19 October 2007
The Art of Cussing and Suggestions on Proper Cussing Etiquette
Post-modern Christianity brings freedom, releasing us from the shackles of religiosity. Some of us drink. Some smoke. Most cuss at least once in a while.
I used to say things like, “Darn it, Fudge, Dang, Shoot” or “Golly Gee Beave!” Now I am free to leave censorship aside. I am not only free to watch rated “R” movies, I am also free to quote the lines in the car on the way home.
But for those of us newly acquainted or are being re-acquainted into the language formally reserved for heathen and Irish Catholics, let me lay a few ground rules that can help you not only live free without hypocrisy, but also not offend the children in the playhouse at McDonalds when you accidentally drop your McNuggets on the floor.
Suggestion#1. Don’t eat at McDonalds.
Suggestion#2. Be respectful. If you find yourself eating at McDonalds and you do drop your McNuggets on the floor, remember that there are probably others around who don’t want to hear that language even if you are emergent. So hold it under your breathe, or say it softly out of earshot. You don’t have to be a hypocrite and still be respectful.
Suggestion#3 Don’t sound like white trash. With all due respect for NASCAR lovers, you don’t want to lace every sentence with colorful metaphors and descriptions. When you talk about who won the Daytona 500, you don’t have to say, “**** man, that Jeff ***** Gordon is ******** a big ***** paycheck for doin’ all the ***** winnin’ – Hey Mary Bea did you ****** go to the ***** store to ****** buy me my BudLite?
Suggestion #4 Don’t drink Bud Lite.
Suggestion #5 Use when poignant. If you follow rule #3, this should just come naturally. I had a guy apologize to me for cussing so much since he knew I was a Christian. What he didn’t know, was that I was post-modern so I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I don’t fucking care!” Although he hasn’t yet, he said, “Man I gotta come to your church!”
And although Emerging and Seeker Sensitive are completely different, this can be a good strategy for Seekers wanting to build a mega-church. After all it works for Driscoll (who is not Emerging – incase any of you have been too busy watching NASCAR to notice).
Rule #6. Be edifying. Paul exhorts to use words that are for building up and edifying each other. There are times to let it loose when you stub your toe or when your favorite American Football teams star running back gets busted for smoking pot, but you can also use cussing to emphasize your love for others. For example, “You’re fucking radical!” is so much more dramatic and encouraging than saying, “Golly gee, you’re swell!”
Rule #7. Don’t give a shit. After you’ve followed all these suggestions, then just have fun with it. Be natural. Make up words that sound like cuss words but aren’t. Sometimes it’s more fun to quote Battlestar Gallactica and say “Frack!” You can even sing them. Check out my new favorite group, Cobalt Season. They love Jesus and follow him on the edge of life… and they say “shit”.
It just can’t get any better or more real than that.
So go. Be respectful. Be free. Build each other up – and use some colorful metaphors to create emphasis that will always be remembered.
And if by chance you don’t follow one of these suggestions – for example you yell something from a rated “R” movie as you watch your McNuggets scatter across the floor – and you look up and realize that children, mothers, seniors, and a Mormon are all staring at you, just say, “It’s okay, I’m f****** emergent.”