21 September, 2017

Words Are Funny Things

Let me first say that I'm sure I will be judged for the blog entry which I'm about to write. Go ahead... I'm ready for it and I'm used to it. The thing is, I get so stinking tired of Christian people who seem to get a spiritual rush out of the act of criticizing and judging other Christians (especially pastors!) because of the verbiage they use. Specifically, I'm referring to those who accuse others of using "curse words" and find pleasure in trying to heap shame and guilt on others for using words that they believe to be shameful. Let me first be very clear that I am not meaning to imply that Christians should use curse words and declare "liberty in the spirit" as many have done in this present time. But I must confess that for years now, I've sat back in amazement as I've watched people judge other people's use of words when they, in fact, have "replacement words" that they use in the exact same manner. I contend that those "replacement words" carry the same connotation as the words which they have replaced. One Christian comedian calls them "Christian curse words."  For example, rather than dropping the "f-bomb" a person will say "friggin" or some other similar word instead of that word we consider to be so vulgar.  Isn't that really trying to get as close to the word as you can while hiding behind a false sense of religious piety? Think on that one for awhile.

Now to the point. In the past week, I was soundly chastened by another minister because a picture I posted had the word "pissed" attached to it by Facebook. Now, mind you... Facebook did it, not me... but that is neither here nor there. It was that according to this man (and others who also jumped in on the attack) this word "piss" is a curse word. I asked him if he knew the meaning of the word, and he said he did, but it was still considered a curse word. And here is the question I would ask.... "Just who decides what is a curse word and what is acceptable?" About 20 years ago I was in Germany and I have to admit that I was stunned, yet had my eyes opened because people there commonly used words that I had always been taught were taboo... but in their culture, it was perfectly acceptable, even from the pulpit. Let's look at that word "pissed".  In England, the word means to be drunk. It also means to be very angry or agitated.  The word is used in the Bible to mean urinating. But someone somewhere decided to label this word "taboo" and now the word police are quick to judge someone else as a lesser Christian if they use the word in their vocabulary.  But somehow, it would be acceptable to say, "I'm mad as heck" when we all know that what they were imply is that they are "mad as Hell."  Funny how that works. 

Anyway... on to what prompted me to write this today.
Yesterday I was talking with someone and I said to them that there was a "buttload of people joining the new Planet Fitness in town. Their face looked as if I'd just told them that I was a serial rapist. I mean, absolute horror came across her face as she literally backed away from me and turned three shades of pale. Finally, she said, "I cannot believe that a "pastor" (spoken very snidely and with guile) would use such a word! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!"  I could not help it... I laughed out loud and said, "You have NO idea what "buttload" means, do you?"  She said, "I don't know how to explain it, but it is absolutely profane!"  I explained it to her... although she did not believe me... but that's OK, she can think what she wants. Now... let me explain it to those of you who also think this is some vulgar expression involving a bodily function of some sort. 

A "butt" is an actual unit of measurement. In fairness, it is an antiquated term and is not really used any longer, but this is where the term "buttload" comes from. In Imperialist times, when measuring wine (or whiskey), it was measured in "butts" and when you filled an entire barrel or cask, you had a "buttload" of wine, or sometimes it would be said you had "a full butt."  Somewhere, some do-gooding person decided that this word or phrase meant something vulgar and profane... but they were simply showing their ignorance... just as so many do-gooders do today when they go around passing judgment on others use of language. Before I close this out, let me illustrate this another way. 

When I first came to Galesburg to to try out as pastor, I met with the elders of the church the night before in one of their homes. We talked and Libby and I fielded questions of them. One of the questions I was asked was "what do you want to be called if you come here?"  My response to them was that I really did not care. I told them that you can call me pastor, Darrell, Pastor Garrett, Brother Garrett, pretty much whatever you want. One of them responded that he would always call be Pastor Garrett out of respect. My response was that was fine, and I appreciated that respect, but then said that in my experience, one person could call me "Darrell" with the utmost respect and another call me "Pastor" with vile contempt in their voice. I said, "It's not WHAT you call me, it is HOW you call me." I contend that the use of words is very much the same. I've heard people use words that many of us would consider vile or filthy, but the manner in which they used them meant nothing to them because this was their common speech and they did not mean anything vile or profane at all. On the other hand, I've had church members chew me up onside and down the other using words like "flipping" or "friggin" and "danged" and I knew that in their heart, they had just cussed me out with all the vileness they could muster.

Just something to think about today.

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