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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Christianity and Culture: Dirty Words, Part One of Three

In October of 2003 a wave of stone throwing zealotry passed through culturally ascetic Christian circles when Irish rocker Bono dropped the F-bomb during the American Music Awards, and the FCC did little about it. They ruled that since his reference was not sexual, it wasn’t indecent or “vulgar”. (Read the past article here.) Of course, for all the Chicken Little's out there, this was the final signal flare alerting us of the demise of a Christian nation, the sky began to fall and the Rapture Index went up several points.

In more recent F-bomb news, it appears that at one of these so-called “emergent churches” (Scum o’ the Earth Church in Denver), some lady spouted off a poem laden with F-bombs, and “when she finished her emotional and stirring presentation there was absolute silence." Acccording to the lead Pastor who condoned the event, "It was the single most powerful moment I have ever had in a worship service. People were weeping, it was incredible." (Read about it in detail
here.) As expected, good Christian folk who have staked out their ground in Christendom as doctrinal watchdogs (I typically include myself in this category), began their anticipated barking. Some of the responses I have encountered on Slice of Laodicea, and here, are as follows: “The glory of the Lord can not be part of profanity.” And “Discernment is at a shockingly low point.” NOW, it seems, by the recitation of the F-word, these poor emergent fools are sufficiently condemned.

I agree that this is incredible, but is it as horrible as others make it out be?
If anything, I would call it damned silly nonsense to be grouped with the barking, rolling about on the floor, and expectation of wearing a suit that many churches promote. But seriously, with all the other egregious errors fouling up the “postmodern” pulpit (such as the promulgation of the “openness of God”) is liberal use of the F-word rock bottom? Societaly speaking, the FCC doesn’t seem to think so. And neither does a vast group of Americans, and neither do most other people, Christian or not, in the rest of the world- epecially Christians hidden away in places like India who couldn’t tell you the difference between the F-word and “mitre saw”.

And neither do I. I have a different take on this than the average person. Perhaps my brief studies in linguistics and etymology as a literature student jaded me, but I don't think this as a cultural shift unexpected, nor will it result in manifold corruption of the youth, or cause God to rain down sulfurous hail on Denver . Nor do I think this is where Reformed Evangelicals such as this horde of mongrels need focus our lasers. Whether speaking in the broader sense of culture, our in the specificity of variant houses of worship, the wide acceptance of present vulgarities is a symptom, not the disease. Words are not “evil” in and of themselves. To suggest so would be to assert some vapid form of Gnosticism.

How then should a discerning Christian react?

Go to Part Two

Category: Gnat-Strainers


  • Good post, G. Here are some related musings by Douglas Wilson:

    By Blogger David Gadbois, at 1:01 PM  

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