I, the comfortably cursing Christian

I, the comfortably cursing Christian August 2, 2010

Dollarphotoclub_75726875I am entirely confident that God is perfectly okay with me cursing whenever I find it entirely appropriate to do so.

The key phrase there is “whenever I find it appropriate to do so.” I don’t often find it appropriate to curse. I rarely employ such language in what I write, for instance, because I know a lot of youngerish people read my stuff, and it’s bad enough how often I make up words like youngerish without having to compound that egregiousness by, through including curse words in my text, subtly sending to the youngarinos the message that … um … I curse. Which I do. But just not around kids.

I also tend to try my best not to curse around strangers, because you never know when you’re going to make someone’s ear wax start melting. And if there’s anything more disgusting than a person’s ear wax dripping out of the side of their head onto their shoulder or dinner plate, I don’t know what it is. I don’t want to see that. Nobody does.

But when I’m with friends and/or people whom I can tell aren’t likely to be offended, I pretty much curse like the warehouse-working Teamster I used to be before I started getting paid because of how I write so good.

For about the first year or two after I became a Christian, I totally tried to never curse, because I figured that was part of the Christian Deal. But not cursing made my whole upper body feel constipated. (Ew. Sorry.) So I started cursing again. I figured God would be happier with me if I just said what I had to say, instead of always hemming and hawwing whilst trying to come up with a language of expression different from any other language I’d ever known or used.

If cursing is called for, I’m the guy for the job.

And make no mistake about it: cursing very often is called for. Our language has evolved in such a way that there are a lot of curse words and phrases that capture a thing way better than can be done without them. And I am nothing if not a slave to efficiency of articulation. If you say about someone (kids: close your eyes) “That guy’s just a fuck-up,” you have, by any objective criterion, nailed that guy. Everyone knows exactly what you’ve just communicated—which is actually really, really dense.

You’re not saying the guy’s a bad person. You’re not saying he’s ill-intentioned. You’re not saying he’s constitutionally or congenitally incapable. You’re not subscribing to him any motivations whatsoever. You’re not saying anything but that … well, he’s a fuck-up. And that perfectly says it all.

You try to take that phrase away from me because you think God has a problem with me intelligently using concise language? That is not going to work for me. If there was another way to say (kids! shut ‘em!), “That guy’s an asshole,” you can trust that I’d use that other way. But do you know how many words you’ve have to spin through to come up with a descriptive phrase anywhere near that comprehensive? You can’t: to even come close to what’s connoted by “asshole,” you’d have to talk for a half-hour.

That’s why even Christians who think God disapproves of their cursing substitute cutesy little faux-curse words they just plug in where the Bad Words go. So they have to say things like, “Fudge this; I’m outta here,” or “That guy’s a fiddly-widdly nooky-pooky” or whatever dipshittiness they say. (Actually, that’s mean. I think it’s kind of charming when Christians use their own swear-word substitutes. Whenever I hear a Christian use faux-cursing, I always think, “Man, I can’t believe that person’s actually trained his brain to insert totally made-up curse words in place of real curse words. I wonder how long it took him to retrain his whole brain like that? I can’t get my brain trained to remember my phone number.” Plus, I like the way fake curse words tend to dissipate whatever negative energy called them to mind in the first place.)

Anyway, I curse when/how/about what I want to. I trust myself with that ongoing judgment. I’m confident that God trusts me with it, too. And I sure don’t see anything in the Bible about how cursing is a sin. I thought it would be there: “Thou shalt not use dirty words,” or something. But it’s not.

As far as I know, there’s nothing in the Bible about cursing at all. I think God has more important things to worry about. I know I do.

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  • gooseberrybush

    Well said.

  • Jeannie

    Snicker. I have long been a fan of using one or two high octane words when the occasion calls for it. However, motherhood has done a lot to curve, but not cure that habit. I know my daughters will eventually learn to swear. I just don't want to be their teacher. So far, so good. My third grade daughter was very angry with someone the other day and the worst her enraged brain could come up to say was, no-good, dirty, rotten liar! Then she added, oh yeah and WIMP! HA! I wonder what she will say in about 4 years?

  • My husband and I were just talking about this last night. All I can say is thank you for having a brain that works things out logically (whilst also being discerning enough to not swear in front of someone who might be offended by it). Romans 14 much? Especially verses 10-12, and 14.

  • Ace

    Well there is that whole "don't take the Lord's name in vain" thing… so I guess you can say "damn" but not "god-damn"… or something. Though I did always find it hilarious when my friend in high school would drop something or get startled and shout "Christ on a cracker!" or "Jesus in a jar!" though I'm not sure what Jesus would be doing in a jar or on a cracker in the first place.

    I just try not to curse around my parents, mostly. It gets me dirty looks.

  • My friend Flint Dille coined a good word that's applicable in many cases: Bozologist It's an acceptable lo-fat substitute for a-hole (tho "anusoid" also works well).

    There's a scene in ALIEN 3 where the characters get into a brief theological debate over obscenity, apparently deciding "God" and "hell" aren't acceptable for Christians for scat and fornication references are (trying to keep it clean here in case any high sheriffs are reading, to just a Joe Bob Briggs' reference).

    I spent 4 years playing football in high school, 6 years in the Army, and 30+ working in entertainment & publishing. I can be salty myself when the occasion warrants, tho like you I try to reserve it for appropriate times & places and those who will understand & appreciate it.

    There isn't a child over the age of 10 in North America who doesn't know the words.

  • I never had any idea what that, in that context, "in vain" even means.

  • Ace

    Maybe He gets tired of picking up the phone and having the other end just hang up on Him?

  • No, I don't. "Unwholesome" references quality, not vocabulary.

  • My first born son attended a Christian elementary school. He said they made up replacement words for "bad" words (cussing, sexual innuendo) that could get them in trouble. When I attended my first born's graduation from military boot camp, I waited for him in someone's outer office. A strong, male voice in the office inserted the F-word between EVERY other word. A man came out of that office and barked in a mean tone at me, "What are you doing in here."

    "I'm waiting for my son. Is that a problem?" I barked back. Then I said, "Were you the person I heard in there cussing?"

    "Yes, ma'am."

    "Those are MORE cuss words than I've ever heard in my ENTIRE life and 'YOU' are my firstborn's commander?"

    Flustered, he said, "Well, I'm a Christian man, ma'am."

    Nary a cuss word passed his lips for the rest of our conversation.

    When I worked for a government agency, some people heard I was a "Christian." And the funny thing is, at that time I'd rejected Christ (not God) because of the way I'd been treated by people-who-call-themselves-Christians. Every other word my co-workers spoke was the F-word.

    I wondered, "Do they always talk like this?"

    Later, my co-worker told me they did it on purpose hoping it would offend me so much that I'd quit. One day I told a co-worker, "I'm thinking about writing an article about the F-word. Did you know it's a noun, an adjective and a verb?" Interestingly enough, they stopped their barrage of F-words when they figured out I wasn't all that weird.

  • Thanks for the post! I still am somewhat conflicted about it. Also, what do you think they are talking about in the Bible when they talk about cursing people? Like Romans 12:14 for example. I guess that is different from using a curse word to describe someone? I wish these things were more clear to me!

  • Diana

    "However, motherhood has done a lot to curve, but not cure that habit. I know my daughters will eventually learn to swear. I just don’t want to be their teacher. So far, so good."

    I like this. I wish more parents felt this way.

    "My third grade daughter was very angry with someone the other day and the worst her enraged brain could come up to say was, no-good, dirty, rotten liar! Then she added, oh yeah and WIMP!"

    Actually, lack of effective curse words might have helped her nail the true problem in this instance. After all, maybe the person to whom she was referring really was a "no-good, dirty, rotten liar." In which case, by definition, the person would also be a "WIMP!"

  • "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse," doesn't mean don't say "bad words." It means don't wish evil and hardship–don't passionately condemn–someone who means you harm. They know not what they do, and all.

  • Diana

    I agree with Ace. Somebody should draw a cartoon of that.

  • Ace

    I think somebody pointed out in the other post that saying "oh shit!" when you hit your thumb with a hammer isn't the same as saying to someone, "you're nothing but shit!" which to me is no better or worse than saying to someone, "you're worthless!" because in the last two cases your intent is to cause harm (even if you aren't swearing in the second), whereas swearing when you hit yourself with the hammer is not.

    They way you use words is far more important than the choice of words themselves. As my university Japanese professor, Naki-sensei always used to admonish her students in their use of Japanese language, "Be nice to people!"

    Pretty easy concept.

  • Chris White

    I myself use language at times that would be considered vulgar, bad, "cuss words", swearing, whatever. I agree that sometimes those words are the only ones that can clearly and simply describe or communicate what one is trying to say. To go through all kinds of verbal gymnastics in order to substitute an "acceptable" "lite" swear word seems ridiculous. Especially since the intention is to make the person one is talking to mentally translate the new word back into the original word in order to understand your meaning. However I still keep coming back to Ephesians 5:4. The various versions use the terms "obscenity", "filthiness", "dirty", "indecency", as well as "foolish" and "sinful". I agree that part of the issue is "quality", but don't you think that vocabulary contributes to that quality?

    I'm not sure exactly what constitutes using the Lord's name in vain, but I think that using the terms "God", "Jesus", "Christ" in a flippant way would qualify, whether you add "damn" to it.

  • "Christ on a cracker!" is my most favoritest phrase ever.

    HAY!!! does any one know what the "H" in Jesus H Christ means?

  • Herman. That was his middle name. Man, don't you people read the Bible at ALL?

  • Ace


    ….I'm pretty sure it was Harold. 😛

  • A'isha

    Another good post. I also think it's funny when people insert a "faux- curse" word where a regular curse word would go. It's hilarious, but isn't the intent the same as using a curse word? In my opinion they're cursing the same as I am when I say shit or something similar. Curse words always grow out of our cultures. In a culture where regularly accepted curse words are not acceptable, alternatives take their places and become curse words themselves.

  • Ace

    You just need to watch Red Dwarf, you can get some pretty good non-exactly-swearing insults like "gimboid!" and "smeg-head!" and "you ugly goit!" and so forth. There's a whole page of 'em here for future reference: http://santaevita.tripod.com/smegginsults.html

  • Aisha: Yeah, I really wanted to say that, but forgot. But, yeah, as you say: the whole POINT of the faux-curse word is to make you THINK the curse word. It's like they're cursing, but making it so that really only YOU have to basically take responsibility for it, if I haven't said this too quick. Anyway…what you said.

  • chaka

    I always tell people I belong to the CWCN (Christians Who Curse Network) 🙂 Excellent Post!

  • Tim

    Herman, Harold…both good Jewish names.

  • Diana

    "I’m not sure exactly what constitutes using the Lord’s name in vain, but I think that using the terms “God”, “Jesus”, “Christ” in a flippant way would qualify,…."

    Yes, I think this is true, but I also think it refers to saying things about God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) that aren't true or are half-true, especially when this is done carelessly or as a means to manipulate others. I could be wrong, of course.

  • Tim

    Christ on a cracker. Hmmm Catholic Holy Communion puts this wafer (Body of Christ) on your tongue and it melts in your mouth, not in your hand…well, at least not the Priest's hand. My church opts for Sunshine Oyster Crackers. I don't like the association of Christ to oysters ( shellfish being forbidden by the Old Testament 'n'all). If we are going to reduce the symbolism of the broken body of Jesus to a mass produced baked conveyance, shouldn't Jesus be on a Ritz Cracker? I mean…everything tastes better when it sits on a Ritz. At least that is what Andy Griffith said. He's a Christian, right?

  • I once got a scolding look from a pastor's wife when I used the word shut-up jokingly. And I even said it with great love.

    Anywho, you know you've been hanging 'round the choir a little too much when:

    1. Upon hitting your thumb with a hammer, you exclaim, without any hesitation, "CRAP!"

    2. You no longer use OMG in AIM.

    3. ??

  • Diana

    "If we are going to reduce the symbolism of the broken body of Jesus to a mass produced baked conveyance, shouldn’t Jesus be on a Ritz Cracker? I mean…everything tastes better when it sits on a Ritz. At least that is what Andy Griffith said. He’s a Christian, right?"

    Tim! You bad thing! (That was too funny!)

  • Gina Powers

    There IS that, Ace! 😉

  • Gina Powers

    "Herman"….right on, John! 😉

  • Robert Meek

    I shall strive for brevity here, lest I am at risk, myself, for being egregious. (Now, you see, John? Shame on you! You're CONTAGIOUS! First you work my brain overtime, and then you end up making me catch this "big word" virus of yours!)

    After I went to the dictionary to see if it meant anything, and if that was a thing I could use. Not that I'll remember it.

    Hey, I promised brevity, not lack of digression!

    I didn't think that "asshole" came under cursing/swearing/profanity. I thought it was just a "bad taste" word that you didn't wanna get caught using, by your mama.

    Your mention of faux-curse words (thanks for teaching me again how to spell "faux"!, I keep forgetting that one!) brought a few up to my ancient grey matter's meager function center like "Oh, dang," "Oh, gosh dang it," or Southern compromises such as "Oh, Lord have mercy!" and "Oh, Lawdy!"


    And a whole host of similar ones, all of which are SANCTIONED as OKAY in modern-day Fundamental-Protestantism.

    Which to me is just all the more two-faced, ucked-up k-rap because it's all a lie. Similar to "Don't do what I do, do what I say," but a variation on that theme of "What I say is okay, what you say is not okay."


    uck, yuck, and more.

  • Diana

    "Anywho, you know you’ve been hanging ’round the choir a little too much when:…"

    Not necessarily so, in my choir at least. In my choir, our director has been at great pains to explain (at least twice) that the line in "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing": "Here I raise mine Ebenezer," (scripture reference: 1 Samuel 7:12) has nothing whatsoever to do with Viagra. I tell you people, us choir members can be a really bad influence. Best stay away from us.

  • Gina Powers

    "For about the first year or two after I became a Christian, I totally tried to never curse, because I figured that was part of the Christian Deal. But it made my whole upper body feel constipated." BWAAAHAHA!!! Sorry dude…had to laugh. Besides, that VERY accurately supports one of MY main arguments for swearing: it's a BENIGN stress releaser. I mean, which works better for you: calling a person who pissed you off an assmonkey, or chasing down that same person with a hammer?

    "God has better things to worry about. I know I do." Fuckin' A–right!!!! 😉

  • I know I probably sound totally elementary here, but this is something I've wondered about for years and not felt like I had a clear answer either way. It was something I struggled with after becoming a Christian. Technically, you could use "bad words" to curse someone I suppose. If it was that big of a deal, like you said God would have said, "Thou shalt not use dirty words" right? I think that my upbringing of always being told curse words are wrong is hard to overcome. I don't necessarily get offended when they are used, but I feel that I can express myself perfectly well without them. It's just easier for me that way 🙂

  • Funny!!

    When I was about seven years old, I thought my dad hung the moon… almost literally. He was the best, and I thought he could do no wrong…

    My parents weren't in the habit of using strong language as a rule, so my ears hadn't been "broken in" at that point in my life.

    Well, one day I was riding with my dad, and a man swung out to pass. Apparently annoyed with Dad's slow driving, he yelled "asshole" out the window as he drove by.

    Horrified, I asked Dad "Why did he call you that?"

    My father glanced at me, chuckled and said "Because he doesn't have the education to call me a 'dumb farmer'."

    Years later, the memory makes me smile.

    I remember my dad fondly, and think of him every time a "less educated" word cuts loose. (and yes, I've been known to drop an f-bomb now and then, too.) I agree with you, John, there are far bigger issues in the Christian walk. Thankfully, my Dad taught me that, too.

    Thanks for a refreshing take on what it means to be a Christian! I'm enjoying your thoughts immensely.

    Rejoicing in the day,


  • I try not to curse, with varying levels of success depending on my mood and the situation. My wife hates that kind of language and gives me the stink-eye whenever my vocabulary gets colorful. Part of my struggle is that I work in substance abuse treatment and my clients can come up with some truly elaborate and creative

    profanity. What's more, my supervisor can cuss with the best of 'em.

    However, none of these factors really excuses me. I became a Christian when I was 15 and one of the first things that I resolved to do was eliminate swear words from my vocabulary. I actually succeeded until I turned 16; that was when I got my driver's license. I have never been able to eliminate those words from my

    vocabulary since I walked out of the DMV.

  • Melissa

    I've tried (in vain) not to swear. I just plain like it. My husband tells me that swearing isn't ladylike (I agree but do it anyway) or asks me if I kiss my child with that mouth. Yes, the same mouth that delivers some pretty awesome swear words also delivers love and kisses to my little boy. However, I would be SO ASHAMED if my son ever heard me speaking this way and I try never to use those words in front of anyone who would be offended by them. It's exhausting leading this double life 😉 I'm so relieved to find other closet f-bombers out there.

  • I used to think my father's occasional expletive was very mild: "Curses," he would shout.

    Then my wife pointed out to me that it was hardly mild when it covered them all at once.

  • Ace

    I think the day MOST people truly learn to swear is the day they start driving. The only time I ever heard a swear word cross my mother's lips as a child was riding in the car in Atlanta traffic.

  • nah, i think "Hershel"

    besides, it can not be "Harold" Harold will always be the kid who schtuped Maud.

    the greatest film EVEH..btw

  • Freda

    I recommend this link for the Christian theological argument against swearing:


    All that being said, I swear. I guess it's both a stress reliever and also I think that there are different levels of offensive words. For instance, I've been told ladies shouldn't use the word f*ck, but sh*t is OK. Go figure.

  • Jeanine Petty

    To take the Lord's name (In the hebrew=shem=authority) means to shun His authority and make up your OWN rules….as in "Let us make us a name" babylonian system. I never understood what it meant, except to not say "G*D***" but when someone broke it down for me from the perspective of what "the name of the Lord" means, in the original Biblical language and cultural context, it fell into place and made perfect sense.

    It means God is God and no one else is, and that his laws are steadfast and whenever you decide "well I'll be the judge of THAT (insert whatever you're making a judgment about)"….you are taking the Lord's name in vain.

  • Has it come up that Paul cussed. He wrote the equivalent of "shit" in one of his letters. He's been edited by the family-friendly crowd, too. I'll look it up later… but someone will probably beat me to it.

  • Don Gollahon

    I never used cuss words (out-loud anyway) until I had teenagers. Maybe I'll go back to "normal" when they both reach 20+?

    I had a discussion with my wife or someone awhile back about who decides what is a curse word and what isn't. And just today I said "damn it!" And immediately turned and asked her, "Why is it ok to say 'darn it' and not 'damn it'? Don't they mean the same thing?"

    I guess it is another one of those Americanized Christian rules that just doesn't make sense when you try to think it out.

  • DAng, that's interesting, Jeanine. As in a refreshing something to study…

    And I said dang on purpose, because I am using my good judgment about how precisely strong my interjection needs to be in this case.


  • That cracks me up: "I had a discussion with my wife, or someone …". But, yeah, sorry: Right. You make a good point, Don.

  • And lots of children under the age of six in China…. been there, heard that

  • Yeah, like we're gonna work. Get busy, Ric.

  • I like your link. Why should I treat the sacred with contempt? Perhaps it's best not to profane the holy Name after all. May God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change. No doubt the thumbnail will grow back. No amount of cursing can make the "rape of Nanking" acceptable. I recall a great deal of rough language from the army. What is more sacred than life and what is more contemptuous of it than our mission to destroy the enemy. Perhaps the soldier has to be ready to destroy what she holds most sacred, in defense of the same. Onward christian soldiers marching as to war. How can we most effectively destroy our enemy?

  • Ooooooooooooohh! Excellent! So the idea is that if you first CLAIM the name of God, and then assert your own over that of God's, you have, ipso fact, taken God's name in VAIN–insofar as you TRIED to cleave your life and will to God, and failed. I LOOOOVE this. Right? I got that right, right?

  • Wow! Great stuff, O.

  • Love it.

  • This is so great. I've never known anyone outside of a comic book who really said, "Curses!" I would die if I heard that.

  • That's a terrific anecdote, Mary. Thanks so much for sharing it. Your dad seems like a totally honorable guy.

  • I'm going to reveal something about myself, so be nice.

    1. I have watched The Hangover.

    2. I thought it was one of the stupidest movies ever.

    3. The only truly hilarious, enjoyable parts for me all have to do with language. They are:

    a. the bearded dude echoing curse words with faux-curse words

    b. the "lone wolf" speech (although I've actually had students give speeches like that one, which makes me laugh, then weep, then laugh extra hard.)

    c. and "so long, mothafu…." and the obnoxious thing he does with his voice trilling the word forever.

    These things make me want to pee my pants.

    Now that is precise and purposeful use of language.

    Seventeen years ago I came home from my great revelations in college, sat on the kitchen counter and declared to my mother whom I have yet to hear utter a single curse word this great revelation: "They exist for a reason!"

    Ya, they do.

  • I once got scolded at work by my principal for writing OMG in the margin of a senior's paper (this is a special ed kid with a huge chip on his shoulder, a hard-win, for sure). And that's a frickin public high shcool. Sheesh.

  • Just substitute "Damage!" It makes the teenagers eyes' twinkle. I know cuz I use it in my classroom.

    Also, yes, John you crack me up quoting “I had a discussion with my wife, or someone …”.

    I'm commenting a lot on this one, and see, again, late to the party. I'll shut up now. Although not before I tell you I have been laughing out loud (not just lol, actually DOING IT) more on this post and its comments than for a long time. I'm giddy.

  • Stephanie Brozovich

    Well the bible does say not to let anything unwholesome come out of your mouth unless it is edifying to another person………so I kind of think that covers cussing, don’t you? Which is basically why you shouldn’t talk about other people in a negative way because unless you are saying something nice don’t say anything at all! Which really cuts out quite a bit of talking if you think about it!!!

  • Diana

    "I’m commenting a lot on this one, and see, again, late to the party. I’ll shut up now. "

    1) Hey, better late than never. (Of course, my ex-boss would say "Better never late," but who cares what he thinks!)

    2) Only shut up if you want to. I like hearing what you have to say.

  • Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.

    – Mark Twain, a Biography


  • What the Crap? I gotta do everything around here?

  • Thanks Diana. Lots. 🙂

  • Philippians 3:8 Paul drop the s-bomb with skubalon the Greek equivalent of shit. Of course, it is translated as rubbish, refuse, and dung.

    NIV: What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

    KJV: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

    Paul is pointing out that he considers his pre-Christ life of legalism is shit, that life in Christ is what's important. Then the legalists edited out his point. Or miss the whole point. whatever.

  • Kara

    I swear. It's fun. It makes me feel better. Swearing quietly to myself has often kept me from kicking someone in the shins. It's better, really.

    Some things I debate with folks, theologically. But I do have a short list of things that fall under "You all go right ahead and argue about this if you want, but I'm not wasting my time on it anymore". This is one of those things.

  • Alyssa

    Also, I feel like people apply offensiveness to words rather arbitrarily. None of the English words that are considered to be offensive now have even existed for a terribly long time, given that English itself hasn't existed for a very long time, in the grand scheme of things. And there are words that even someone with the squeaky-cleanest of vernaculars would say without blinking now that would've been questionable in another time (I still remember a passage from one of the Little House books where a man says "blast," and then  apologizes for speaking so in front of the ladies).   Every culture and language has curses that may not have meant anything a century ago, will mean something completely different a century from now, and may mean nothing at all to someone from a different culture. So people getting so flustered over the words themselves is baffling to me. If someone uses a "curse word" with the intent of hurting someone, that's a different story, but really, no words are good words when it comes to causing intentional pain, and i think God cares more about our intentions than our vocabulary. So there. 🙂 Sorry to ramble. I think about this a lot.

    Awesome post, btw!

  • Diana

    You're welcome!

  • A'isha

    I'd like to join that network! 🙂

  • A'isha

    Great info. I have a little respect for Paul now. 🙂 (ducking and running)

  • Is this an American Bible?



  • Awesome response!

  • Mary

    I can't help but remember the time when I was 15 and I went to a hair salon in London and asked for a shag haircut. Uh oh….

  • vj

    I'm one of those people who generally makes up a faux-curse word when needing to express something, but then I've led a pretty sheltered life and didn't hear much 'real' cursing during my formative years. The main issue is the heart behind the words – I'm not generally offended when others use curse words as a short, sharp blast of expression, but being subjected to streams of profanity is pretty unpleasant. Many otherwise great movies have been ruined for me by the unrestrained use of the f-word etc (btw, my kids know the words but I have tried to teach them not to use them, as it can cause offense unnecessarily). That said, it is all about context – one of the funniest lines I've heard is in Four Weddings and a Funeral, when Hugh Grant's character realises he's late for another wedding, and runs around wildly muttering "f*k, f*k, f*kkity , f*k" (yup, even my fingers can't use the 'real' words). And my mom used to have an umbrella with the French equivalent of "oh sh*t it's raining" printed discreetly on one edge – still cracks me up!

  • No, this is John Shore's blog.

  • Ace

    ….I'm confused. :C

  • Ace

    So just say it stands for "Oh my goodness!"

    I dunno, I had an english teacher in high school who would write "B.S." in the margins of all the students' papers while grading them.

    …. it stood for "Be specific"

    LOL (FWIW, she was not the type of person who would ever use profanity, or say anything mean to a student)

  • Ace

    Yea, if you said "pants" in front of a Victorian, you probably would have gotten flogged for it. Or at least caused somebody to "swoon"

  • In my Severely Baptist upbringing making up external rules in the hope that it would bring us closer to the Lord, we decided to accept no substitutes when it came to 'four-letter words'. "Dang" at the dinner table got me in as much trouble as the real thing.

    1. they are just words 2. recent studies suggest that curse words release chemical painkillers in the brain 3. we have an American understanding of 5000-year-old cultures reflected in the Bible.

    Our belief as Evangelicals was that If we refused to curse, drink, smoke, play cards or go to movies, the unsaved would be running to us begging for tracts and asking to pray the prayer of salvation. But mostly they would come because they watched us give thanks in a loud voice over our lunch at IHOP.

  • Diana

    Your mom's old umbrella sounds cute!

  • Diana

    "Our belief as Evangelicals was that If we refused to curse, drink, smoke, play cards or go to movies, the unsaved would be running to us begging for tracts and asking to pray the prayer of salvation. But mostly they would come because they watched us give thanks in a loud voice over our lunch at IHOP."

    This slays me!

  • Tony Masinelli

    Hmmm…haven't seen anyone refer to Isaiah 64:6 yet. I may have missed it, though. I'm kind of bad about not slogging through a long list of comments. (Apologies to all. No harm meant. It's just me.)

    Anyway, check out the Hebrew. All our righteous acts are like "filthy rags"…? Um…ewww. (I mean that in the most non-chauvenistic way, of course.)

    Seems like Scripture is quite a bit less Victorian than we are.

  • I actually did say it stood for "oh my gosh!" and got scolded anyway.

    And what are you inferring, that I'm the type of person who would use profanity and say mean things to students?

    I'm pretty sure at least my students think I'm not the type of person to use profanity or say mean things to students— easy since I so very rarely think mean things about my students… 🙂

    You'd have to be an idiot to not know, as a teacher, that you are also being cheeky with BS since the message is the same and well,

    does WTF mean Wednesday, Thursday, Friday?

    We DO talk about avoiding those SOB verbs (state of being- they're weak and imprecise!) :0

  • Umm, yeah, I did some math, and this was at least 20 years ago. Not that anyone cares, I just didn't want to be a liar here. Dang, time flies!

  • That must be where I got that line– without even knowing it. Reserved for appropriately frustrating situations and almost always when I am alone… Thanks vj for the source!

    Ah mard!

  • Oh, so King James version then. Well that's fine, as long as we're using the real Word of God and not one of those substitutes made by the Catholics, did you know they added several books? Well, we're leaving the light on for them, aren't we brother.



  • Amy B

    Ditto – Well Said! I thought I was the only person struggling with this.

  • Ephesians 5:4, TLB. "Dirty stories, foul talk and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead remind each other of God's goodness and be thankful!"

    Exodus 20: 7, TLB. "You shall not use the name of Jehovah your God irreverently, nor use it to swear to a falsehood. You will not escape punishment if you do."

    Colossians 3:8, NIV. "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips."

    Proverbs 13:3, NIV. "He who guards his lips guards his soul, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."

    Colossians 4:6, NIV. "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

    1 Timothy 4:12, NIV. "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

    John Shore, you are nothing more than a false teacher.

  • Diana

    So, what Colossians 4:6 is saying (and I noticed that Joshua changed to the NIV translation on some of these) is that we should be using salty language. Right?

  • MaTT 1-5 ( the Message) "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

  • Hey brother!

    I appreciate your words here and I'd like to recruit you into my Internet Warrior School of Evangelism. where I teach people like you with the gift of discernment to do as Jesus did: Nail people with the hammer of Truth and saw their tough old hearts with the visceral, biting words of the Lord. We need to restore this nation back to the days where Christians towed the line.

    The internet makes things very hard to control, but I'm convinced that with brothers like you who I plant in the right places after you're properly educated, we'll once again regain control over this rogue, emergent spirit who seeks to reach out to atheists and have reasonable dialogue with them, polluting their souls in the process. This post being just one example of what it means to be led astray by actually talking to one another about what the Word of God might actually "mean". People like you and I know what it means! We just need the proper place to feed it to these poor things – they're like little baby birds and we need to cram the truth down their tiny little throats like professional eater does at a pie-eating contest.

    This is no joke. Please get in touch with me immediately. I like the cut of your jib, son, I really do. I'm even going to consider a sliding scale.

    I hope this edifies and helps.


    the Fake John Shore

  • ha!

  • So is his name Joshua, or Josuha? Just curious. My children have unusually spelled names, so I certainly don't want to say anything rude.

    See, here I am, a die-hard spiritual agnostic, who has been drawn into faith-related conversations with this "John Shore" guy, thinking I was actually, like, learning something – only to find out that not only is he fake, he's also a false teacher. Disappointed doesn't being to describe it.

    Or . . . wait . . . here I am, a die-hard, spiritual agnostic, who stopped reading "Josuha's" comment almost immediately because I was preeeetty sure he was embarking on a finger-wagging, brows-knitted, booming-voiced old fashioned lecture. I put my fingers right in my cyber-ears and that was that. Conversation over.

    Some people just never learn. Maybe all his teachers were false?

  • Josuha Burnette

    Whether or not you accept Christ is not dependent on anything I say or do. I can't force you to become a Christian and I can't keep you from it either. Romans 9:15-16 I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.

    What one of you refer to as a "critical spirit" is actually decernment. Shore has made a career, and a lot of money, distorting scripture and telling people what they want to hear. 2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    Scripture makes it very clear that Satan has always used lies to destroy people and seperate them from God.

  • Ace

    So now you're saying that John is Satan.


  • DR

    And yet, so many who’ve held your particular point of view are on TV, preaching away from their (literal) golden chairs, raking in the cash from 75-year olds. And because they say what you say? I wonder if you see the money they accumulate as being “funds from the Lord”. I’d bet a year’s salary that you have no issue with that particular accumulation of wealth.

  • Diana


    “Shore has made a career, and a lot of money,…” I rather doubt the “lots of money” part. Writers don’t make that much unless they’re, like, Stephen King. Even there, I doubt that Donald Trump or Bill Gates are concerned that Stephen King is going to buy them out any time soon.

    “…distorting scripture and telling people what they want to hear.” The implication here being that John Shore is deliberately distorting scripture, so that he can tell people what they want to hear. Just because his interpretations of scripture are different from yours doesn’t mean that he is deliberately distorting scripture. Even if he were, it does not mean that he is doing so because he seeks to tell other people what they want to hear. Such rash accusations do not give you any credibility whatsoever. Please think before you comment in the future. Thank you.

  • I think you got that right! And yes, it makes great sense – seems like that would matter to God a whole lot more than someone using salty language.

    I do love Christ on a cracker and Jesus in a jar – never heard those. My favorite has always been ‘Christ on a bike!” It usually relieves the tension by making anyone in earshot perk up and ask what the hey I just said!

  • Seems it is always the swear words kids want to learn in other languages first. My daughters, when first learning Chinese, were most tickled when they learned the word for “butt.” They were very young. Much saltier now.

    I can still remember the word for s**t in French from high school. We all thought it was hee-LAR-ious when we learned it, altho’ now I realize that merely points out what a complete dork I am – er, was.

  • JB

    Shore used the term "crazy money" to define his income once. Don't watch or care for televangelists. That's a rash accusation! Virtually every article Shore writes is based on liberal ideology-not scripture. That's why he refuses to debate and often deletes posts not posted by one of his cheerleaders. And no, he is not Satan. But he is being used by him. The things he writes are the equivilant of "You shall not surely die."

    "Even if he were, it does not mean that he is doing so because he seeks to tell other people what they want to hear." What? So is he just having fun?

  • Oh, SoCoGal……we must have grown up in the same Baptist home. Severely Baptist…..love that! And so totally get it.

  • Leslie

    I don't really have any great insight to add, but this is a topic I've thought a lot about, so here's my one and half cents:

    As an English teacher, I gotta tell ya that words are just words, and there is a world of difference between "vulgarity" and "profanity." Most of our curse words are simple vulgarity — it's a cultural thing, not a religious thing. Profanity can be much different: Insulting God or calling on Him to smite someone is bad. Throwing out an occasional "fuck it" or "damn" isn't going to sully your soul. When it comes to vocabulary, I think it boils down to the intent of the heart.

    Jus' sayin'. 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    It always seemed indecorous to say "Blessings" as a casual sign-off, like using the good china for dog food. But with you using it ad nauseam in your half-assed attempt at social commentary, I've developed twitch in my right eye every time I see it. Is it really fair to make me hate such a nice word? Can you change up your shtick at least?

  • Diana A.

    What Elizabeth said.

  • Thank you Elizabeth!

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Daaaamn, giiirl!!

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Ya’ know… it's really no different from JB’s ad hominem attack when you pick on someone's spelling mistakes (or typing errors or dyslexia or mental slowness or poor quality education and/or under-concerned parents, or whatever it is that lies at the heart of the matter). Two wrongs don't make a right. It's just kind of mean and inflammatory and only wins the argument by humiliating one’s opponent into walking away from it. And that's really no way to win at all when we're not disputing some piece of property but waging battle for men's souls.

  • D. Novak

    Matthew 12:36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. Profanity is a signof what's in our hearts. It's also a sympton of uncontrolled anger, poor language skills, and of a general crudeness. You should find another minister.

    And I doubt any Christians think Shore is a Christian.

  • Whoa. Thanks!!!

  • I can tell you first hand that John does not delete posts that question him or disagree with him. I have argued on this site several times and he worst I've gotten from him is "Quit being a dick". He has yet to delete any of my comments and I'm an atheist who disagrees with him on a lot of issues. Check your facts before making statements please.

  • Bad spelling should always be called out. Modern browsers have spell checking built in! It is just lazy to not read what you have just written before posting it. Misspelling a word in a serious conversation makes others take what you say you less seriously and rightfully so. If you have that poor of an education, you should be listening and learning instead of trying to teach. If a person dumb, why should anyone care what that person has to say?

  • Matthew Tweedell

    "he worst"?

    I guess "the" is a bit too long of a word for you?

    It's just lazy to not read what you have just written before posting it.

  • Haha, oops, I've been drinking a bit, pardon me. The point still stands however. There is no valid way to argue that poor spelling is something that should be ignored in serious conversation.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Then bad grammar should always be called out, because "[i]f a person dumb" and uses poor grammar in a serious conversation, it makes others want "to not read" it and to take what s/he says less seriously and rightfully so, as it is more telling of true ignorance than what "spell checking built in" could be correcting for someone else just as uneducated and hardly any less lazy.

  • That is true. Call it out for sure. To be fair, I am more careful when discussing serious topics with serious people than I am in a casual conversation, so there is a difference there.

  • Also, I should point out that I did not correct anyone's spelling, so you are speaking to the wrong person. Please direct your comments to the relevant person.

  • Shannon

    Ace is right – its in the Lord’s Prayer “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Harold by thy name!” 😉 LOL – Before anyone beats me up, I know its “hallowed”, just teasing…

  • Elizabeth

    The teacher writing BS in the margin reminds me of my first theatre résumé in which I proudly asserted my experience as an Ass Director. Didn’t get any job offers from that one.

  • BarbaraEBj

    You should have told him it stood for OMGosh

  • BarbaraEBj

    There you go! I should have read all the comments, before suggesting… you had it all under control!

    I always add in the osh after the initials now because I don’t want anyone to NOT understand what I mean — but, I do love the “multiple” entendres that used to be a way for adults to have conversations that kids couldn’t understand… drats on kids who are now “in the know” on all the wrong stuff !

  • Elizabeth

    For a synopsis of John’s jobs, try this: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2010/07/08/jobs-ive-had-writing/ . The blog work is volunteer work. The link provided above makes it clear that he receives no remuneration for his writing here at his blog or at Huffington Post. He states, “I do it for the exposure.” I can’t say beyond a doubt that he never used the term “crazy money” to describe his income, but you’re the one who can’t cite your source when questioned. When you’re blatantly sloppy with something so petty (and, frankly, déclassé) as talking about other people’s money, I wonder what other corners you cut in order to justify yourself.

    If you think John shuns debate, you are simply delusional. Earlier today, I reviewed some blog post comments in which I participated. I was flabbergasted by the sheer volume of time and energy he spends engaging both his fans and his foes. As much as I enjoy it (and I do love me some righteous indignation) John probably wastes too much time trying to get through to people. He’s generous like that.

    I can’t speak for John. I don’t know why anyone would *volunteer* to take the sheer amount of s*** he does–from both sides. Most liberals hate that he’s Christian; most Christians hate him for being too liberal. I’d say, at least three quarters of the time, it is not even what he writes that is being discussed, but some long-buried resentment from a personal injustice projected solely by the critic. Then there are the instigators who think quoting cherry-picked Bible verses until their faces turn blue prove something profound. Honestly, a couple of days of that and I might look into Satanism.

    The conclusion I draw is two-fold. One, I think John’s writing is prompted by a genuine desire to help people and serve God the best way he can. I would require Bill Gates money in order to put up with the terrible names he’s called. I think he is also respectful of the fact that he fills a niche that would otherwise go wanting, that of an logical, thoughtful, compassionate Christian who’s not afraid to take unpopular stands. Name one other person doing the work John Shore is doing. The welcome he extends to people from all walks and all beliefs is unique, in the physical world and in the blogosphere.

    Two, he’s savvy enough and patient enough to trust that this work will reward him one day, as it rewards his many readers now. He also has the support and agreement of his wife, something I imagine is essential for him to be able to take that step. He’s putting his money where his mouth is and going for it. He has faith. He’s living his faith. Love him or hate him, that’s a good example for all of us.

    That, or he’s the “equivilant” of Satan, like you said.

  • Troy

    You go girl!

  • Troy

    “equivilant “?

    Don’t try to use big wurds til yu kin spel thim.

  • I have never understood why “Shut Up” was such a terrible phrase. People treat it like it is one of the 4 letter words. I personally try not to swear and will insert the phrase “Son of a Shoopuff” (From Final Fantasy X for the PS2) wherever I feel the need to say “Son of a B.” Saying “Son of a B” is like all of those bad “Your Mama’s so _____.” comments that people seem to think are funny and are just insulting to people not involved in the conversation. I also detest the C word in referring to a woman. I don’t think there is any valid reason to use that term. Otherwise, I do swear, though I try to limit it around my kids…and other people’s parents.

  • Elizabeth, you ROCK my socks, girlfriend! You’re thoughtful, eloquent, and damn smart.

    I especially like: “I think John’s writing is prompted by a genuine desire to help people and serve God the best way he can.”

    Thanks for saying what many of us think, but can’t put it into words as easily or quite so well.


  • Susan Golian

    My minister Bruce, when confronted about his salty language, stood up in front of us all and said, “What?!? You think God’s up there with his hands over His ears whining, ‘Oh oh oh, Bruce is cussing again!'” while stomping his feet. I don’t believe God gives a rat’s ass about our cussing and swearing – I believe He cares about what is in our hearts. And, just for good measure, taking the Lord’s name in vain doesn’t mean don’t say, “God-dammit – I burned the potatoes!” – it means don’t call on God to witness a vow (a vow is a promise before God) and then break your vow ! “With God as my witness I shall (or shall not) do ____________.” Of course that’s exactly what we are doing when we get married – we’re making a vow, a promise with God as our witness – so getting divorced IS TAKING THE LORD’S NAME IN VAIN!

  • Susan Golian

    Nice work, if you can get it.

  • Beverly Lewis

    The following General Orders, issued to the Continental army at New York by George Washington about three weeks before the Battle of Long Island and known as Washington’s order on profanity. From The Papers, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 5, June – August 1776,

    The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish, and wicked practice, of profane cursing and swearing (a Vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavour to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it.

    “…every man of sense, and character…” In other words those of poor sense and low character endorse it.

  • Diana A.

    It doesn’t matter if we think John Shore is a Christian or not. Only God knows the truth of John Shore’s heart and only God’s opinion on the subject matters.

  • Mel

    I have been looking at a bunch of articles that people have put on the internet about Christians swearing. I am very surprised to find out that way more people are okay with it than I thought. It is wrong. You put here that it doesn't say anywhere in the Bible not to swear, but that is completely untrue. This website, http://www.gotquestions.org/cussing-swearing.html… has many examples of places in the Bible where we are told not to swear. The fact that you think it's funny that some people use faux swear words is strange to me. Personally, I use different words to express anger other than swearing, but it's not b/c I trained my brain to substitute a swear word, I just don't think about the swear word b/c I don't swear. The very name of this article makes me upset…."the comfortably cursing Christian" …that's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. Please take time to read through the article on the website I have put here so that you can at least be educated on the topic instead of just making things up to justify what you do.

  • Yeah, John!

  • Mindy

    Mel, I commend you for not swearing. But I have to say, I went to the article you cited and I still don't see that using swear words is a sin. Context is the key. Using swear words to demean another, to deliberately offend – sure, that's mean. That's the kind of stuff I'm thinking God might get upset about, if God were to concern himself with the trifles of the everyday life of every human. Not because of the words, though. Because of the hurtful intent.

    Swear words can be used brilliantly – to convey either enthusiasm or disgust, surprise or sudden pain. If you swear to convey your disgust with something cruel or hurtful, might that not be a good thing?

    Swear words are colorful, allowing us to expressing ourselves in additionally creative ways. Using swear words simply to provoke a reaction is lame, granted, but sinful? Doubtful. Re-read the Bible quotes in the article you shared. Each one describes the CONTEXT and INTENT of our words, not words themselves.

    Take this paragraph from the article: "Jesus explained that what comes out of our mouths is that which fills our hearts. Sooner or later, the evil in the heart comes out through the mouth in curses and swearing. But when our hearts are filled with the goodness of God, praise for Him and love for others will pour forth. Our speech will always indicate what is in our hearts. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

    I swear. I don't swear all the time, nor do I swear at people. I just . . . swear sometimes. But I am not evil. I'm pretty sure my kids, family and friends would vouch for that. I was home alone cooking earlier today and burned my arm. I swore. I swore loudly. Because it HURT, and the release of yelling, "SHIT!" followed by "DAMN-DAMN-DAMN!!!" made me feel a teensy bit better. And still, I am not evil. My intent was not to hurt anyone. And unless my cats are easily offended, I didn't.

    Sometimes I swear while driving. What would be evil is if I pulled up next to the guy who cut me off and, oh, I don't know – shot him. Even rolling down the window swearing AT him might be considered evil by many. I'd call it obnoxious rather than evil, but that's just me. So I just mutter-swear, about him, to myself. Nope, not evil. Would never, ever act upon the anger he made me feel. Just venting, then I'm over it.

    When someone hurts others and I hear about it on the news, I might swear. I might call the evildoer a jackass, or a bastard. Not to his face, of course. But somehow, saying that he is a bad, bad man for slaughtering his entire family in front of his 4-yr.-old just doesn't seem . . . robust enough, shall we say. I don't even mind that my daughters hear me, because I think it's fine that they know what I think of that guy. I'm OK with that. I think God is probably not going to bother trashing me for it.

    I won't even go into politics, but yes, I do swear about that. God, do I swear. And I am entirely confident that the evil in that equation does not rest with me!

    Someone broke into my house a year or so ago, and I caught them there. Guess what? I swore. Loudly, and angrily. I yelled at them to get their fucking asses out of my house!!!!!!!!!!!! And they ran as fast as their legs could carry them, and my computers, and cameras . . . so when I talked to the police, I swore again. And I don't feel one bit bad about it. I was angry. But I wasn't evil. I didn't hurt them. I let them know that what they did was wrong (evil, perhaps?), and that if they are going to break someone's window, enter a house and steal thousands of dollars of electronics from a single, unemployed mom, they risk getting sworn at.

    Still, I'm not evil.

    Truthfully, I think the website that tries to tell me I am is more evil than I'll be.

  • Sushi

    It took foour paragraphs for that same site to express that smoking is a sin…but goes on to say that it doesn't preclude someone from going to heaven….but it didn't say that about cussing? Whatever.

    It's all interpretation,personal experience, perception and perspective.

    I am tired of people who quote scripture rather than discuss scripture in the context of a conversation. Or simply engage in a dialogue that is not peppered with Bible verses, out of context, to validate their own interpretation and/or superiority.

    Not that this is the case for any comments here. It's just a sore spot.

    @Mindy, I believe you were very thoughtful in your deliberation to seek truth, and in so doing, I believe that makes God happy.

  • Jeanine

    I had a Christian friend years ago (long before I became a Christian myself) that used to call people 'Jake' to avoid swearing. He was a work associate and he would stomp into the office, tell me about a situation, and then say 'that Jake!" He used it so often, and with such vexation in his voice that 'Jake' has become a swear word to me. When I hear it from him, my heart reacts and I know that it means hatred toward somebody or something. He might as well just call him a MF or something else.

    I don't think it is the word itself that constitutes a swear word; but it is all of the baggage that the word carries. Certain words just seem to display a certain heart-attitude.

  • Mel

    Mindy, I am happy that somebody took the time to actually read through the website that I put here. However I still totally disagree with you. I don't think these verses were taken out of context at all. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29) How is that taken out of context? When you swear in front of your kids, is that building them up? It doesn't matter that you didn't swear AT the guy who killed his family, it's still unwholesome talk which we are told is not to come out of our mouths.

    Also, when you said that you yelled at the people who broke into your house….you swore AT them, which even according to your standards is apparently wrong b/c you yourself said that swearing AT people is a different story.

    "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." (James 3:9-12). Again, I don't see how this is taken out of context. It talks about how cursing men with the same tongue that we praise God is wrong. Regardless of whether or not you swear AT the person, when you swear ABOUT the guy on TV who killed his family, or the guy in the car who cut you off, you are still cursing man, who has been made in the likeness of God. I'm not at all saying that the guy who killed his family didn't do something wrong, but there are other ways you can let your children know that.

    You said in your comment, "If you swear to convey your disgust with something cruel or hurtful, might that not be a good thing?" But like I said earlier, there are other ways to show your disgust with something. I'm sure you've heard the saying "two wrongs don't make a right", and just b/c somebody else did something cruel or hurtful, that does not suddenly make it right for you to swear. I greatly appreciate hearing your opinion, but can you at least see where I'm coming from? How can you justify swearing when it is so clear that God has said it is wrong?

    Sushi, you said that the website had another article on smoking but made it clear that smoking would not exclude you from the Kingdom of God. It said basically the same thing about swearing, so you are mistaken. At the end of that page, it said that no matter what you do, when you ask for forgiveness, God will give it to you. Everybody sins, so of course that's not the deciding factor in whether or not you may enter Heaven, it's what's in your heart, and God will ultimately be the judge of that.

    I don't think that this is a subject that is up for interpretation. The bible makes it very clear, in no uncertain terms that swearing is wrong. So for you to say it is up to interpretation doesn't make any sense to me.

    I feel like your comment about people who only quote Bible verses, etc. was directed at me, so I am going to address it. First of all, quoting scripture is a way to prove something, so I don't see anything wrong with it. However, in the above paragraphs that I addressed to Mindy, not only did I quote them, but I also discussed them…does that prove my point better for you? I also resent your comment about people using Bible verses to validate there own superiority. I do not at all consider myself superior to anybody. Just b/c I don't swear that doesn't make me superior to anyone, and I totally know that. I have made mistakes in other areas of my life, and I am a sinful human just like the rest of mankind. Just because I have a strong opinion about something and choose to discuss it, that doesn't mean that I think I'm superior to anybody.

    I would like to continue this discussion like adults, so please comment back if you have anything else to say, but please don't be condemning. If I have come across as judging anybody, then I am truly sorry, I am simply trying to have a civilized conversation in which both sides are stated, and commented on.

  • Mindy

    Mel, you are more than entitled to your opinion. Methinks we shall just have to agree to disagree. Many others, in earlier posts, have eloquently stated why they believe that swearing does not necessarily equate to "unwholesomeness," per the biblical quotes you supplied. We will also have to agree to disagree on whether or not the quotes you supplied are cut and dried vs. open to interpretation. You, former; me, latter.

    No, I don't think two wrongs make a right, but I also don't think all wrongs weigh the same, either. I'm human, I have my flaws, swearing is one of them, and I don't find it a big enough one – because I am careful as to the whens and the whys – to expend my self-improvement energy on it. Maybe when I've perfected all other aspects of my flawed human self, I'll take that on.

    As for the my cursing AT the two young men who broke into my house, well, yes. I swore AT them. Wrong, wrong, wrong. But not AS wrong as, say, hurling the nearest heavy object at the back of a head, or, perhaps, shooting the closest one in the back as he ran out. I was filled with the adrenalin of violated anger. I remember telling the police officer that I was, upon reflection, very glad I did not own a firearm. If I had, I was angry enough at that moment that I'd quite possibly have used it. And immediately regretted it, because no amount of electronic stuff would have been worth taking the life of another human being. Or horribly wounding another human being, particularly one who obviously needs someone to care about him enough to teach him right from wrong.

    As another poster commented above, swearing is a rather benign method of stress release.

    So, you are free to not swear, and should I ever meet you in person, I will make a concerted effort not to swear in your presence. In the meantime, I will remain true to myself and not apologize for the occasional salty language.

  • Actually, Mel, your initial comment revealed you’re a bit upset about this post you slid into a presumptuous closing comment.

    “Please take time to read through the article on the website I have put here so that you can at least be educated on the topic instead of just making things up to justify what you do.”

    This insults John and, by extension, me (who happens to agree with him). It suggests that he (we) have not educated ourselves, have not read the verses you point out, have not heard the interpretation you and the web site posit, and merely make stuff up to justify a behavior.

    I might categorize these words are discouraging and unwholesome. Although, you did not swear. If you are genuine about your desire for civilized, nonjudgmental conversation, you might rephrase that comment.

  • Mel

    I apologize for the way that that comment came across. I believe those verses to be cut and dry so to me reading them is educating yourself on the topic, but when I re-read it I can see that the wording came across as judgmental and I am really sorry for that. You said that my comment revealed that I am upset by this post, and I most definitely am. Swearing offends me in any circumstance, but hearing it from somebody who says they're a Christian really hits a sore spot. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you're not a Christian. I have just been around so many people who profess Christianity and they don't live their lives i a way that is honouring to God. I think that things like swearing, and drinking too much give Christians a bad reputation. To me it's like a slap in the face to God saying "I don't care what you say because I can do whatever I want". I just think, NOT swearing isn't really that hard to do. I think that not swearing is one of the things that sets Christians apart. I think that if a non-Christian hears a professing Christian swearing, they are just going to think "what's so great about that religion? They don't seem that different from me" but if we take what some people consider a challenge, and don't swear, then somebody might see that difference and want to see what we're all about. I think it's very important for Christians to be set apart from the world for that very reason, and if you could play a part in showing somebody the truth about Jesus, then why wouldn't you try everything you could to do so?

  • Mel

    I guess you're right that we will have to agree to disagree. I was really hoping I could change your mind, but that doesn't seem like it's going to happen. I WOULD however, like to point out that you said swearing is one of your flaws. So does that mean you agree that it is wrong? We may have different opinions on whether or not some things are WORSE than others, but it seems like we can both agree that it IS wrong. Am i right? Or did I totally misunderstand what you were saying?

    To be honest, if it came right down to it and you asked me if swearing or shooting somebody was worse, I WOULD say that killing is worse. I would have a very hard time thinking/saying otherwise as I'm sure most people would. However, I still believe that in a way, all sins are equal. If you ask God for forgiveness, He isn't going to look at what you did and decide if you are worth forgiving, or if what you did is just TOO bad. The only thing He is going to look at is your heart, and whether or not you TRULY are sorry.

  • Mel

    I totally know what you mean! I understand saying oh my goodness (which some people think is just a substitute for using the Lord's name in vain) or something like that. But definitely the WAY that you say something can make it have an entirely different meaning. When it comes right down to it, we should just try to be loving with our words, and the way that we use our mouths.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Judging from my interactions with people who have negative opinions regarding Christians, swearing and drinking too much are NOT what give Christians a bad reputation.

    (I leave it for tildeb or somebody to get on you about where quoting scriptures *isn't* "a way to prove something".)

  • Jeanine

    You seem to always criticize people when they quote scripture to support their belief about something. I get the impression from you that you are thinking, 'What a feeble mind this person must have because all they can do is reference scripture, which is no proof at all. Surley they can make a better argument than that.'

    However, you never criticize anyone on this post who quotes from any other book or source. A google search is perfectly good evidence around here, and we all know how very reliable the internet can be at times. I wonder why that is?

    If I am wrong about your opinion, I apologize, I don't want to misinterpret your comments.

    I think when people quote the scriptures, they are saying in effect,

    "I have thought about this question myself, considered different ways that it might be answered, listened to other peoples' answers for this question, read something about this question in a book called the Bible, and have determined that I believe what the author of that book (the Bible) says about the question. Therefor, I will share that source with others in the same manner as they are sharing their sources and beliefs with me.".

    I don't see John presenting 'scientific evidence' or 'infallible logical arguments' for all of his perspectives on things, he is just offering up his own thoughts and observations in a whimsical format. I think when people quote scripture they are just saying that this verse of scripture resonates with me more than something John or someone else said with their opinion.

    See what I mean?

  • Mindy

    As I said, Mel, we'll have to agree to disagree. You sound like a "black and white" kinda guy – no room for gray – as evidenced by your comment that all sins are equal (and yes, I realize that you sort of qualified it). I just reeeeeally don't feel that way.

    When you asked if I think cursing is wrong because I called myself flawed, well, no. I am flawed for all kinds of other reasons, as is every other human being. If I were absolutely perfect in every way except that I swore – which offends *some* people – then I might decide that I have the emotional energy to figure out other ways of expressing myself and therefore remove the one last perceived flaw in my otherwise perfect being.

    Since I live in the real world, however, and am human, I know that ain't gonna happen, and I'm just fine with that.

    You take the bible literally – I don't. Can't. Far too fictional and contradictory for that. Fascinating, but real? Sorry, I just can't buy into that.

    As for God deciding if I'm worthy of forgiveness based on what I did, well, in a way I agree with you. I believe that if God judges us, and the jury's still out on that, s/he does so based on motive and intent. People who simply don't care whether they hurt others or not, people who put themselves first above other people – they are the ones in trouble in my hereafter.

    I appreciate your effort in hoping to change my mind, Mel, but you won't. I know too many wonderful Christians who curse to believe that something as minor as colorful language is what sets them apart.

  • Diana A.

    Hi Jeanine:

    You raise a good point in asking why scriptures are not adequate proof. Let me explain.

    1) Not everyone buys into the veracity of the scriptures. Most atheists, for instance, consider the Bible to be a hunk of junk. So when we who are Christians use scripture in an attempt to prove our viewpoint, those who do not view the Bible as authoritative automatically reject the argument.

    2) I, personally, am not sure that the Bible is intended as proof of anything. When I read the Bible, I do not see many sophisticated arguments as to why this or that is so. On the contrary, much of the Bible assumes a specific world view and, in fact, that's why some of it is easily misunderstood–because the Bible was written to and for the people of Israel (and later, for the people of the early Christian church) and each of the books was written at specific times and places, for specific reasons.

    I tend to avoid using scripture to make my points unless I know that I'm dealing with a fellow Christian who buys into the authority of the scriptures. As Jesus put it, "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces…." (Matthew 7:6, NIV) Even when I use scripture, I tend to use it because, as you put it "this verse of scripture resonates with me more than something John or someone else said with their opinion."

    Does this help?

  • Mindy

    John presented his own thoughts as just that – his own thoughts. He never claimed that his thoughts "prove" anything.

    When I, for one, use Google looking for proof of something, I don't use as my validity gauge the fact that it is on the Internet. I read a variety of the articles Google brings up, and seek those that have scientifically tested hypotheses. I would look at an article, for example, about a study in which 1000 self-described Christians were anonymously surveyed about whether or not they swore, along with questions about other activities in their lives. If the ones who swore turned out to be the ones most involved in community activities, volunteerism, charity donations, etc., I might present that as proof that Mel is wrong. If it were vice versa, I'd have to admit that perhaps not swearing does go along with being a "better" Christian.

    But just because some article written by some guy says Christians can comfortably swear, well, that's not proof. Opinion never is. I happen to agree with that opinion and I base it on my own anecdotal experience. But I don't hold that up as "proof" of anything. Mel presented scripture as "proof." The scripture he quoted easily open to interpretation – as others have stated, unwholesomeness, etc. can have far more to do with intent than the actual words – so it cannot be construed as "proof." To prove something true, one must show indisputable facts that makes it impossible for anyone to disprove. Since many believe that the bible is a collection of fables and parables about morality and others believe it is a complete work of fiction, it cannot be held up as "proof" of anything – outside the circle of those who take the bible literally.

    I understand what you are saying – that to Mel, because he interprets scripture literally, it stands as proof. But he has to respect the fact that a vast number of people do not see it that way and will never accept scripture verses as "proof" of anything.

  • Jeanine

    Hi Diana,

    1. I am not really asking why scriptures are not adequate proof; I understand the athiests objection; I am really just asking why it is the only source that gets the old 'eye-roll'. After all, ancient documents that have been preserved throughout time, still being read and talked about today, (the number one selling book of all time)ought to have at least as much platform as some ancient dinosaur bones or Darwin's bird beaks on some island somewhere.

    2. See I used to think like you do on that, but somehow the Lord opened my eyes to the majesty of the scriptures. On the surface it is a world view book about moral living and certain events and poems, and a record of many individuals and their dealings with God throughout time. But now I can read the scriptures as the mind of God about who Jesus is. The person of Jesus Christ is in all of it, the old and the new testament. His character, His will, His holiness, his justice, his mercy, his grace, his wisodm, his creativity, his power, his might, his goodness….etc. etc. etc. In reading all of it, I am getting to know him. And since I wasn't alive 2,000 years ago – this is how it is done.

    It is not like I was real clever and just figured this out on my own though. The more I prayed over it and read it over again and again, the more the Lord opened it up for me to show me Christ. I look forward to reading it every day, because it is like spending time picking God's brain.

    And I definitely agree with you that sharing scripture with someone who is going to trash it is a very bad idea. But I think scripture has a power all its own which my words do not have. Scripture is usually a lot more profound than I am. And even though one person might trample it under foot, another person reading the blog might latch onto a truth they find there and be blessed by it.

  • Mel

    I know what you mean when you say that scripture isn't a way to "prove" something to a non-believer because as soon as you say the word Bible, they stop listening. However, this article was posted by someone who says they are a "comfortably swearing Christian". Since this person has claimed to be a Christian, I think that using the Bible as proof is exactly what should be done.

  • Jeanine

    Good point Mel, but I got chewed up for that opinion a few posts back.

  • Mel

    First of all, and I just thought this was funny, I am a girl. Mel is short for Melanie. Just thought I'd clear that up b/c when I read things you put talking about me as a "he" it just made me laugh. Second, as I posted earlier, I may not use the Bible as "proof" to a non-Christian because they wouldn't listen and it would just give them opportunity to make fun of something that I consider sacred and precious. However since this article is called "the comfortably cursing CHRISTIAN" I think that using the Bible as proof is exactly what is called for. Anybody who is a Christian would accept the Bible as proof. Sure, SOME things are open to interpretation, in which case I might present something as proof, and you will see it in a different light. However, you said that some people will never accept Scripture as proof for ANYTHING

  • Mel

    First of all, and I just thought this was funny, I am a girl. Mel is short for Melanie. Just thought I'd clear that up b/c when I read things you put talking about me as a "he" it just made me laugh.

    Second, as I posted earlier, I may not use the Bible as "proof" to a non-Christian because they wouldn't listen and it would just give them opportunity to make fun of something that I consider sacred and precious. However since this article is called "the comfortably cursing CHRISTIAN" I think that using the Bible as proof is exactly what is called for. Anybody who is a Christian would accept the Bible as proof. Sure, SOME things are open to interpretation, in which case I might present something as proof, and you will see it in a different light. However, you said that some people will never accept Scripture as proof for ANYTHING in which case I would have to entirely disagree with you. What are we if we don't have the Bible to lean on? Below, you said that the Bible is fictional. Fascinating, but not real. And I am trying to be very careful in the way that I phrase what I am about to say next because I really don't want to sound judgmental, but what exactly do you base your faith on, if not the Bible?

    You also said that the jury is still out on whether or not God judges us. I am not trying to start an argument or anything, just a conversation. Again, I guess this boils down to what I previously asked about what you base your faith on, but if you believe in God and everything that He says, how can you not know that He will ultimately judge everybody?

  • Mel

    wow, something went seriously wrong with my computer there for a second. Sorry about that first "half-post". lol, just skip right to the second one.

  • Mel

    Hi Jeanine,

    When you said good point, but that you got chewed up for that opinion a few posts back, I wasn't 100% sure what you meant. Just to clarify, I am totally on your side when it comes to this, and what you said I completely agree with. I wasn't sure if you were saying you agreed with me, but somebody already tore you apart for that opinion, or if you misunderstood what I put, and thought I was the one tearing you apart. Anyways, I saw that your opinion was criticized already, I just thought I would let people know that I agree with that opinion also.

  • Mindy

    Mel, I am not Christian. See, I thought you were male, you thought I was Christian. (my best friend is named Melanie but HATES it when anyone shortens her name to Mel, so that never even occurred to me! Sorry 'bout that).

    I *do* believe that most of the bible is fictional. Some of the stories of lineage may be based in fact, but most of the stories are, IMHO, moralistic tales in the storytelling vein of the time, trying to make sense of what was not yet understood – about many things. About the solar system and weather and illness, etc. etc. Just my belief, not trying to prove anything or convince anyone that I am right – it is simply what I believe.

    I base my own faith in humanism, on the belief in a connection between souls that we do not yet understand and therefore cannot explain, a connection to nature that we've moved too far away from, and an inherent goodness that every human possesses. I don't believe that fear of eternal damnation is necessary for people to do the right thing, but we've used that threat of punishment as the way to get people to "behave" for so long. Instead, I'd rather us teach people to behave, to do good, simply because it is the right thing to do – it feels better, it makes others feel better and ultimately it makes life better for all.

  • Jeanine

    This is the first blog site I ever really came to; but in coming; I had a blind spot in what I was getting into with my first comment.

    I made the mistake of thinking I was in an on-line, challenge yourself and others sort of Bible study, talking with other Christians who believe that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God.

    Much to my surprise, and through great pain of condemnation, I found out that I was not in such an environment. If you hold the view that the Bible is true, you are in the minority here. Most Christians on this site think it is just literature, full of wisdom, but open to all kinds of errors and interpretations. Not all, but many.

    So, I had to adjust the way I was talking – people were being offended by me all over the place (maybe they still are, i don't know).

  • Jeanine

    ok – I am not trying to be argumentative, but I am just struggling to better understand this 'interpretation' debate we keep having.

    Way up there someplace @ Josuha Burnette on August 8, 2010 at 5:51 pm – Josuha posted a lot of scriptures about our speech and the words we use.

    You are saying that John is interpreting scripture differently than Josuha. Josuha seems to be saying that our words and the manner of our speech matter to God. How do you think John is interpreting them differently? What do you think they mean?

  • Mel

    I thought the same thing when I first came here. I thought it would be nice to show people the truth, using the Bible to do so. I realize now that showing people Bible verses isn't going to accomplish anything because as you said, if you believe the Bible is 100% true, you are a minority on this site. I have to say though, I really didn't expect this much debate to come out of my strong conviction that swearing is wrong. It was nice to have you comment on my post, and to know that there is somebody else out there who believes that the Bible is the true Word of God, and can't be tampered with.

  • Jeanine

    Thanks Mel; you are being way more gracious than I was. It is like an alarm goes off in my head when something contradicts scripture. I wish I would have had more like your response.

    God Bless you 🙂

  • Jeanine

    I think you are right about his rash judgement and personal attack about John's character and I also agree with you that he had a right to contend with this article using the scriptures he chose.

    And as for your last point, I would be very interested to hear how John interprets these scriptures. I know what he thinks about foul language from his article, and that he doesn't find any reference to it in the Bible. If not, then what do these mean? Maybe people like Josuha and I are just bogged down in some sort of legalism type bondage and need to be shown the way out.

  • Mindy

    I would also like to point out that my not believing the bible to be factually true does not mean I think it is in any way bad. I think it is an invaluable historical document. I think it is spiritually meaningful, in that it opens a window into the belief systems of a time long past – and many afterward, as it was revised along the way.

    I also think the lessons and the ethics of many parts of the bible continue to ring true through the ages. But if it were cut and dried, as some believe it to be, we wouldn't have generations of biblical scholars unable to agree on meanings and insinuations and actualities. It couldn't have *been* revised countless times by various heads of church – every denomination would read the same words from the same version and they would mean the same thing to all. Because that is not the case, we have everyone from Catholics to evangelicals to Mormons to the UCC calling themselves Christian. They all interpret the bible differently, choosing which passages matter more than others.

    I don't believe for a moment that the bible is a hunk of junk, as Diana said many do, even though I am agnostic. I simply believe it is open to interpretation and that it has to be considered historically, keeping in mind the conditions of the time in which it was originally scribed.

  • Mindy

    Jeanine, I'm not Diana, but I thought I'd toss out my interpretations in an effort to explain the difference.

    Here are the quotes Joshua posted:

    Ephesians 5:4, TLB. “Dirty stories, foul talk and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead remind each other of God’s goodness and be thankful!”

    You can do all of that without swearing. Dirty stories do not require curse words. Foul talk – maybe swear words, maybe it means insults, or bigoted remarks? Coarse jokes – again, don't require swearing. You can make a joke about something inappropriate without ever using a curse word, and you can make a perfectly innocent joke with a curse word right in the middle of it. I know you've heard jokes about small children misinterpretations, right?

    Exodus 20: 7, TLB. “You shall not use the name of Jehovah your God irreverently, nor use it to swear to a falsehood. You will not escape punishment if you do.”

    Don't include God's name in your swearing rant. OK. Don't use God's name to swear that a lie is true. That says nothing about general cursing, just that if you are going to talk about God, be nice.

    Colossians 3:8, NIV. “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”

    Filthy language – I assume this is the cursing part? I say not necessarily. Filthy language could, instead, mean discussing, say, private body parts in a public forum, or insultingly, even if you use the "correct" words. It could mean name-calling. I don't see this as necessarily saying that I cannot exclaim a curse word when I hurt myself. The *word* might be considered inappropriate by some, but the intent is merely to blow off the adrenalin rush from the pain.

    Proverbs 13:3, NIV. “He who guards his lips guards his soul, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”

    Speaking rashly can happen in myriad ways that have nothing whatsoever to do with cursing. Don't lie, don't insult people, don't divulge information that is not yours to divulge, etc. etc.

    Colossians 4:6, NIV. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

    A conversation that is well-meaning and heartfelt, even an argument, can be full of grace, because the intention of the speakers is to increase each other's understanding of a particular thought. Seasoned with salt sounds like a recommendation to spice it up and swear a little, if you ask me. Just be prepared to defend whatever you are saying – if you cannot defend it, shhhhhhhh.

    1 Timothy 4:12, NIV. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

    I believe setting an example in speech means that you should not lie. You should not cast aspersions. You should not insult someone for no reason. You should never speak with bigotry or hypocrisy. Don't say publicly what you are not willing to discuss and defend. None of that has to do with swearing.

  • Mindy: Yes. Thank you.

  • Diana: Thanks. Perfect.

  • (Oh, and I don't waste my time responding to people who call me things like "nothing more than a false teacher." That's just not someone I'd engage with.)

  • Jeanine

    Thanks so much for your reply.

    Happily, I interpret those scriptures the same way you do; except maybe for the part about the 'salt spicing it up a bit with a swear word' (because there are a lot of other scriptures that talk about being salt in a different context, and I like to try to let scripture interpret itself when I can find correlating scriptures). But that is a minor point.

    Everything that you have said above leads me to believe that a Christian should not only be concerned about just 'swear words' but should be concerned about the wholesomeness of all of his speech.

    And if there is a person who, by their actions, deserves to be called some nasty word – it is better left unsaid.

    I love the character of Jesus during his trial. He could have called them every name in the book and been right – but he said nothing.

  • Mindy

    Fair enough, Jeanine. The difference in our feelings on this is thus: You say that Christians should not only be concerned about *just* swear words, but about the wholesomeness of all of their speech.

    I say that as long as a Christian (or anyone else) focuses on the wholesomeness of their speech in terms of truth, integrity, kindness and empathy, swear words are not going to hurt a darned thing.

    If a person, by their actions, deserves to be called a nasty word, you're right, better left unsaid. BUT – I find nothing wrong with calling that person out for the specific actions that are so deserving.

  • Thanks for that Mel. I'd like to address this part of your comment:

    I just think, NOT swearing isn’t really that hard to do. I think that not swearing is one of the things that sets Christians apart.

    You're right, not swearing is easy to do. So easy, in fact, that non-Christians can accomplish this feat rather easily. 50 years of over the air TV with millions of people involved accomplished that feat. My office environment, swear-free, smoke-free, alcohol-free. So I would have to say that not swearing would most definitely not set me apart from non-Christians.

    What should set us Christians apart is an amazing, unending, unlimited, counter-cultural outpouring of a reckless, dangerous love of people. When the homeless shelters in DC are rivaling the state-dinner parties at 1600 Penn Ave, no one will care who's cussing.

  • Mindy

    ::::::::applauding Ric::::::: Awesome!

  • Mel

    I agree that our endless love should set us apart. I think there are many things that should set us apart and get people to ask themselves what it is that we have and they don't. We should be loving, and selfless as Christ was. But I also think what is different about us can be in the little things. Things like not complaining when something bad was thrown our way that we weren't expecting, looking at trials in our lives in a positive way such as suffering for the sake of righteousness, not being afraid of death because we have no doubt about where we are going, AND watching what comes out of our mouths. Is what we're saying going to help somebody or bring them down? When we say something are we going to look hateful or loving? I think that things like that can make a difference. Sure, some people might not even notice whether or not you swear, but on the other hand some things hit people differently. While one person wouldn't give it a second thought, another might notice and ask us why we don't swear. I choose to take a chance. I might go through my whole life without anybody noticing that I don't swear, and that's fine, I don't not swear JUST to get noticed. But I want to take the chance that something as small as my language might get somebody asking me questions, and that could open up a whole world of possibilities depending on how I answer them. I could tell that person why I believe what I believe, it would be a great opportunity to invite them to church or youth group, and who knows, maybe I could be there if/when they decide to give their life to God.

  • Diana A.

    Hi Jeanine!

    My argument was more with the implication that John was “deliberately” “…distorting scripture and telling people what they want to hear.” To me, this was libel and it was wrong. My intent was to stand up for John’s character. Just because somebody comes to a different conclusion about what scripture says, or about anything else doesn’t mean that person is deliberately distorting. And even if someone is deliberately distorting something doesn’t mean that their reason for doing so is to tell other people what they want to hear. I just felt that Josuha’s accusation was somewhat rash.

    John Shore: And I sure don’t see anything in the Bible about how cursing is a sin, or whatever. I thought it would be there: “Thou shalt not use dirty words,” or something. But it’s not. As far as I know, there’s nothing in the Bible about cursing at all.

    Okay, then Josuha sent in a bunch of scriptures, I guess with the intent to prove John wrong. By itself, a legitimate argument, given that the argument is over what scripture does/does not say about using foul language. But then, in a different post, when people failed to instantaneously agree with his scriptural viewpoint, that’s when dear, sweet Josuha decided to start in on the personal attacks: “Shore has made a career, and a lot of money, distorting scripture and telling people what they want to hear.”

    And it was that personal attack to which I was responding.

    As for how John interprets the scriptures Josuha quoted, I’m only assuming that he sees something different there from what Josuha did. Since he never actually responded to the scriptures Josuha quoted (to my knowledge), I have no way of knowing how he interprets those scriptures.

  • Mel

    I would also like to point out that it is not out of fear of damnation that I am a Christian. It is out of the pure love that Jesus Christ showed me on the cross, and the amazing treasure that awaits me in Heaven.

  • I applaud you, Mel, for all you are doing. I simply submit your choice to not swear is not a Christian choice but rather a cultural, family-friendly choice made by Christians and non-Christians alike. I put it in the same category as smoking and drinking. Some Christians do. Some don't.

    As I pointed out further up, ( http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2010/08/02/i-the-comfortably… ) Paul cussed to make a point. We've edited out his cussing from our modern bibles. We've soften and cheapened the word of God, missing the whole point in our legalistic practice of cleaning up Paul's language that cussed out our legalistic practices.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    I guess Diana and Mindy already pretty much covered it, but here's what I would reply anyway:

    "You seem to always criticize people when they quote scripture to support their belief about something."

    I do not, and I frequently quote Scripture myself as appropriate.

    However, supporting a belief and proving a fact are two different things.

    A stated fact in Scripture is to be accepted as divinely inspired down to the letter (as best it's been preserved), but not necessarily is any reasoning resulting from it in application to anything particular thing plucked from the realm of present existence and assumed related to it in any way.

    Yet indeed, "[a]ll Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," and for this do I use it and whatever of it all I find suitable, whether printed in one given copy of scriptures or another.

    "However, you never criticize anyone on this post who quotes from any other book or source."

    I see no one else on this particular post citing any other sources for anything other than examples. And nowhere on Shore's blog do I recall seeing any claim of validity to prooftexting any other work.

    "I think when people quote the scriptures, they are saying in effect, 'I have thought about this question myself, considered different ways that it might be answered, listened to other peoples’ answers for this question, read something about this question in a book called the Bible, and have determined that I believe what the author of that book (the Bible) says about the question.'"

    No, what Mel is saying, not in effect, but in exact words, is:

    "First of all, quoting scripture is a way to prove something…."

    "I don’t see John presenting ‘scientific evidence’ or ‘infallible logical arguments’ for all of his perspectives on things, he is just offering up his own thoughts and observations in a whimsical format."

    Exactly—his own thoughts—he doesn't claim to have proof, Jeanine!

    "I think when people quote scripture they are just saying that this verse of scripture resonates with me more than something John or someone else said with their opinion."

    I agree. But resonation is only proof of a harmonic interval. How it is incorporated in the melody of the world symphony is what tells the tale of truth.

    As I see Elizabeth has put it so well elsewhere, above, on this post: "Then there are the instigators who think quoting cherry-picked Bible verses until their faces turn blue prove something profound. Honestly, a couple of days of that and I might look into Satanism."

  • Mel

    You are just trying to start something. If you look at the rest of the comments on this post regarding my initial comment, it is a bunch of adults discussing something like adults. Then you come in and say something all sarcastic like "I leave it for tildeb or somebody to get on you about where quoting scriptures *isn’t* “a way to prove something". So yes, I respond to that by saying that it most definitely IS a way to prove something. But me saying that is in no way contradicting what Jeanine said. Everything that she said is true. I have thought about this before, I have listened to what other people have to say about it, AND I have decided that what God says is much more important than what people say. So, for you to say "no, what Mel is saying…" doesn't make any sense…we are saying the same things, just in different words. It's fine to call people out on what they say, other people have done it here, but you are attacking people, and that is a very different thing. Keep this conversation respectable and intelligent, and don't criticize people for their opinion in a rude way.

  • Mel

    I think your responses have been pretty good. Mine haven't always been the best either. Earlier I worded something the wrong way, and somebody got offended by it because it did come across as judgmental. I tried to reword it so that the person could understand what I was trying to say, but I'm definitely not perfect. In the end, I think it's going to be an agree to disagree type of thing. As I said earlier, I really wish I could change people's minds, but it just doesn't seem like that's going to happen. The best we can do is pray for them. Like I said before, it was really nice having you comment on this so that I could have an ally in this whole thing : )

  • Matthew Tweedell


    “You are just trying to start something.”

    Actually, it was an attempt to finish something, answering that which Jeanine had posed to me.

    And now again I try to wrap things up neatly…

    "Then you come in and say something all sarcastic like 'I leave it for tildeb or somebody to get on you about where quoting scriptures *isn’t* "a way to prove something".'"

    How is that sarcastic. Parenthetical, yes, but sarcastic? No, the intent was quite literal, but not that we should make too much of it; the reason it’s necessary is so as I don’t give any appearance of shutting a blind eye to such major errors, which I knew that tildeb, Mike Burns, and others would not be pleased for me to do.

    "So, for you to say 'no, what Mel is saying…' doesn’t make any sense…we are saying the same things, just in different words."

    Words have meaning, Mel. You are using the English language, right? If you meant to say the same, you would have to use some wording from which such an interpretation follows logically, some phrasing that is synonymous.

    "…but you are attacking people, and that is a very different thing."

    Whom and how am I attacking here?

    "…don’t criticize people for their opinion in a rude way."

    What rude wording having I used? Please, forgive any offending phrases and try to see things objectively; for it would seem your understanding is clouded by a veil of emotional content.

    I think Jeanine's questioning of my motives and my thinking was reasonable, but if you think what I've said was rude, you should recognize hers as equally so.

    To me, however, it seems rather that you are rude: You speak to me in imperatives now, as if scolding.

    Did I take such a tone with you? What more right have you to do so?

    It seems you probably react that way because you think, and insinuate, that I am not adult in my behavior: "…it is a bunch of adults discussing something like adults."

    Yet am I so hypocritical as to order you to "[k]eep this conversation respectable" condescendingly?

    I find it's truly an open question (on which I would not feign to pass judgment), who has a more adult mind-frame here. It seems to me childish to be governed subconsciously by emotion, rather than through conscious reason.

  • Mel

    haha that’s totally fine! Like I said it was just funny reading something that was directed at me as a he. I didn’t realize that you weren’t a Christian. To me, that makes this an entirely different conversation. I was directing my comments at somebody that I thought was a Christian, in which case the Bible should have been more than enough evidence. Which is why I may have got a little upset part-way through the conversation because a Christian saying that the Bible is fictional is very offensive and confusing to me. If I would have known that you weren’t a Christian, I would not have used Bible verses as proof for what I believe. The fact that you respected the Bible verses that I chose to share as something even worth discussing is something that I am grateful for. I know somebody who hates Christianity, and whenever I even mention the Bible he gets nasty, so thanks for listening to my point of view without saying anything about the Bible being a hunk of junk or something like that. I’m actually very happy to hear that even though you are agnostic, you will read the Bible from time to time because to you, it is still spiritually meaningful. Who knows? Maybe one day when you read something like John 3:16, Psalm 37, or Matthew 17: 20+21 suddenly it will ring true in you heart.

  • Mindy

    Mel, I have to point out one thing. The phrase "I guess all we can do is pray for them" is one of THE most offensive comments a Christian can make about non-Christians – at least in the presence of said non-Christians.

    I fully understand that your words are well-intentioned – you are so happy to be a Christian that you want everyone to share that happiness so you will pray for all heathens to find our way to your path.

    But please understand that I, and many who share my beliefs, or lack thereof, find it a very condescending thing to say – hence the expression "holier-than-thou."

    Don't waste your prayer energy on me. I'm happy where I am. I don't want to embrace Christianity. I was raised in it, I know what it is all about, and I've made a conscious, adult decision to choose another path.

    I understand that in your Christian gatherings you will pray for those of us who you believe are not saved. That is part of your religion and I respect it. However, when we are "in the room," so to speak, don't say it in front of us as if we are either not here, or poor, pitiful creatures in need of something you have that we don't. I CHOSE not to be a Christian. And I respect those who choose TO be Christians when they live as Jesus taught – which many do.

    But I do not need your prayers. My spiritual journey is my own, my private communing with God, whom I believe to found in the connections between humans. I value my beliefs, I treasure them, and for you feel that "all you can do is pray for me" insinuates that my beliefs aren't good enough, that I am less than, and that you are sitting a step higher, feeling sorry for me.

  • Mel

    All I'm saying is that if you have an opinion about something state it, don't leave it up to somebody else to say for you.

    As for me saying that the Bible is a way to prove something, that is my way of saying that God's word is more important than man's. You're the one that is acting all "holier-than-thou"…"Words have meaning, Mel. You are using the English language, right?" and you're trying to say you're not condescending? What I said makes perfect sense, my saying the Bible is a way to prove something is not contradicting to what Jeanine said.

    You were attacking Jeanine by spouting out everything that she said and then right below it whatever you think instead of just addressing her comment as a whole. You were attacking me when you made the comment "‘no, what Mel is saying…" acting like you KNEW what was going through my head just because the words I used somehow don't make sense in yours. AND you were attacking me, as previously stated when you said "Words have meaning, Mel. You are using the English language, right?" So yes, I stand strong on the fact that you are attacking people. And the way you attacked people is the same way you have been rude. My so called "veil of emotion" does not have to be used to see that "You are using the English language, right?" is rude. And I do not have to put you and Jeanine on the same level, because at no point did she say anything rude…she was calling you out on something, and that's all.

    And yes, you did take "such a tone" with me. In the ways that I have already mentioned above. I don't see how I am being rude by sticking up for myself, and telling you that what I'm saying is the same thing Jeanine is saying. And it is in no way hypocritical for me to tell you to keep this conversation respectable. Whether or not you are an adult, I would have said the same thing. When you attack me, or somebody else such as Jeanine, I have a right to tell you to grow up, and not be so judgmental. I am not governed by emotion either. Sure, I am emotional about this topic, but that doesn't at all mean that I can't use reason. I am simply asking you to state your own opinion without hiding behind other people's words.

  • Mel

    This conversation is getting to the point where all it is, is trying to start a fight. I do not see how what I said is offensive, especially since in was addressed to Jeanine. It's not like I'm saying "I'll pray for you, you poor thing" I was speaking to another Christian about something that she would understand. The fact that you could read it, I do not see as inconsiderate. And I don't think that I'm "holier-than-thou" at all. It has nothing to do with holiness. My being a Christian doesn't make me any better than you. But it DOES mean that I have something you don't. I really wish you could have it, and you can. I was addressing the comment to Jeanine because she has it too, and she can share in my concern that everybody else get it. I am sorry that you took offense to it. I don't see how it is offensive, but I'm sorry that you think I think I'm better than you, because I don't. In the future I won't say something like that in front of non-believers. In real life I don't either, but seeing as how we are on the internet, the most private that I could make that comment was by addressing it to Jeanine.

  • Jeanine

    The thing I think people like Mel and I have trouble expressing to non-believers, is that we are not on 'our' path.

    We did not find our way here by some great acts of kindness that we performed or super intellectual conquest we have made. The reason we are on this this path is because Jesus put us here himself. I cannot explain why he did or how it happened – it just happened. And beleive me, I was in no spiritual shape to warrant it. It was an absolute and complete act of Grace on His part.

  • Mel

    Thank-you Jeanine. You explained it perfectly!

    Mindy, I obviously misinterpreted what you were trying to say. I see now that you were not trying to start a fight. I think it's just because I read Matthew's comment right before yours, and since he really was attacking me, it made yours seem that much more of an attack rather than an explanation. I will try to be mindful of the fact that everybody can read these posts the next time I want to say something that might seem to non-believers something that makes me sounds like I think I'm better than them. I really am sorry that you have been insulted, but I really didn't know how else to say what I said. What Jeanine said is a much better way of putting it, and I 100% agree with her.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Mindy, I suppose all we can do for such people is to pray that they see the frequent & stubborn errors of their ways, the hypocrisy, and that they forsake the hell-bound demons they take for Holy Spirit, who will then guide them into all Truth (and also for those whom they influence not to be misled by their ignorant heresies or hurt by their unwholesome talk).

  • Jeanine

    We are not trying to sell you some dead religion, or some stuffy doctrine, or some social moral system – we are trying to tell you about this real, alive person Jesus who saved us.

    That is it – our only motive. Praying is just the way it works, and we didn’t decide that either.

  • Mindy

    Mel, I am in no way trying to start a fight. Please don’t get defensive when someone else tries to explain a position different than your own. I’m glad for you that you are happy in your religion. Honestly, I am.

    You can say that you have something that I don’t, and you can believe that – but I feel very, very differently. I believe I have found something beautiful, and I believe with my heart of hearts that I have found a truth that is right for me – and could very well be right for others, if they chose to share it. I will try to live my life in such a way that others admire my beliefs and therefore ask about them – at which time I would share.

    But I would NEVER purport to tell someone that what I have is better than what they have. I might believe it, but I will not insult others that way.

    I acknowledged that what you said was well-intentioned. I then tried to explain how that is one of those sticking points about why non-Christians get cranky with Christians. I tried to explain it clearly, not to say that you are wrong so much as to show you how it puts non-Christians off.

    You chose to read my efforts at expanding understanding as picking a fight. I’m sorry that is how you felt. It was certainly not my intention, and when I write on a public message board, I try to be mindful of the fact that anyone can read it.

    I am 50 years old. I have conquered drug abuse, am a cancer survivor, a fiercely proud adoptive mother, hold a graduate degree and am world traveler. I have not come to my spiritual home lightly, and for someone who doesn’t know me to pretend they know what is best for me is, as I said, insulting. I tried to take the high road and explain rather than belittle. I am sorry if I failed.

  • Jamie

    I was lead to your web site by a facebook comment " I would love to know what people think about usinig "foul" language, especially those who profess Christianity. Do you use it, and if so why is it ok…and vice versa. Just curious." Wow! The comments were interesting and vast and since this was posted by a Christian, who, of course has more "Christian" friends than otherwise, I found the responses to be mostly insulting to those of us who are more concerned about the emotion behind the word than the word itself. I too believe that God is more concerned with bigger issues than my use of language but, as expected my response was subtly insulted. I like a good insult but subtle insults make my blood boil! I, of course, placed a link to this blog on her page. And as expected, no response, as of yet. BTW I am much more comfortable around imperfect people. It give me a chance to practice a offering some "grace". I find that those who are ready to hear the message of Jesus are much the same.

  • Mel

    Wow, you are very ignorant. Mindy, as she said, would never stoop to your level of insulting somebody like that, so I really have no idea why you directed that comment at her.

  • Matthew Tweedell


    Wow, you are even dumber than I thought.

  • Mel

    Ya you're not rude at all (eye roll). I don't see how saying that your comment was insulting makes me dumb, but whatever. Seriously, you just need to grow up.

  • Mindy

    Mel, Matthew's response about praying was sarcastic. He was, essentially, making fun of those who would pray for heathens like me even though I say clearly that I'd rather they didn't, at least for me to be "saved." I do believe in the power of prayer, altho' I see it as the power of positive energy focused on a one thing.

    As for the whole "dumb" comment, Matthew, really not necessary. Name-calling never is. See, to me, that is far worse than swearing. I'd much rather you let loose a string of expletives about the sorry state of the economy or global warming or because you slammed your finger in the blasted door than call a person dumb for not seeing your sarcasm font. I got it, FWIW, so wasn't insulted. But I am insulted by name-calling.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    It was in the same way as I took what she said about praying and parodied it. She said I was very ignorant. As with expletives, substituting one word for another doesn't really change the objective and subjective states behind them. I didn't say she was VERY dumb, which is exactly what she said that I am! I merely noted, however, that her intellect was not as penetrating as I had anticipated.

  • Mindy

    I know, Matthew – not defending her name-calling, either. I admit to being a bit surprised she missed the sarcasm, based on your earlier comments, but just seemed as if the entire thread was deteriorating into a sort of 'nah-nah-na-nah-nah" sticking out the cyber-tongues sort of thing. She participated fully with the 'ignorant' comment – so I guess you are both eligible for wet-noodle lashing . . . . or a time-out. Go to your rooms until you can say something nice to each other. ;->

    Sorry. Forgot to take off my mom hat.

  • Mel

    I know that his comment was sarcastic. I didn't take it literally at all. But sarcasm can still be rude, as his was. You're right that he was making fun of someone who would pray for a person to be saved, even if said person didn't want them to. I am that kind of someone, and he knows that, so he was definitely making fun of me.

    Matthew, you said that I am hypocritical. Can you give me an example of a time that I was hypocritical? Because I can't think of any time in this post where what I have said has been such.

  • Mel

    As for your comment about me calling you very dumb, that is completely untrue. Ignorant is not a synonym of dumb. They are two different words, and have to entirely different meanings. Ignorant is defined as "lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact". You were lacking knowledge on the topic of prayer. Regardless of the fact that your comment was sarcastic, it still demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of prayer to somebody like me. Stupid refers to lack of ability while ignorant refers to lack of knowledge". Dumb IS a synonym of stupid, so I think we an all agree that calling someone dumb is "name-calling" whereas calling someone ignorant is simply stating a fact.

  • Mindy

    My problem here isn't about the name calling. You two are grown-ups, you can figure that out.

    My problem is about the praying. You say that you are the kind of person who will pray for a person to be saved, EVEN IF THAT PERSON DOES NOT WANT YOU TO. I find that horribly, terribly, offensive. You are telling me that my relationship with what I equate to God is not good enough (did you read John's post for today, 9/7?), and you are expressly going against the wishes of an individual, asking for me to undergo a fundamental transformation that I neither need or want, that I have no interest in undergoing.

    I am not lost. I do not need/want to be saved from anything. I said above that I treasure my own belief system. I have found my God and my beliefs through my own journey, beliefs in which I take great comfort, that make sense in every way to me, the understanding of which I will continue to explore and expand for the rest of my life. I am not afraid, I am not worried, I DO NOT WANT WHAT YOU HAVE. I am glad you are happy with your own beliefs, and I would never wish for you to suddenly abandon them – why would you do the same to me?

    Let's say your practice of prayer works. That one day, somehow, I "get saved." It will be against everything I believe, everything my life is built upon – and I have a good life, a life with which I am content. I have a life full of friendships I've worked hard to build and maintain. I have children I adore and am blessed beyond measure to be parenting. I have a family I love dearly. I have had the opportunity to see the world, to help some who need help, to find beauty in art – I don't want anything different, no matter how much "better" you think it is. I find it appalling that you would try to change my life against my very clear wishes – me, whom you do not know, just because YOU think what you have is better than what I have.

    I know you think what you are doing is a good thing, that it is your job to convince me yours is best. But I asked nicely that you NOT do it, and yet you say right there that you will anyway. You will pray for me because you pity me for not having what you do.

    Please, Mel, please – don't.

  • Mel

    I really don't understand why you are so offended by my praying for you. You may not agree with it, you may not want to change, but why does it bother you that I ask God to change that? If you don't agree with it, why can't you just ignore it, and say that what I talk to God about doesn't concern you?

    You asked why I would ask you to abandon your faith. I am not asking that you abandon it. Most of what you have described as your faith sounds like a beautiful thing. Something that everybody should have. I personally, and please don't take offense to the wording of what I'm about to say, don't see it as "faith" so much as just wanting to do the right thing. Wanting to love, and be a good person. Which of course is a good thing, but it's not having a relationship with God. I think this particular topic can only be understood by other Christians. If you don't believe what I believe, then of course you wouldn't understand why I am "pushy" about it. But, I KNOW that when we die, God is going to judge the earth. I know that I am going to spend an eternity in Heaven because of the grace of God. I want everybody to have that. Like I said, it's hard to explain to somebody who isn't a Christian so I understand that you don't get it. But please don't take offense to it. You yourself said that you know what I do is from a good place, so can't you just leave it at that?

    If one day you are saved, it doesn't mean that you suddenly start from scratch. You will still have all of the things you hold dear (family, friends, art, etc.). So it's not as if I am praying for you to lose everything you have in order to come to God.

    I don't think it's my job to convince you that my faith is "best". I know that I am not going to do that. But, my praying for your salvation should not offend you. If anything, I think it would just get you thinking. The fact that I don't know you, and yet I am concerned about you, and care about you should be complimenting, and nothing else. I did read the blog from today actually, and I don't agree with it (surprise, surprise, I know). But I think that if somebody has a relationship with God, and wants to talk about it, scream it from the mountaintop, then every power to them. I don't agree with shoving it down people's throats, which you might think I'm doing. I'm trying to show you what I believe, and maybe get you to at least think about it, but I don't expect that you will become a Christian just because of what I said. I'm not trying to shove Christianity down your throat. I know that it's hard for you to understand, but I will continue to pray for all those not saved. If I didn't do so, if it wasn't that important to me, then I couldn't call myself a Christian.

  • Mindy

    I tried to explain how a Christian praying for me to find a "better" path than my own actually makes me feel. I would think that as a practicing Christian, this would be of interest to you, since saving others' souls seems to be your mission.

    Instead of accepting the fact that I am a big girl and therefore know well my own feelings, and yes, just as I said, your stating you will pray for me *does* indeed offend me, you choose to tell me what I *should* feel instead. I *shouldn't* be offended, I should just dismiss it. Well, if it's that easily dismissible, why would you bother in the first place?

    Then you tell me that my faith isn't faith after all. That invisible, all-understanding connection in which which I believe with my whole heart is just . . . me trying to be a good person. Silly me, what was I thinking?!

    I was raised a Christian, Mel. I *do* understand. I was "saved" in high school, when my two best friends were Southern Baptists. Two sweeter friends you'd never meet, but I went along with it only for them. It was not for me, and eventually I figured that out. So don't dismiss my feelings by telling me that "only another Christian would understand."

    And you wonder why it gets offensive. I guess only another spiritual-not-religious person would understand.

  • Mel

    I don't think you should just dismiss it. I'm just asking why it bothers you so much that you are making an issue out of it. I don't think it's easily dismissible, that's the point. As I said the fact that I'm praying for you, concerned about you, and care for you is something that I think would get you to think about Christianity.

    And I'm sorry that you were offended by my comment about your faith not being faith. I tried to make it clear, that I wasn't sure how to word it, but that I wasn't trying to belittle your faith. It's just that before when you have said what you believed in, a lot of it did have to do with just being a good person. Anyways, as I said, I'm sorry for the way it was worded, and the fact that it offended you, but I really didn't know how else to say it, so I tried to say it as nicely as possible. And I'm not at all saying "silly you, what were you thinking?". Trying to be a good person is obviously a good thing, I just…I don't know, I really can't explain it any other way than I already did.

    I do think that only another Christian would understand. But at the same time, I'm not *dismissing* your feelings, I'm just trying to explain where I'm coming from, knowing full well that you won't get it. In Christianity, we (well me for sure) believe that once you are truly a Christian you will never…not be a Christian. You say that you were saved in high school, but that now you aren't a Christian. Where, to me, that means you were never really saved, because if you truly were, you wouldn't be able to completely turn your back on something like that. So, as I said, only another Christian would really understand what I'm trying to say. However I'm not saying that to be like "oh you poor little thing, you just don't understand", I just really think it's the kind of topic that if you don't believe as I do, you can't fully understand where I'm coming from.

    I really do wonder why it's offensive. And I think that you were being sarcastic, and kind of taking my words and spitting them back out at me when you said that you guess only another non-Christian would understand, but I agree with that when said literally. Since I know how awesome my relationship with God is, I can't comprehend why my praying for somebody would be offensive to them, whether or not they were a Christian. I really do think that it's only something a non-believer could fully understand. And, in the same sense, I think that you can accept that my opinions about prayer can only be understood by a Christian.

    I'm really not trying to offend anybody, or start a fight. I'm interested to hear what you have to say, and I'm wiling to take that, and then explain what I believe. It may (well, it clearly has) spark controversy, but I think that we can handle having a *conversation* about it without feeling like EVERYTHING that is said is an attack. Once again, I'm sorry that you have been offended, but that honestly wasn't my intent.

  • Mindy

    I know it wasn't your intent, Mel. I get that. I understand why you do what you do – whether you think I do or not. I understand that you think you are doing the right thing, that you ARE doing what your religion teaches, and that you don't mean to sound as though you pity me, etc. etc.

    I also realize I was not actually saved in high school, hence my use of quotation marks around the word. My point was that I am intimately familiar with the born-again way of life. I've lived it, albeit without fully believing it. I wanted to believe it, trust me, at the time, but could never get there.

    I also understand that we will never agree on this. You can't wrap your brain around how I can possibly see your prayers on my behalf as offensive, and I can't wrap my brain around the fact that you can't see why I do.

    On top of all of that, you don't seem willing to acknowledge that your version of "the path" is not the only one, and I truly cannot get on board with that one. When you had to try define MY faith "as nicely as possible," that simply means you don't think it's very nice. And I really don't mind. I didn't ask you to like it. Respecting it would be nice, but I know better.

    You believe that it is OK to pray for all people who are not saved to be saved, which shows no respect at all for the faiths or religions of others. Regardless of how wonderful your relationship is with YOUR God, you cannot accept that your version isn't the only "right" one. We can discuss this ad nauseam, and I will continue to believe that agnostics and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and Buddhists and atheists and people of any, all or no faith at all, if they live kind and compassionate lives, will be as welcomed at the gates of your heaven as anyone, if such a place exists.

    And you are going to remain true to your brand of your religion, which does not allow other ways of worshipping, other definitions of God or other spiritual paths to be good enough. If they were, you wouldn't feel compelled to pray for those of us who travel them.

  • Mel

    You're right that I think a relationship with God is the only way. But that's not to say that I don't respect your faith. When I said that I tried to explain your faith as "nicely as possible" that wasn't at all saying that I don't think it's nice….it was just saying that since I don't believe the way you do, it's hard to describe. I think it would be hard for anybody to describe somebody else's faith without believing it. You said that you would like me to respect your faith, but that you know better. To be honest, that was a hurtful comment. It was basically saying that I am so stubborn, and set in my ways that I can't even listen to other people's views of faith. That is untrue. I am confident in my faith, but at the same time, I do respect yours. As I said before, I believe that what you have described as your faith is something that everybody should have. I don't agree with you on how you look at it, but I most definitely respect it. I disagree that by praying for people who are not saved, I am disrespecting their religions. If I didn't believe that a relationship with God was the only way to Heaven, then I wouldn't be a Christian. So yes, I pray for others to be saved. BUT that doesn't mean that I don't *respect* the fact that they have searched for a religion, and found one that they whole heartedly believe in. As I said before, just as you can, I can disagree with a religion and still respect it. Christianity allows all sorts of worship. Everybody worships God in their own way, and Christianity doesn't say " you can't do that, you can only do it this way". But you are right when you say that we don't allow different definitions of God. Synonyms, definitely…different definitions, no. I'm just going to try one more time to clarify this particular thing. It has nothing to do with being good enough. If getting into Heaven had to do with being good enough, none of us would get there. It is only by the grace of God that we are accepted into such an amazing place. The only thing that He asks is that we accept His gift of His son Jesus.

  • Mindy

    I think we've reached the proverbial impasse, Mel.

    You write things directed to me, I explain how the comments make me feel, and you write back to justify your comments, tell me my feelings are wrong because either that wasn't what you meant or I just can't understand.

    I am not telling you that you are wrong. I am simply telling you what the impact of your words are on me. You don't think that impact should be negative, so you set about justifying and rationalizing something which cannot be rationalized. Faith is faith is faith, but you've repeated yet again that mine is not "enough." You believe that you couldn't be a Christian without praying for others to join you in Christianity whether they want to or not, and I disagree.

    You SAY that you respect other faiths, but your actions betray the truth. If, indeed, you did, you'd let them be, you'd live and let live – but you continue to pray for anyone who isn't like you to become like you. That is not respect, Mel, no matter how many times you say it is.

    You might treat people of other faiths respectfully, but when you do that while silently asking your God to show them your BETTER way, you are not being truly respectful, at the heart of the matter.

    If you were, you would find joy in the fact that God created so many amazing paths to his gate, and revel in the beauty of that diversity of thought and faith.

    The tenet of Christianity to which you cling – that only Jesus can get you into Heaven – is the very one that ultimately sent me from the church. My best friend is Jewish, and is the best person I know. She has sacrificed more in her life for others, given more of herself to others and is kinder and funnier and more wonderful than anyone I've ever met. She has made the most of her God-given life, made it meaningful to many, and no one will ever convince me that this incredible woman will not reap the highest possible rewards after this lifetime.

    I know Christians who believe that living as Jesus taught – compassionately – is what is meant by accepting Christ. Those Christians I get. They are open-minded enough to understand that humanity was ALL created equally, and accepting the lessons of Jesus is what is important.

    Your version of Christianity is something with which I fundamentally disagree, and I won't apologize for that. If anything that I've said felt hurtful, I will say that my intent was not to hurt but to inspire you to think. It either worked or it didn't, but I am not sorry for my words.

  • Mel

    I do believe that all are created equally….in sin. I don't think that I'm better than you because I have a relationship with God. I don't think I'm close-minded. I know what I think is right, but I have also listened to your point of view. I have just chosen not to believe it. Me not accepting your faith, is the same as you not accepting mine, so if you call me close-minded, then you must acknowledge yourself the same way. I agree that we are at a stand-still, and that this conversation can't really go anywhere from here, other than hurting people's feelings. So, thank-you for discussing this topic with me in such detail, it was nice to hear your opinions, and to be challenged to explain my own. I would just like to go out making it very clear that I can respect others' beliefs without accepting them. I can pray for them to find the truth, without disrespecting what they believe. The definition of respect is "polite or kind regard; consideration". I have tried to be as polite, and kind as possible when speaking of others' beliefs, and I think I have been considerate it what I say. I hope this proves that I am respectful of what you, and other people believe, but if not, I guess we'll just have to leave it at that. You can believe me or not, but in the end, I know how I feel, and you know how you feel. I think it's kind of funny to look back and realize that this topic of prayer came from initially talking about swearing Christians, but anyways, as I said, I guess we're done. 🙂

  • Mindy

    FWIW, Mel, I never said I didn't accept your faith. I disagree with one key tenet of your faith, one that many other Christians have somehow managed to understand in a different way, in a way that doesn't doom all non-Christians to an eternity without God. That, you're right, I don't accept. If that makes me close-minded, then yes, I accept the moniker. I am close-minded against close-mindedness.

    You say: "I can pray for them to find the truth without disrespecting their beliefs." ????? How is that not disrespecting, Mel? If you must pray for them to find the truth, you must, by logical elimination, believe that their beliefs are a lie. No matter how you slice it, that is not respect.

  • Mel

    I really want this to be the last thing I say because this is getting ridiculous. When I say accept, I mean believe it to be true. So you don't "accept" my faith in the sense that you are not a Christian. I'm not saying you are close-minded, I am simply saying that you and I are the same in that respect, so I don't think I'm close-minded either. You believe what you believe, and nothing else…that's not being close-minded to me, that's just knowing what you believe. The same goes for me. I have listened to your point of view, I think that in itself proves that I am not close-minded.

    I do believe that their beliefs are not the truth. You're right, by logical elimination you can figure that out. Just like you don't believe that the Bible is true, I don't believe that other religions are the truth. However, you still respect the Bible and I still respect (respect, not agree with) other religions. How can you say that you can disagree with what I believe, and still respect it, but I can't do the same?

  • Mel

    Just a quick side note…I was just reading John's blog called "is it our fault that we Christians think we're superior?" and I came across a comment that you might find useful/interesting. If you would like to read it, it is on that blog, and it was made by ManimalX. Let me know what you think : )

  • Mindy

    Here's the crucial difference, Mel. To me, respect means that you allow for the fact that whatever belief you purport to respect is as valid as your own beliefs. Different, but valid. If you don't think it is valid, you don't respect it. Being nice about it and not insulting someone is not the same – to me – as respect. That is being civil, using good manners, etc. Respect goes much further.

    I allow for the fact that all religions are valid. That each one is as likely to be the truth as another, or that all are. That each one is an equally valid path to God, depending on how someone LIVES. I don't respect the tenet of "only one path" – not in Christianity or any other religion that might preach it. I vehemently disagree that a loving God would divine competition for his eternal approval – so no, I do not respect that one piece of it. The rest, I do.

    Even if I don't believe it, I allow that I could wrong. That maybe Jesus really is the Son of God. the thing is, even if someone proved to me that was true, I would not live my life any differently than I do, because I think he'd approve of how I live. That is the difference. You are firm in your stance that you could not possibly be wrong.

  • Mel

    Okay, you're talking about what respect means TO YOU. I am talking about the actual definition. As I said before, the definition of respect is “polite or kind regard; consideration”. I AM respectful of other religions, and that's just something we're going to have to agree to disagree on. Did you read ManimalX's comment? It really might help. If not, I really think we're done here.

  • Yonderman

    In our Friday morning men’s Bible study group, we’ve just finished Matthew last week. When we were at the part where the Roman soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with gall, one of our guys pondered aloud “why do you suppose they did that? Do you reckon it was just to fuck with him?”

    Everyone, including our pastor just died. We laughed until we cried. I don’t think poor Tim ever realized he’d said it aloud.

  • Jill Seminaris

    COMPLETELY AGREE!!!! I feel exactly the same way!!! I don’t swear much at all, but, if I
    m around people who aren’t going to be offended, I say what I feel like saying. I feel that God is okay with it. It’s a person’s heart He is concerned with. I mean, if I’m angry, and I want to call someone an asshole, I’ll say exactly that because my heart would still be steaming in anger even if I chose to say, “That guy’s an a-hole!” I just think it’s better to be real. God is big enough to handle it. 😉 Well said, John!!!

  • You’re fucking hysterical!

    See how I did that there? I could have said, “OMG, John, you’re like, so FUNNY!” but that’s implies this Kim Kardashian voice, a hair flip and a Fran Dresser snorting laugh that I neither execute nor want to hear anyone else executing. Plus, I can’t flip my hair. I’m from California so I tried really hard to master it, but nine times out of ten I end up throwing out my neck. Plus I have brown hair and it’s just not the same.

    I could have said, “John, you are really funny.” That’s just stupid and boring.

    But no, I really HAD to use the f-bomb because it communicates the fact that while I was reading this, I had a big stupid grin on my face because it’s that funny, and that at the same time, my mouth hung half-open in utter shock at the sheer genius of your wry, witty, totally-sarcastic and yet somehow still very insightful artistry.

    The f-word was simply the only appropriate, authentic choice.

    I also enjoy cursing to create shock value. It comes from my days of being the perfect Christian girl/daughter/sister/Sunday School attendee/Awana Sparkie (I had ALL the jewels in my crown, boys and girls)/Christian school student, etc. who until my senior year in high school had literally never once said a bad word. Like I didn’t even say heck or piss. Ya. Hardcore. So when I went through my very first phase of asking heretical questions like, “How do we know the Bible is inerrant?” I disovered, quite by accident, that freaking people out that thought they knew me, was absolutely…well…FUN.

    As an adult, I tried really hard not to do this in adult Sunday School class when we worshiped with the Presbys down the street, especially since all but 4 of the other members were over 70. If we fellowshipped with the Lutherans (literally on the other side of the parking lot…I”m not exaggerating), I might have gotten away with it. Ultimately, the effort it took to stand up and GET the blood of Christ during communion, remember to have my infants baptized before or after they poop adequately on a Sunday morning and not saying what I was actually thinking, took a toll. And as you know, once you get a taste for that rush that comes from that look of confused horror coming over someone’s face as they try to decide the appropriate reaction to a perfect combination of crudeness and deep spiritual truth, you just can’t go back to life without it. It’s like crack.

    But seriously, I am really good at knowing when to say what and in front of what company. It’s an art form, don’t you think?

    So keep on writing this fucking awesome shit, John.

  • Anonymous

    Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum! I’m telling! (No, but great comment. And thanks for the love. “It’s like crack.” Too funny.)

  • Andy

    I’m with you, John.

    And there’s cursing in the bible—of a sort. http://reallivepreacher.com/node/909

  • Shane

    Shit-God Dammit-Mother Fucker!!!!!!!!! Say that 3 times fast!! I am the “King of Sting” when it comes to throwing down a line of “wordy dirds”…….. Bring it!!!!! 🙂

  • Ha!! Awesome!!

    This is something that I was burdened with in my earlier Christian days…


    Dogging good post you Wanker!!

  • Bec

    sweet baby jesus baby momma drama… I freakin love you, man! (but we’ve covered this before)

  • Tim

    John, I swear. Sometimes….

  • Doc Rock

    when Jesus comes back (of course if He isn’t back already) judging from what John the Revelator wrote on Patmos Island, I’d have no trouble accepting the fact He would be likely totally comfortable on a screaming Harley…..and that the word Motherfucker would have a prominently Righteous place in His thoughts….but that’s just me.

  • Dianna Penn

    I am a “left-wing Christian” in almost every area but I still think there is too much cursing in this world. There are places in the Bible that would lead one to believe we should be careful about what we say. Do I curse? Yeah, I sometimes do. This is my own conviction though; My mom wouldn’t even let us say “Gosh” lol. Though I only feel a slight tinge of conviction if I curse I would never say a demeaning word along with the name of Jesus Christ. When I was a kid if people used the name of Christ in vain it really hurt me and I still don’t like to hear it but I try not to be judgemental. I also think we should refrain from using foul language in front of our children, which I believe the original author basically would agree on.

    Nobody is perfect and I think it all boils down to what is in our heart.

  • Leigh

    Regarding Awana: “(I had ALL the jewels in my crown, boys and girls)”

    I nearly pissed my pajamas laughing at this. John talks about efficiently articulating? You just parenthetically summed up 1) my entire childhood, 2) the ridiculous, high-pressure, performance based indoctrination of programs like Awana/etc, and 3) the Jesus-loves-me-best smugness of the whole damn system.

    You are AWESOME. <3

  • Susan

    These things come to mind reading your post and the comments that follow: “That John Shore guy can really come up with some pretty heavy shit!”. I can hurl some “colorful” words on occasion; however, I do try to be respectful of those around me as well. It’s one thing to cuss like a sailor around those who know you, quite another around those who don’t or are too young to discern the relevance of whatever term you throw out there. Now, taking the Lord’s name in vain: I suspect this isn’t what we think it is. In my humble opinion, all those “Christian right-wingers” tacking my Lord’s name onto justifying their hate and political parties is taking His name in vain. Using Jesus’ name to justify greed, hate, marginalization, and other cruelties seems to me the greater sin!

  • Diana Avery

    Yes indeed!

  • DR

    This lifted the nausea I was feeling while reading the Mel and Jeanine show.

  • DR

    This is so deeply creepy.

  • Kate C

    Excellent shit, sir.


    The Christian Cursing Mama (But Not In Front Of The Kids)

  • John, John, John… Oh how I missed you, and this is the reason why! I, like you, curse like a sailor who hasn’t had a bath or rum in awhile. I can be really ornery, and for a woman this can go either way for some folks. Like you, I try to remember not to cuss around kids, but the fact that my daughter (17) occasionally lets one slip when she thinks I can’t hear her… So its my guess that I failed in keeping it clean. I don’t think God cares either… I think her cares more about the intention behind all my words.

  • Kara

    Oh my God, the Awana reference has officially made my day. I was also a champion Sparkie. I think I still may even have my cute little red vest somewhere back at my parents’ house…

  • Great! Good to hear from you, Ingrid.

  • love it. thnk you, Kate C.

  • amen to that.

  • Sandy

    Here is a tip….negate the f’bomb by adding to it instantly: crying out loud.

  • thomas garner

    Um, i really hate to do this… Sigh, i find myself in a similar situation. Construction Worker, former Navy man, as was my father – Cuss like a sailor, we thought that was what we were supposed to do… dad was strongly opposed to religion, i was a hard core atheist until 35 – When Big Papa ^ showed up – i had been looking for HIM for about a year and had not found Him, on the day He decided to make Himself known to me, i was *cussing a blue streak*, as they say, in my anger and frustration at Him…

    Turning purple trying not to use the best words that i ever had to describe a f***’d up situation, is all to familiar to me… and i still pray about it and work to find other words and it has gotten easier and my language is ‘better’ than it was, without turning purple and stuff most of the time… i know many don’t agree that this “cursing” is “ok” with Papa… it’s not ok with Papa.

    I’ll told you that i agree with you, but i also want to point out a little change in the way we’ve changed language that we seem to be missing or confused about — There are Huge differences between the word “Cursing” and “Cussing” – Cuss words are words that we think are Not good around certain people or at certain times — my Grand Mother does not need or want to hear me say “Sh*t” and i don’t use that language around her anymore, we’re both too old to even bring that up… However, Poopie by any other name is still poopie – Sh*t is poopie or something that we think ‘stinks’… Cursing, is wishing something bad on someone. Cursing is a form of witchcraft and is never used to do good when it comes out of human mouths. Don’t curse. If you say to or about your child, “that boy/girl is never going to amount to anything.” You have just cursed Your child. If we say, “that man can’t be trusted”, you have cursed that person. We are Not to Judge each other – statements like my example are judgments and curses.

    Merry Christmas and peace . . . tom g.

  • zoni

    I was a kid in the 70s, and growing up in a small southern Texas town, I just can’t remember ever hearing cussing back then. It wasn’t on TV either. I was in high school before a friend, who cussed on occasion, dared me to say a cuss word because he knew I was a believer and he’d never heard me say one before. So I did. I didn’t see the big deal in it – cuss words are just words, really. It’d take over another decade before cussing worked its way into my vocabulary, mostly because I took an interest in politics as I got older and it’s very hard for me to speak of America politics without using cuss words.

    That being said, I still often find the use of cuss words offensive because of the images they evoke. Asshole… in my mind, I see an asshole whenever I hear that word. *ick* Dick, cocksucker, or any other reference to a penis – I see a gross, hairy, flaccid penis in my head (thankfully, as an erect one really does nothing for me either, and generally speaking hearing cuss words makes me think of impotent men). Fucker or motherfucker? You get the idea. It’s just gross in my head. *ick, ick, ick* It’s little wonder I’m still a virgin at 41. I don’t think most people actually “see” what is being said to them running like mini-movies in their heads when they hear (or read) words, but I do. So I could do without the cussing, personally.

    Also, people who cuss tend to be more vehement, and generally unhappy, than people who don’t (in my experience). Studies show that expressing anger doesn’t make you less angry – it just makes you better at it (practice makes perfect). So if you’re expressing your anger all the time, you’re just working at keeping yourself angry all the time. When I hear comedians cuss, I usually don’t find it funny, but it also doesn’t bother me in the same way as hearing someone who is angry saying the same words. It’s the intent and intensity behind the words that bothers me (aside from the visuals). And how can you have any kind of reasonable conversation with someone who is ranting a slew of cuss words? It’s usually pointless to even try. Cussing tends to shut down conversation, rather than improve upon it.

    Am I going to faint if someone cusses in front of me? No. I might even cuss back. But I don’t find any redeeming qualities in cussing. I doubt God cares much if people cuss, but I do think he wants us to treat others as we would like to be treated. I don’t enjoy being cussed at, or cussed out, so why would I do it to others? These days I usually only cuss to make someone laugh (as hearing me speak that way generally amuses those who know me), or in commiseration with someone else (usually about our screwed up political system).

    So I doubt God is ever going to get into a tizzy if you cuss John, or if I do, but I would urge everyone to think about the kind of impact you’re making on the people you’re cussing around. Children aren’t the only ones who need to be protected. Adults can be hurt by words too. Just as a kind word can make a person’s day, a harsh word can bring a person down. Cussing has a place in this world, but I hope it is a small one. I’d rather hear praises of God’s work in our lives fall from the lips of Christians than strings of cuss words any day of the week.

    Philippians 4:4 Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: Be glad. 🙂

  • Jonathan

    I agree somewhat. If the Bible doesn’t list out specific words to avoid, then what we read about in verses like Ephesians 5:4 must be about the intention of the word. In other words, it’s not that any word is obscene it itself, but rather the way in which it’s used.

    If we’re using language to insult and tear down others, then just about any word can be transformed into something obscene as easily as dipping a teddy bear in a dirty toilet bowl.

    That said, words are like tools and some tools are more dangerous and powerful than others and require more caution when using them. Our culture endows traditional swear words with additional impact, which means that we need to make sure we’re being extra careful not to abuse those words.

    If we trust in what the Scripture says about each of us being a reflection of God, and that we should not be cursing God’s creations, then we need to get over the taboo of swearing and start focusing more on censoring the messages we’re sending. Too many Christians use the faux swearing you mentioned (my mother’s favorite expletive is “oh crumb”), but still cause harm with their “safer” vocabulary. They don’t realize they’re still tearing down the building, but they’re just using sledgehammers instead of bulldozers.

    “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. “

  • Andrea

    Dianna I think you are right that we are called to be careful of what we say. . .and I would never tell someone they need to cuss if that is not in the nature. But I when I read your comment I thought to myself we should be careful of what we say but that goes way beyond they words used. I can use words that are considered cuss words to congradulate someone on an outstanding accomplishment. And likewise if I so chose I could cut someone to their core and never cuss at them once. I think it’s more about your intention behind your words and the words themselves. However like many others have posted I respect those around me that aren’t as comfortable with cuss words as I and try to tone it done.

  • Allie

    Really? You visualize a penis when someone is called a dick and visualize an asshole when someone is called an asshole?

    I don’t. I have four people in my house at the moment, and a quick straw poll reveals none of us visualize anything body-related when using those words. It started a discussion and the general agreement is that we mostly have a very good picture of a PERSON who is a dick (what this person looks like is a quick way to reveal unconscious prejudices… mine is 50ish, drives a truck, and has a walrusy sort of mustache) but don’t connect these words with the body part, any more than I think of a penis when I talk about the cockpit of an airplane.

    To get a visualization requires creative cursing, such as a friend who called someone a “zit licker.” Eww. I could give further examples but will spare you.

    Since I can’t imagine that you’ve been around more people using the word “asshole” to refer to an anus than using it to refer to a certain kind of person, I have trouble imagining how you trained your brain to think the primary referent is the anus. Or do you live in a world where people say things like, “Pick up some Preparation H, would you? My asshole is on fire!”

    Incidentally, since you brought up studies, studies have also found that cursing increases pain tolerance.

  • Daryl Forman

    The Lord told us NOT to take his Name in vain. So I try never to do so. When I do, I fee immediately feel bad/sad that once againIi”ve turned my Lords Name into cursing..So I’m very sorry to hear you say it’s just fine to do so. It must hurt Him hear our cursing.

  • Diana A.

    “Cussing has a place in this world, but I hope it is a small one. ” I’m kind of with you on this, even though, like you, I’ve been known to let one fly.

  • Laura

    I can’t let you get away with our second excuse — that there is no better way to describe certain people than a-h or f-u. (I sometimes say them, but I am constitutionally unable to spell them out.) Both of those terms are VAGUE. You might want to believe they are specific, but that would just be you deluding yourself. There are plenty of words in English to describe whatever behavior you might observe. Please don’t be so lazy and self-deluded that you cop out and claim that there are no better words. You just don’t know them. I hope you get a dictionary for Christmas from someone who is willing to help you practice using a new descriptive word a day. May God bless you and yours. Laura

  • Laura

    P.S. I hit the “Submit” button too fast, demonstrated by the fact that I inadvertently omitted the “y” from “your” in my first sentence in my previous message. But I also failed to mention that according to Paul’s letter to the Galatians, self control is one of the fruits of the spirit. I know that when I am not manifesting fruit, I am not fully connected with the Holy Spirit. I can speak only for myself, but when I want to act out or speak unkindly, as you describe, I am not practicing self control, and I have lost hold of the other fruits as well. I hope you will look up the passage and consider taking it to heart. It is a good one.

  • Allie

    It’s not the words, it’s what you do with them. I imagine there are few situations where saying, “You fucking asshole,” is What Jesus Would Do. On the other hand, if your buddy had just been shot and you were holding his hand and said, “Don’t you dare die, you fucking asshole,” I have difficulty imagining Jesus would be offended.

    When I was a teenager, working as a cashier, a lady who I’m sure considered herself very Godly talked to my manager and tried very hard to get me fired because I slammed the cash drawer on my hand and said “shit” under my breath. Did Jesus approve of her conduct? You tell me.

  • Simon

    This is hilarious. My best friend is the pastor of a church. She also drops the f-bomb on occasion and can string curse words together like no one I have ever known. She too leads a double life. I passed this along to her and here is her reply: “I am laughing my fucking ass off!!!”

  • You arrogant prig. There. There’s two words I know.

  • Who said anything about taking anyone’s name in vain?

  • Sandy

    How does what you and your household see or not see relate to what Zoni sees? Great, your thoughts don’t go there… that doesn’t change the fact that his thoughts do. Although I also do not get vivid graphic visuals from cussing (most of the time at least, I imagine it has happened at some point) that in no way implies that all people are like me… or like you Allie. And since all people are different, and people can have thoughts or feelings that our own household does not, that Zoni’s point is an important one. Unless you know for a fact that a particular person would not be hurt by your cussing, then you are running the risk of hurting another person and/or causing them discomfort. If that doesn’t bother you, that is your choice. If it does, then maybe Zoni’s example is food for thought. Personally, I never considered that anyone was getting actual (possibly disturbing visuals. Now that it has been brought to my attention, I’m going to the ponder the topic a bit.

  • DR

    Dear Laura,

    It’s amazing that people feel they have such immunity on the internet that they write what you’ve written here. Of course in the name of Jesus, right? I’m sure you’re a delight.

    Now I’m going to say what everyone wants to say who read this, but won’t.

    You are an asshole. Fuck off.

    May God’s richest blessings be extended to you on this, the very holiest night of the year.



  • DR

    Wait – what? I can’t even go there with the visualizing penis thing (they really aren’t that bad by the way).

    Anger is an activating agent. There is a point where it’s unhealthy but Christians tend to demonize anger and distance ourselves from dealing with it when in fact, it’s a very healthy emotion and even more importantly, a productive one. Christians (and lots of others but for the sake of preserving the context we’ll keep it to christians) often try to control and sanitize conversation by calling on Scripture in conversations where people are angry – angry enough to cuss – and then remove themselves from the dialogue when it’s uncomfortable saying Scripture gives them an out. Sometimes people are out of control and that’s a good decision – but more often than not, they’re just angry.

    Consider learning how to deal with people on their terms, which includes swearing. Jesus has everything to do with the person behind the words and I believe it grieves him terribly when all we do is tone police the words themselves because they make us momentarily offended. We’re made of much stronger stuff than that.

  • DR

    I love how people like Laura can attack others for finding some good reasons to swear by *actually* using words like “cop out”, “don’t be so lazy and self-deluded” and end it with “God’s blessings to you!”. I’m sure it’s because she’s righteously motivated by the spirit – right Laura? You might want to get your priorities in order. Until you do, please stop speaking for Jesus on the internet. Ugh.

  • what an awesome reply.

  • yes.

  • DR

    Was it “self control” that caused you to call the host of this blog lazy and self-deluded? I wonder if you’ll ever come back and admit to that. Probably not. Perhaps before you do Laura, you’ll spend some time with that verse – reflect upon your original comments – and look in a mirror.

  • Melody

    What an ignorant, immature statement. Last I checked, cursing and taking the Lord’s name in vain are NOT the same thing. Did a Sunday School teacher tell you that?

  • seo

    Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your content seem to be running off the screen in Ie. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Many thanks

  • Kristen

    Thanks for the response to my email, John.

    I don’t think saying words like “fuck” and “shit” are a sin, but I do think that saying words like (only saying for the purpose of this posting so please forgive me) “nigger”,”fag”, and “retard” are a sin though. These words are very offensive to a group of people, and I believe that anything that hurts a person’s or group of people’s feelings is a sin.

  • jesse

    One of my favourite made-for-TV-movies aired on HBO back when computers were still the size of small elephants. It was called ‘Glory! Glory!’ and starred Richard Thomas and Ellen Greene.

    Brief summary to provide context: She is a drug addicted, hard partying, rock singer with no aspirations to chastity (or even monogamy). He is a young preacher who recently inherited leadership of his father’s mega-church but can’t seem to connect with his congregation. He sees her singing in a bar and asks her to sing at his church but to write “Christian” lyrics instead.

    Long about the 2nd omelet, he addresses her frequent cursing, telling her “Our Lord was a carpenter. When he banged his finger with a hammer, I expect his language was that of a carpenter.” Then he asks her why every other word she utters has to be ‘fuck.’ Her response was brilliant: “If I used it EVERY word, people might think I was crude.”

    Hmm, not really sure if i had a point in all that but it was nice to reminisce about one of my favourite shows ever.

  • Hannah Grace

    But there is a difference between ACTUAL ‘cursing’ and cursing in being synonymous with ‘cussing’. Cussing isn’t the opposite of blessing.

  • Hannah Grace

    p.s. great comment.

    “If we’re using language to insult and tear down others, then just about any word can be transformed into something obscene as easily as dipping a teddy bear in a dirty toilet bowl.”

    That was really great. Not trying to criticize 🙂

  • You seem like a literate kinda guy, John. But, if you haven’t seen it already, allow me to recommend to you the documentary “Fuck.” It won’t steer you wrong on the cultural singularity of that word.

  • Carol VanderNat


  • Dawn Edwards via Facebook

    “I’m a Christian and I’m not an asshole” (from your last blog) should be on a T shirt.

  • Carol VanderNat

    When my kids were little, the only two words that were punishable were “dummy” and “stupid” when referring to another person.

    My son’s friend called him stupid once, and I said, “Hey! We don’t EVER say “stupid” around here, you asshole!”

    The look was priceless…..

    The only rule I had was that whatever words were used to hurt, were not allowed…but sometimes we turned the air blue….and laughed until our faces were….blue….it was effing awesome!

  • Josh M

    Your post might have had some credibility if you actually suggested some actual substitute words… try it, it’s not as easy as you suggest.

  • Meredith

    I love words. I love to use them to express myself as fully and honestly as I can. Which is why it drives me up a fucking wall when people are such assholes about THE EVIL SWEARS. If I tell you something, and my verbiage is peppered with fucks, fucking and motherfucking assholes, you sure as hell get my point very fast. I am very angry, very passionate and very, very serious. And someone doesn’t like “those” words…. Well, use them. The more you use them, the less power they have. If thy become common, thy are no longer swears. Use your words thoughtfully, and get off your high horse. Don’t be an ass.

  • I’d rather people just be their authentic selves. And sometimes a curse word is the right word. That’s just true.

    My favorite band in the world, the Avett Brothers, has a song called “Me & God” that contains the line “sometimes I use curse words when I pray.” That is so much better than trying to present a sanitized, fake-y self. God sees through it anyway.

  • SquirrelyGirl

    I love your new early Christmas present John…it has the most Fan Tab U Lous words to describe some of your readers…’arrogant prig’…LOVE IT…now let me look in my new thesaurus …yep there’s a couple…’self righteous no sense of humor idget’…how’s that Laura? I barely cursed at all. Pretty good for a lazy person, don’t ya think???+

  • Joan Reeves Jackson via Facebook
  • Jen Henley

    Wow! Nice to meet the other person who has actually seen that movie 😉 Just for the record, I love it, too, and I remember and like the carpenter quote. Thanks for the trip!

  • I love this!!!

  • Erwin

    Great Post John! Former Fundamentalist Christian so grew up with that kind of shit all the time. If your going to swear than do it! Actual conversation I had ounce “You really showed stop dropping F-bombs.” Asshole Christian, “What the Fuck is a F-bomb?” Me

  • Nerdword

    I love this article, but I have a question. In the end, you said there’s nothing in the bible about cursing. In that case, what’s your interpretation of Colossians 3:8?

  • James

    I didn’t see any of your other posts, but I agree with this one. I believe it’s scripturally sound.

  • Carol B.

    BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! My kid once had a friend over…they were in Jr. High…mind you, the only words not allowed in that house were “dummy” and “Stupid”…My kid’s friend said something about someone else being stupid, and my kid’s eyes widened…he knew what was coming…Me: “We NEVER say “stupid” you asshole! My kids fell to the floor laughing and so did the guest, when he recovered….it’s one of my depression-fighting images, that kid’s face!

  • I wish I could remember where I read this, but I distinctly remember someone saying that taking the Lord’s name in vain had nothing to do with saying “God damn it,” or “Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick” (for instance), but rather with doing something in God’s name that had more to do with our motives than with his.

    This wasn’t what I’d read originally, but it gets at what I’m trying to say somewhat better than I’ve just managed: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2007/06/what-does-it-really-mean-to-take-the-lords-name-in-vein/

  • This reminds me of a note a friend wrote me during a fight in jr. high. It had lots of horrible accusations, then she signed it, “Love, Elise” lol. Classic.

  • mike moore

    If curse words are upsetting to God, then I’m in a lot of fucking trouble.

  • Jill

    No, you’re in trouble for many things other than your sass mouth, my dearest. xxxooo 😉

  • Curt Naeve

    My dad’s ultimate condemnation of a pious hypocrite was ‘wouldn’t say ‘shit’ if they had a mouthful’. Sometimes the the vulgarity of our lips must match the vulgarity of the situation.

    Thanks John.

  • mike moore

    the drugs? the sex? the rock’n’roll? the generally snarky demeanor? my tempting handsomeness?

    Or, is the empty Jack Daniels bottles? (yes, lord, I know I should recycled them.) Was it the accidental stumble upon “wildboys dotcom” when I was actually looking for “wildbirds dotcom”? chasing Mormon missionaries around with my car? the KJV Bible I threw at a fundie preacher-man? that I like man-parts over lady-parts? (nah, it’s not that … we know He’s cool there.)

    come ‘on, babe, I need some specifics here. xoxoxo


    Yes, Michael Moore, you are.


  • Jill

    I’m nearly weeping from laughter over here…

  • mike moore


    It’s not my fault. The man you’re looking for is named John Shore. Tall guy with glasses, wears the same blue plaid boxers every day. I’d be a straight Southern Baptist who only has sex missionary style, and only to procreate, if it weren’t for that John Shore.

  • Elizabeth

    Expletives are about ten layers down in why I’m a bitch damned to hell… if God did that.

  • Elizabeth

    You’re probably not listening. Hello, you commented in February. This is an interesting take on Biblical obscenity vis-à-vis Colossians, though. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/vulgar.html

  • anakin mcfly

    But it’s not like the ‘regular’ curse words don’t hurt people either. In fact, they’re often used for that very purpose.

  • mike moore

    Elizabeth, I recently read that one goes to Heaven for the weather and Hell for the company. See ya there!

  • DR

    Is Laura saying that the constitution prevents her from using profanity? Oh Laura.

  • I am a horror author and a Christian, I notoriously swear casually. When I first became a Christian in 1994, I actually told a Christian heavy metal rocker that if he believed in burning secular CDs he was fucking committing censorship. I almost said “Fuck you” to the former youth pastor at The Christian Fellowship in Mason City.

  • lol if I ever have kids I’m using that one

  • I know of a community of people that use that N word you mentioned to talk to each other.. white folks calling black folks that and black folks calling black folks that and it’s accepted. It’s not hate-filled it’s just.. well I don’t know.. weird.. but they’re all okay with it. That’s just their culture and how they talk to each other.

    I see your point though. It’s very often used with hate and in most cases it shouldn’t be used.

  • Michelle Bailey Keahey

    John, you are my new hero. If I weren’t already married, I would totally propose to you right now. I just feel so damned vindicated!!!

  • Rebecca Trotter

    I LOVE cursing. And I love Jesus. Not in that order. I left a comment on a blog a while back explaining why I think it’s OK to curse and the first person who commented told me I should read the bible and take a logic course before I was allowed to express an opinion on the matter. And he signed his name by listing all his degrees and titles behind his name. It was classic.

    As for swearing in front of kids, I know I shouldn’t, but I’m a SAHM with 5 kids. I should also have farts that smell like roses. Ain’t gonna happen. But a 7 year old and toddler swearing at each other is rather unseemly. So I taught my kids that just like there are drinks only grownups can drink, there are words only grownups can say. When they got to the teen years, I explained the cardinal rule of swearing etiquette: no swearing in front of someone who isn’t a peer or your own child. It seems to have worked.

  • Melody K.

    The very first thing I did when I left the EFV’s (efuckingvanjackals) was to reclaim the glories of cursing, particularly the explosive glory of saying “fuck”. I slowly began to feel like myself again.

  • Sillama

    Hah! My grandmother used to say the same phrase exactly! She grew up on a farm in Maine and knew first-hand about using cow manure to fertilize the fields.

  • Catherine J

    We are so alike, you and I. I’ve been cursing since I was about eight, and I’m not about to stop. I tried to tone it down when my daughter was born, but nope. She’s almost eight, and my husband and I have taught her the same rules as you (and will follow course when she’s a teenager). It took awhile though. I’ll never forget my in-laws dropping her off one Sunday afternoon when she was two and informing us, “Your daughter said the F-word. IN CHURCH.” I probably should have felt ashamed. I laughed instead.

  • JenellYB

    There are a few reasons using common slang words might not be a good idea in some situations and around some people, but none of them are the reasons most Christians cite.
    Use of common slang is NOT
    1. Cursing as prohibited in the bible. Cursing is calling for evil or harm upon someone. By that, yes, ‘G-d dm someone” would probably qualify. But so would I hope you suffer/die/have a bad thing happen to you. Perhaps oddly, it is not unusual for me to utter some slang words that some consider cursing, yet for some reason, I’ve always been so adverse to calling for something bad on someone, even jokingly, I just cannot even get myself to say something like that. I have always had a deep horror that if I said something like, I hope that (bad) happens to YOU someday so you can find out how it feels,” and then it DID happen, I’d feel responsible! ,
    2. Swearing is of swearing an oath, and the bible says, let your yeah be year and your nay be nay. Simply, what you say should ALWAYS be trustworthy, and truthful. If we must ‘swear’ that we will do something we say we will, or ‘swear; what we are saying is the truth, then what are we saying of what we say at other times, not prefaced with “I swear?” Btw, saying “I promise” is exactly the same as swearing, because it suggests, just as swearing, that it ‘adds’ some validity or reliability to what you are saying, that if you didn’t ‘promise’ you might not actually plan to do what you said you would or what you said may not have actually been the truth..
    3. “Taking the name of God in Vain.” Vain means empty. And TAKING means TAKING, claiming to oneself. To profess oneself as a “godly” person, a man or woman of God, when one is not sincerely ‘godly’ nor has one been actually called BY God for some purpose, is “Taking the name of God in vain.’ Yeah. Hypocrites and religious hustlers and shammers and scammers.
    Neither are ‘vulgar’ or ‘profane” language ‘cursing.’
    Vulgar merely means common, low class. That is why the early bible translation is known as the :Latin Vulgate, and there were some that were outraged at it even being written. Study of bible texts had been restricted to highly educated scholars in the church, who used Greek or ‘high Latin’ of the elite educated classes. ‘The vulgar tongue’ merely means the plain ordinary language of the common folk.
    Profane is similar to vulgar. Often cast in contrast of the sacred and the profane. The sacred being highly ‘sanctified’, the high fancy talk of formal prayer and religious ritual, or objects/spaces ‘dedicated’ to the holy. Profane is the common everyday plain stuff.
    Common slang in the bible is such as the insulting calling some people “dogs,” really no different than calling someone any other demeaning word, like “bitch.”
    And is there really any difference in what is being referred to whether you call it poop. manure, crap, or shit?

  • JenellYB

    The problem with using words generally not acceptable out in society around children is that they are likely to repeat them at school or other places (church!) where they could get in trouble and cause a ruckus.

  • JenellYB

    I has few I used pretty casually, like $h!t can Krap, most my life, but that “F” word, I never could stand to hear it tossed around casually. Can’t stand it when someone can’t seem to speak a sentence without at least one or two versions of the “F” word. BUT, every great now and then, when something has REALLY pushed me to the edge, that “F” bomb would come out, and believe me, any and everybody in my family knew when that happened, MOMMA HAS HAD ENOUGH! And started walking on eggshells, lol!

  • James G O’Quinn

    When French was the courtly language of Briton words were divided into acceptable and unacceptable. When we look at our swear words, most have a non French origin. For example derriere is an acceptable word while the Anglo Saxon variation is considered vulgar. Hence the sarcastic response: “Pardon my French.” Instead, we need to look at words that turn people into objects or invoke racism or sexism rather than promote such abuses.The problem with invoking a divine curse is that we are instructing the Almighty to do something. That is why the variants of “damn” become spiritually self destructive. Lets consider how much of our cussing is cultural and how much is spiritual. FYI: I play golf with some ultra evangelicals. I learned to take my own name in vain after a bad shot. I yell: “Oh! Jim O’Quinn!!!” get myself laughing and take another whack at the ball.

  • CoolHandLNC

    The term “fuck up” uses a perfectly good Germanic word in its original sense.

  • Camino1

    Now it seems like contemporary Christianity means trying really hard to prove that you’re not one of those “religious types,” and so one of the ways to prove you’re not a prude is to be rude.

    I always thought it hypocritical to use language that would get my kids sent to the principal’s office.

    At the end of the day it is a judgement call, but let’s not be guilty of trying too hard. Coolness is not a fruit of the Spirit.

  • readoclock

    I find it interesting that you believe that a school rule is the moral dictator for the language all people should use in everyday life. I think you have clearly missed the point that not everyone feels that swear words are rude, they are just words.

    I do however find the concept of swearing making someone cool hilarious!

  • HiddenInChrist

    “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness,’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.'” (1 Cor 3:18-20).

    I cussed as I wished to out of the mouth, and more so in my head before I accepted Christ. Sometimes it was for my own amusement, out of frustration, anger, or even for the entertainment of others in conversation, because
    any substitute of a foul word was “weak”, “not cool”, “unsatisfactory” or just “not
    funny enough.” I was convicted of this pretty quickly and am thankful that the
    Spirit has made me more sensitive to this bad habit.

    Simply put, filthy language does not honor, please, or amuse our awesome and perfect God, nor does the heart or mind from which it spews. The tongue “is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?” (James 3:8-11)

    Consider the condition of your heart when you feel the urge or are tempted to use foul language – at the root, there is likely pride, bitterness, jealousy, envy, anger, judgment – all of which God doesn’t want in the heart of His believers and followers. If you are in Christ, you are called to crucify your flesh (denying it of its evil and worldly works, passions, and desires) and step into the righteousness of our Savior: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5,6)

    When you give your life to Christ, you are a new creation; no longer who you used to be (2 Cor 5:17). God calls us to put off the old corrupt self, and to put on the new man created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4: 22-24).

    On foul language and evil speaking:

    “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph 4:29-32).

    “…Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks…for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” (Eph 5:4,8-10)

    “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” (Col 3:8)

    “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col 4:6)

    “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law…there is one Lawgiver who is able to save and destroy, Who are you to judge one another?” (James 4:11,12)

    Is taming the tongue and our fleshly emotions and desires difficult? Oh yes. It does mean we will have to bite our tongue sometimes, or have to endure feeling like your upper body is constipated… that is the temporary pain of exercising self-control, but that is also how we grow our “faith muscles”. There is an internal fight between our flesh and the Spirit: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and
    the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that
    you do not do the things that you wish…the works of the flesh are: adultery,
    fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies…but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness,
    faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Gal 5:17-22).

    Is it impossible? Certainly not with the strength of Christ, who resisted all temptation. Our walk with God requires us to have disciplined and obedient hearts, but we can’t do it without His help, and when we pray for that help to change, He is so ready and willing to forgive us, change our heart, strengthen us, and pick us up with His great grace where we fall short.

    Pray, pray, pray for Him to give you wisdom and understanding of His Word. Fight the good fight of faith and run the race with endurance. Jesus paid too high a price for you to settle for luke-warm Christianity – with one foot in the world and one in the Kingdom. “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” (1 Peter 1:13-15)

    When we know God’s love and are filled with it, we can then love, appreciate, and treat others as He intended us to. It’s a struggle and we will never be perfect, but we have the eternal favor of our Lord and God who will work to perfect our hearts and minds if we let him!

  • Jill

    I think God’s got much more pivotal issues to attend than whether someone drops an f-bomb. I know I sure as hell do. Today’s the International Day to End Violence Against Woman. Enough said.

  • HiddenInChrist

    God is attentive to faithfulness in small and great ways. Absolutely He cares about violence against His creation. But where do you think violence begins? In the hearts and minds of those who will to do evil. Renew the heart and mind, renew the person. Change begins with us individually, and when we do the watering, God does the increasing. He has given us free will, it’s up to us to do the right thing.

  • Camino1

    It’s not rude because it’s school rule, but the reverse. It’s hypocritical for parents to be rude but demand more of their kids.

    You can often tell who uses what kind of language before they use it because they’re often rude beforehand.

  • Jill

    I’m glad being a slave to form works out for you.

    I’ve met my share of violence at the hand of a God-fearing person, and she focused really hard on her swearing habit. She’d stop herself from cursing as she’d yank the collar of my shirt forward.

    Much more concerned with substance, thank you.

  • This is more fun than swearing in church come on admit it you want to say fuck every now and then or jam up the middle as I am know for this. My blog is fun for those who like the profanity. Come on admit it you haven’t let one slip every now and then? I became known for swearing at a pastor’s wife — I pulled out “Fuck you, you fucking fake saint.” Then she called me a lunatic — called me and Edgar Allan Poe fools. I took this graphic out and it a hell of a rebuttal too. I did an article too on this and she said who heck cares of me — I asked her who the fuck cares about her

  • :laughing: This one is great — I want you to do a guest blog on my wordpress blog, my e-mail address is nickolauspacione@aim,com and send it as a word attachment I had been in the principal’s office so that is think it;s hilarious when a Christian calls someone “A fucking ape” or the line “look ye fuckups and retards.” That is in a book called Coach’s Midnight Diner: Jesus Vs. Cthulhu Edition — you have to be a little rude to get their attention 😀

  • I swear in just general speaking, but I can write clean too and even clean there is well implied fuck thrown in there. I have in my book portraying students writing “Johnson farts blood.” I think it’s funnier when Christians do have a dark side and not afraid to express it. Tourniquet gave Christian metal a dark side lyrically when they expressed animal abuse then have a few where they flip people off without saying a swear word. A Dog’s Breakfast is their version of flipping someone off. They were flipping a lot of people off with that one.

  • I had let one slip in front of Leper when I was helping them set up a show — I dropped the dirtiest look for dropping “fuck.” When my sister was born I was making coarse jokes about blow up dolls. I might had been expelled from a Christian school if I went to one because I would had gave them the finger for telling me not to read H.P. Lovecraft or listen to Metallica. I got in trouble in school for dropping “fuck you” in Italian. This more fun that swearing in church.

  • Andy

    That last bit reminds me of a joke:

    Johnny and his little brother Jimmy wake up one morning. Before they go down to breakfast, Johnny says, “I think it’s time we started cussing.”

    Jimmy brightens. “Cool!”

    Johnny says, “I’ll say something with ‘shit’. You say something with ‘ass’.” Jimmy snickers.

    As they walk into the kitchen, their mom asks, “What would you like for breakfast?”

    Johnny swaggers a little and says, “Well, shit, I think I’ll have Cheerios.”

    Without a word, she smacks him good. Then, as if that hadn’t happened at all, she turns to Jimmy and says, “And what would YOU like for breakfast?”

    Jimmy says, “I don’t know, but you can bet your ass it won’t be Cheerios!”

  • Tie-dye One

    Swearing is not the problem. Swearing at someone could be. (Matthew 5:22)

    When I call someone an asshole or a fuck-up I have to stop and remind myself that I am to love this person,and I have not done that if call them names.

  • J R

    How much better is it to focus on *both* form and substance? Perhaps you’re offering a false choice because your mother or whomever was a hypocrite, but it doesn’t have to be an either-or situation.

  • J R

    Actually it is… Laura’s sentiment is exactly what was in my head as I was reading this… there are a MILLION ways to say “that guy’s an a-h” in a more descriptive manner than using the vague words “a-h” or “f-u”. Mean, difficult, pedantic, stubborn, inconsiderate, jerk, coarse, brute all come to mind for a-h, and they tell me a lot more than “a-h” does. Moron, dunce, idiot, nitwit, halfwit, clutz, fool, clown, dimwit all come to mind for “f-u” and they tell me more about what you’re upset about than the vague “f-u” reference.

    I try not to use vulgar speech because it feels lazy, unless of course I’m writing dialog for a character who WOULD use vulgar speech. It’s like grunting for your food rather than saying please and thank you. It has nothing to do with faith really. You can be a kind and well intentioned person and still use vulgar speech, though you might be a little intellectually lazy, that’s all.

  • Jill

    If it’s better for you, cool.

    I offer no either/or here.