement. I heard someone joke once, “all you have to do to become emergent is say ‘shit’ from the pulpit 3 times and you have an emerging church”. How far is too far? I said ‘wank’ on the blogoshphere. (Admittedly it was a kind of a quote!). Will this cause someone to stumble? Could my kids read my blog? Well there is the question of appropriate conversations for kids to hear anyway, aside from swearing there are lots of things they are not privy to. I am not a regular swearer, I may occassionaly use it for effect or ‘drop the occassional crap’ (so to speak). But I do wonder how far we take being ‘all things to all people’. If I went to reach out to Chinese I would learn their language and use it where needed, if I was to reach out to my Aussie neighbour with a bad mouth, does me swearing make me relevant or a comprimiser any more than a youth ministry wanting to reach out to an MTV culture purchasing the latest sound gear, lights and band equippment make them relevant…or comprimsed? Just be yourself you say. No I guess that is not good enough for me. My SELF sometimes would not represent Christ in most appropriate ways. I guess I am wanting to try to be Christ, not me, but that still does not answer my question…what is inapropriate? Crap, Shit, wank…how far should this typing go…I guess you get it by now.
  • I have decided to do seperate posts! I like the waffle, I can’t help myself!
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18 thoughts on “One Big Post, or Lots of Little Ones? (Swearing)

  1. It’s a good point though Scott, what is and isn’t appropriate? I swearing ‘just being normal’ or is it stepping over the line?

    I was thinking about this yesterday after the footy. I have to admit to using a few obscenities during that game and it made me think how the people around viewed me. They all know I am christian. Would they have thought ‘is this guy serious about his christianity’ or maybe ‘wow, u can be christian and swear’ or what? It made me think why we WOULDN’T swear, so we were ‘different’ or ‘set apart’ from what is common. It used to be that ‘christians’ were different by not drinking but now thats changed. Is it the same sort of thing or is swearing different?

  2. I agree that swearing can be a cultural thing to some extent, but Eph. 5:4 does tell us not to use “obscene language”. Maybe when Jesus told us to let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and that we’ll have to give account for careless words, he was telling us to carefully consider our words before using them – not just sprinkle extra “descriptive” words throughout for effect. It’s kind of like ’empty’ words. I think our talk needs to be one of the main things that sets us apart – not because we abstain from swearing, but because we are encouraging, etc. etc, and talking about the things of life that really matter. I think my Christ-likeness will raise more curiosity through what I do do and say, not what I don’t do and say (obviously apart from murder, burglary etc !!!!)

  3. Wow

    I am impressed!

    you got your wife to comment on your blog 🙂

    I think I agree with Christine (or is that ‘mum’.)

    I think anything that is culturally bound is always a slippery topic to be making black and white statements about.

    in the US ‘damn’ is a nasty word. Over here its common amongst Christians. You also comment on other words that vary in impact from place to place.

    Maybe Paul wasn’t referring to ‘swearing’ when he mentioned obscene language… I do think he was concerned about words that damage and I am always concerned for the negative impact any words may have.

    I think context is everything with language of any kind – who am I speaking to? What will it mean to them?

    I also think that Christianity has too long been defined by ‘don’ts’ – swearing, drinking, smoking. We have made this a huge focus (so large that we are seen this way by non-Christians) and in that we have skewed the core of the gospel.

    I am for dropping the odd naughty word around my pagan friends because it causes them to wonder ‘what is the main game?’ ‘If my misconceptions are wrong here where else may I be wrong?’

    I respect people’s right to disagree here and (usually) will not say those words around people whom it may offend.

    Not black and white, so we have to follow the Spirit.

    Brave post Vawz – this draws a lot of angst from people!

  4. swearing is the language of anger and christains need to learn to get angry. some things are completely f***ed – child abuse, racial hatred, rape. non-swear words just don’t have enough clout. when faced with such situations the most appropriate responce is to be bloody pissed off. some things make me mad – mad to the point where i don’t care if i offend. i would rather be an authentic woman who experiences humanity than remove all the yucky words from my vocab and only focus on the ‘peachy’.

    (in the NKJV ephesians 5:4 says ‘neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting’. sometimes swear words fit these categories, sometimes they don’t. i don’t think calling rape f****d is filthy, foolish or in jest. the passage is describing what it means to walk in love as imitators of god – surely if our love is genuine we will experience and express anger when things get screwed up.)

  5. I work at a Catholic School and we had a PD Day a few weeks ago. The presenter (a Jesuit priest) was speaking about media and it’s use in our schools and effect on adolescents’ lives in today’s culture. He referred to ‘swear’ words as violent language because he said he believed the words weren’t the issue; instead the issue was the intent/attitude behind the word/s.

  6. Yeah it is so culturally bond hey-who decides what is or isn’t a swear word?

    I liked what Mrs Vawz (kinda sounds like Santa Claus) said-I so reckon people will notice us more for what we do day, in terms of how encouraging and uplifting we are, rather than the absence of swear words.

    And the spirit with which we say them is totally important too hey.

  7. A compromiser or relevant?

    Looking at the swearing Aussie neighbour..
    Just because he uses colourful language, does it mean this is a trait he approves of in other people?
    He might be surrounded by people who swear and his Christian neighbour may be one of the only people he knows who doesn’t adopt these seemingly pointless words. Just because he swears are you confident enough to know that he won’t judge you because you swear?

  8. i remember a word like crap never used to be an acceptable word but somewhere along the way, it got reclassified.

    When, by whom – I don’t know – but it’s seemingly a completely fine word whereas in my experience it hasn’t always been.

  9. I just read the original post and I must say that I’m totally disgusted. Really. And Vawz: you really have no biblical answer to provide on the subject on the use (and misuse) of foul language? You wife seems to be a little more biblically literate. I’m disgusted. I’d provide some biblical signposts to go by on this issue but I think it would be rather pointless. Again, I’m disgusted. Beware, this is a heart issue, not just a cultural one.

  10. nothing like a critical spirit hidden behind an anonymous mask.

    that must be the NEW guidelines of a biblical rebuke – let us know where this new chapter and verse can be found in the newly updated version of the bible you must have gotten hot off the press – looking fwd to finding where i can pick one up – thanks again for the help anonymous!

  11. I’d like to know how you knew “lady Vawz” was my wife Mr/Mrs Anonymous, as Hamo said…it could have been my Mum, my grandmother…if I had one, maybe my sister in law…who cares, sorry just rambling. Yes – like otherendup, I do see why you decided to blog without a name, your tone (although hard to express tone in type) sounds a bit like the kind of tone I would be too scared to put a name to also. Although you might have a good point you shot yourself in the foot making it…otherendup caught you out on that one…harsh!

  12. That’s a ‘double cop out’ anonymous.

    No name and no arguement to back up your position. Sheesh… (note: technically that’s not a swear word although some people may substitute it for one)

    I believe you are wrong about swearing – plain wrong – it is a cultural issue.

    I’d like to hear you argue your case, but not behind a mask.

    If you have the courage of your convictions then put your name to it and we can get into it.

  13. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately and I guess although in various ways at the end of the day we can get so caught up fighting over it all and waste our time instead of reading the bible.

    I’ve been reading Proverbs a lot lately and have found it really interesting. The author challenges it’s reader about how we should use our tongue and that it can provide ‘life’ or ‘death’.

    I’m trying more and more to speak out words or life. Words that encourage and build up others. For me, swearing is not in this category. I’m not sure if the positives (if any) of swearing outweigh the negatives.

  14. Boys – you big bullies. A person has a little independant thinking to the rest of the mob and they get shot down cause they didn’t give their name. What if they just visited the site and din’t know how to give their name? there is plenty of people who don’t give their names, like me… I give a nick name, same with hamo, vaws (although it is his blog). Leave the little fella alone. Poor girl/guy gets shot down in flames for responding with what they believe. Where’s the love? Maybe a gentle request for the signposts she mentioned would have been a bit more respectful. Hamo, she didn’t say it wasn’t a cultural issue, she said it wasn’t “just” a cultural issue, it was a heart issue

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