So, today, I was reading a colleagues blog. Several times, this pastor referred to other Christians as “assholes.” And, to be honest, it rubbed me the wrong way.
Now, those of you who know me are fully aware that I have no problem with swearing. I mean, I don’t promote the practice. I don’t swear in my sermons (though there have been times that, in the moment, I’ve been very close). But, I’m known to put together a string of profanities that would make the foulest sailor blush. And, I too, have been known to refer to my fellow believers as “assholes” (because, let’s face it, we all can be assholes).
However, in this particular case, I was somewhat bothered by the pastors use of the word “asshole.”
You see, he took the time to justify his use of profanity. He went out of his way to let his audience know that saying “asshole” was a way to better relate with non-Christians. He was basically attempting to imply that, by writing the word “asshole” several times in his blog, he was being more culturally relevant than those who refrain from using the occasional profanity.
There are a few problems here:
- Swearing does not necessarily help one relate to the non-Christian audience. Sometimes swearing is actually a deterrent.
- His justification of using profanity seemed to lack authenticity. If using a term like “asshole” was authentic, he would not have felt any need to go out of his way to justify using his normal language. When I swear, whether in oral or written form, I never feel the need to defend my use of the words. If you feel like you need to justify, explain, or defend your language choices, you probably should just use a different word.
- It seemed like a lame and desperate attempt at relevancy. If you want to be relevant, be authentic, be true to yourself. If you are honestly being yourself and that means you occasionally swear, don’t apologize for it.
You see, I enjoy a beer or glass of wine, I drop the occasional f-bomb, I watch “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Sons of Anarchy” and “R-rated” movies. And, I just don’t care if people know this about me.
However, I have colleagues who enjoy a beer or glass of wine, drop the occasional swear word, and watch violent films. But, they don’t want anyone to find out.
I always tell these friends, “Listen, if you are worried about someone finding out that you enjoy the occasional drink, or have a potty mouth, or watched “Straight Outta Compton”, maybe you just shouldn’t do those things. It’s worse to try and hide something and be exposed rather than just being open about who you are. If you feel bad about it, maybe that’s God’s way of trying to get you to cut it out. So, either be honest or cut it out.”
Instead of trying to be relevant, instead of trying to be authentic, just be yourself!