Oh, Shiitake Mushrooms!
Did I grab your attention? I hope so. Language matters. What we say, how we say it and why we say it is important in our world today. Over the last several years I have noticed a spike in edgy language by pastors/leaders. I have always heard people in the church using the language of our culture. If my office walls could talk.
Before we roll deeper into this discussion let me give you a disclaimer: “I say crap, sucks, pissed off & frickin’ (great Buffalo NY term).” Yep, it’s true. Here’s what you may not know – I used to say a lot worse. In fact, I would be embarrassed if people today heard some of the words I used to say. When it came down to the verbiage of my teenage years something in me always knew I should not be saying it, but I did anyway. Not good. Today, I don’t struggle with the words I grew up using, today I have made my own list of words I can say. If we are honest, we will all admit we have our list too.
The Bible declares, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Eph 4:29). In other words, language matters. The challenge is people have different standards. Not every person sees certain words the same way. It would be easier if the Bible just said, “You cannot drop the F*Bomb.” That would make it so easy. SIDE NOTE: I believe the F*Bomb falls into Ephesians 4:29 – so I don’t say it.
I guess the challenge I have today is that it seems like “Christian-Cuss Words” are no longer enough for some. One of my favorite Christians Cuss Words is “Sugar Honey Ice Tea” – I laugh every time I hear it. But I have heard pastors say words like S#!T, A$$#&LE, F^@K , JACKA$$ and more. Where is the line? I guess if we are asking that question we may have already crossed it!
Jesus said, “If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell” (Matt 5:22). Seems to me that Jesus is making it very clear that calling someone an idiot or cursing at someone at any level is always wrong! In fact, the end result could be hell. That’s scary.
I desire to shape culture, not be shaped by it
Here’s my quick take: The church should be leading the culture, not following it. I am far from perfect, but I desire to shape culture, not be shaped by it. I am sure I straddle the line from time to time – not by design, but just because I am human. Imperfect, flawed and broken. Thank God I am declared righteous, given forgiveness and always accepted.
What are your thoughts? Where do you draw the line? I’d be curious to know what words you think are OK and what words you think are over the line? Give me your list.