Friday, January 24, 2014

Potty-Mouthed Pastors

Paul Hill blogged about his recent experience at the Christianity21 conference.  It's a good post.  Go check it out... I'll be here when you get back.

As you can tell, Paul was taken aback by the pervasive use of profanity from many of the speakers.  He wonders if his negative reaction to the use of the F-word means he's becoming The Church Lady.*

At EC21 the speakers intentionally and frequently used [the f-bomb], commented on using it, and nearly celebrated using it.  I don't see how this communicates relevancy so much as it is pandering to the audience.  

It's hard for me to separate when someone is using salty language for emphasis and when they're just showing off.  I certainly am no stranger to profanity, and I'm not personally offended when someone f-bombs...but, I'll admit to being annoyed at times.  It's as if some of these folks are saying, "Look at me...I said a naughty word!"

Then again, I'm probably not the intended audience for the speakers at events like Christianity21.  (White, middle class, suburban, midwestern, life-long Lutheran, pastor's kid, etc.)  I really love what Emergence Christianity has done to draw the church out of it's fuddy-duddyness.  Furthermore, most of the emerging leaders are doing the kind of ministry I don't have the courage to event attempt.  If cursing and tattoos and piercings are part of the Relevance Package for these ministers, who am I to say they should stop?

Jake and I wrestled with the topic of profanity when assembling Cancer & Theology.  Several of the authors used words that would make my grandmother blush.  For a variety of reasons we kept their original language in the book.  We did this recognizing there are some people who will miss out on an excellent message because the writers employed a handful of curse words.

When it comes to the use of curse words, it's probably a living-in-the-tension situation, which, I'll admit, feels like a cop-out.  For me, it's about knowing your audience (whether it's a large assembly or a small group) and understanding when an f-bomb will convey passion and emphasis...and when it will distract and offend.

What do you think?  Is it okay for a pastor or church leader to use a "bad word" when writing or speaking in public?

* The Church Lady was a Saturday Night Live character, made famous by Dana Carvey, who frequently rails against the sinful nature of famous people and youth culture.


  1. I didn't realize it was so popular with Christian speakers these days. The thing is, if you are using it to shock then it's fake because for most people out in the working world it's not shocking. I think that's why Nadia Bolz-Weber gets away with. She's not trying to shock, that's just how she talks. Be who you are and know your audience is what I say

    1. I have a wild-haired idea: As followers of Jesus Christ, let's model our behavior and our word choices by this question:

      "Would Jesus do or say that?"

      If you think that Jesus would use the F-bomb...then by all means, f-bomb a-way!

    2. As a former ELCA Lutheran, it deeply saddens me that the largest Lutheran church in our country is morphing into the Episcopal Church, in which, practically the only act considered a sin...other than breaking the Golden referring to any behavior as a sin.

      God help us.

    3. I"m not sure I follow you, Gary. Care to elaborate?

    4. Using vulgar language like the F-word is a sin. It isn't cool It isn't hip. It isn't Christian. It is sin. Period.
      Shame on any Christian, pastor or layman, who feels the need to use that vulgar, sexually provocative term to share the Gospel of our Lord.

      Is there any human behavior that the ELCA or her sister the Episcopal Church would condemn as sin, other than child abuse and breaking the Golden Rule? This is what I would ask my brothers and sisters in the ELCA: what is next?

      -using every baseball manager's favorite term: _ _ _ _ sucker?
      -erotic (pornographic) "Christian" literature?
      -transsexual pastors? Pastor Bob one Sunday and Pastor Roberta the next?
      -partner swapping in the church?
      -sex orgies every Friday evening in the church parsonage?

      Are there any red lines in liberal Christianity other than the two sins I mentioned above?

    5. Gary - thanks for taking the time to elaborate. You are clearly very passionate about this topic. You also appear quite concerned about defining sinful behavior. Why is that? What do you hope to gain by pointing out the sins of others?

      I think you and I are agreed that f-bombing from the pulpit is inappropriate and unprofessional. I, for one, would not use profanity in proclamation, and I would be uncomfortable in a setting where that occurred. I'm curious to know why you need to identify the use of the f-word as a "sin".

      I don't pretend to speak on behalf of the ELCA or "liberal Christianity." I do, however, think there plenty of people in these groups who have a deep and well-definied understanding of human sin beyond "child abuse and breaking the Golden Rule." Keep asking around and I'm sure you'll find people to give you additional insight. The ELCA social statements may help, as they exist to teach the church about a variety of issues in society. There are 11 of them, and some are very long.

      In the meantime, I hope that as you continue to be focused on *law* that you can also hear the *gospel* -- our sins are forgiven...all of them...even the ones we don't repent of...even the ones we commit day after day.

    6. My dear Christian brother,

      There are two extremes that Christians of all denominations should avoid: the hateful, judgmental crowd such as Westboro Baptist of Topeka, KS, and the ultra liberal who preaches nothing but the Golden Rule, ignores the Law completely, and changes the Gospel from the Good News of eternal salvation for hell-bound sinners to a gentle nudge to be kind to your neighbor.

      Sin is sin. Law and Gospel must be preached from the pulpit. In this situation Nadia Bolz-Weber and her foul-mouthed compatriots are committing sin, disgracing the name of Christ, the Church of Christ, and Lutheranism. She should be rebuked and asked to repent by the head bishop of the ELCA and if the head bishop refuses, by the pastors and bishops of the Church...then preach to Pastor Bolz-Weber the Good News of the Gospel that her sins are forgiven.

      The fact that our sins are forgiven is not a license to sin...unless the ELCA now teaches antinomianism.

    7. Let me give you a quick and easy definition of sin:

      If you don't think that Christ would do or say what you are doing or saying, then it is a sin. Being a Christian is being "Christ-like". If you think that Jesus Christ walked around using the most profane word in the language of his day, then by all means, use the word "fuck" and "fucking" all you want. While you are at it, why not add "mother-fucker".

    8. I am not sure the f-bomb can ever portray passion and emphasis. And if so, I need a few examples.

  2. She is an embarrassment.

    She loves the culture and she uses her tattoos like a badge of honor. She is sin 'affirming' (homosexuality)…and the church ought never do that.

    1. Steve -- let's try to remember the 8th commandment when expressing disagreement. There's room here for respectful debate. Luther's explanation of the 8th commandment:
      "We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything."

    2. I would say, "Let's try to remember to call sin what it is...SIN."

  3. Erik,

    Come on, Erik.

    Do you want me to put into quotes all the vile things Luther said about his detractors?

    And I did not go so far. She's probably a very nice, and likable, albeit wrong and Scripture denying pastor.

    1. A few things...

      #1 - Martin Luther's failure to adhere to the 8th commandment at times doesn't mean we should disregard the commandment. Comments on this blog should reflect an honest attempt to speak well of our neighbor and put the best construction on everything.

      #2 - It's interesting that you bring up the "vile things Luther said about his detractors." People who defend the use of profanity often use Marin Luther as an illustration for why it's okay for pastors to say curse words.

      #3 - Who's the "she" in your comments? I'm assuming that you're referring to Nadia Bolz-Weber. Just making sure.

      #4 - I'd love to hear more about what you mean by the pastor who is "Scripture denying."

    2. She denies that homosexuality (the act) is sin.

      She (Nadia B.W.) affirms it.

      When preachers of God's Word go off the rails, we need to call them on it. It's the loving thing to do. Otherwise unsuspecting people may hear and believe something that will not be helpful in their Christian walk.

    3. Steve - I think there's a lot of things that Nadia does that are helpful to people in their Christian walk. I'd like to think there's room for faithful disagreement between the two of you on interpretation of Scripture. I'm certain you both love God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible...but you don't see eye-to-eye on everything. Not sharing your beliefs about homosexuality doesn't make her "an embarrassment."

    4. Erik,

      What God calls sin, is sin. We don't get to redefine sin just because contemporary society thinks that a certain behavior is now socially acceptable. Here is what God has to say about sin:

      "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God." (I CORINTHIANS 6:9-11).

    5. People who attack gay people saying "THEIR sin is worse than mine", are themselves sinning. Sin is sin. I am just as much a sinner and deserving of eternal damnation as anyone involved in what God's considers sexual sin.

      The point is not which sin is worse or better, but that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We must ALL repent or whatever sin we are committing.

      Refusing to repent, willfully ignoring God's command to stop sinning, and continuing to sin unrepentantly may cause you to wake up one day in the torments of hell. This applies equally to me as to anyone else.

      We should NEVER hate the sinner because we are just as much a sinner as he, but to keep our mouths shut and never point out sin in the church itself a sin.

    6. Erik,

      I disagree.

      Preachers who will not let the Word of God's law work on the sinner …and therefore lead them to repentance (be sorry for their sin and turn to Christ Jesus for forgiveness) are doing the people in the pews a huge disservice.

  4. so i have two thoughts after going through these comments and thoughts...

    first, Erik, this is pretty brave to you to keep the conversation going and even to invite more conversation on issue by making a facebook post.

    second, i love the f-bomb. there are times when it is the most perfect, the most evocative and the most satisfying way to sum up a situation, a mood, or even my day. That being said there's a time and place. I'm hanging with Dr. Hill on this one. His example from Corinthians nails it pretty well.

    okay, a third thing (sorry, I couldn't resist)... it's really really easy to sit in our place and our community and look at someone else in another place and in another community and cast all sorts of blame and shame and say, really, anything we want about them and then use our status as Christians to justify all the name calling and shaming.

    When we teach about sin to our confirmation students and high school students, and we do (a lot). We talk about about three things:
    1. the definition of sin is anything that breaks our relationship with God, God's people and God's creation. Shaming anyone in Jesus' name is, by this definition, a sin.
    2. We will always be sinners, as will everyone else. The workings of the law (i.e. naming and identifying and even trying to avoid sinning) will always expose US as the sinners ahead of those we call out as sinning.
    3. Thankfully, we don't rely on the Law to be in relationship with God or even the church. The Gospel, God's grace as shown through Jesus' life, death and resurrection, is God's grace-filled saving word - thank God, because even as write this post I realize that my comments may be (and maybe even intended to be [uhh, oops?]) shaming to those who have previously posted on your blog. So, I'm good, happily, so are all those who have posted on this blog and even the people they have commented on.

    There's some Luther for ya...
    Thanks for the opportunity to, you know, type some.

    1. So Anne: Is it ever appropriate to say this, "Brother/Sister, what you are doing is a sin. God commands you to stop."

    2. Honestly, Gary, no. I'd say that's taking God's name in vain. You don't speak with God's voice.

      Now, is there a time to say, "I'm concerned for you and for how this course of action is going to affect your relationship with God and with me. I think you should take a good long look at what you're doing and consider whether God would condone it. I certainly do not."? Absolutely. But I would never presume to speak with God's voice. That is not my place.

    3. Wow. So if we are not allowed to speak the words of God as his command, we had better stop telling people this:

      "Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins."

  5. I like it when pastors and role models are so effective at communicating that you don't notice their sins. I think creativity, kindness and honesty in one's own faults are central to that type of communication.

  6. I heard Nadia speak in Cedar Falls last Wednesday night. This is what I saw and heard:

    Packed house.
    Lots of laughter.
    A warm welcome for a young person who, because of Nadia's address at the National Youth Gathering, found the courage to come out as LGBT.
    Nadia's sincere regret that churches chose to leave the ELCA once we decided we could agree to disagree on human sexuality.
    More laughter.
    A backhanded putdown of campus ministry (which for this LCM vet was the most problematic moment of the night by far).
    $10,000 raised for the ELCA Malaria Campaign
    And, to my recollection, a couple of "shit"s and one well-deserved "that's bullshit."

    We're worried about language? Really? There's so much more out there that's far more important than whether or not someone drops an f-bomb. Oh, and about a week ago, Nadia said she has not, to her knowledge, ever used the word "fuck" in a sermon.

    Personally, I swear if the moment demands it. Most don't. Cancer would. Slamming my finger in a car door or with a hammer would and has. I think God's got far worse things to worry about with me.

    1. I am not judging anyone for using the F-word. I have used that word at least once under my breath this week when working out in the yard. But I repented of it, with the intent not to do it again. My baptism does not give me a license to commit ongoing sin.

      Nadia and her like-minded colleagues don't see anything wrong with using this vulgar term. If I were engaged in ministry and at ANYTIME used that word while working publically in the position, I would pray to God for forgiveness and publically to the church for forgiveness.

      It is the lack of repentance that I find shocking and sinful. I see it as just another example of liberal Christians excusing any and all behavior as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.

      "If I want to live with my girlfriend and have ongoing sex, its ok because I'm not hurting anyone."
      "If I want to engage in homosexual sex, its ok because I'm not hurting anyone."
      "If I am tired of my wife and want a divorce to find someone more fulfilling for me, its ok as long as I make sure she is financially and emotionally ok."

      And on and on the list goes.

      Liberals have completely thrown out the Law, and accuse anyone who preaches Law AND Gospel as being legalizers.

    2. Oh, Gary. Bless your heart. I truly wish it were as black-and-white as you want it to be. The problem is, it never has been. Sin and evil are relentlessly inventive in finding ways to drag us down, whether we're gay or straight, married or not, divorced or not. It's not a Liberal thing. It's a human thing.

    3. Scott: do you believe that all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sin?

  7. Two words... Sinner/Saint
    Luther taught this and believed we are ALL sinners, yet we are also saints.
    Now, lets be honest... Nobody expects a 5'2" little gal like me to come bursting through a door with a mouth of a sailor. BUT, that's who I am. I am a little fireball who works with children in an ELCA Lutheran church and I know when to put my "filter" on because little kids and swearing don't mix. I also LOVE God and the community of brothers and sisters I belong to; they accept me swearing, tattoos and all. I also know God loves me because the Bible tells me so and I also love my faith family for who they are. God has His job to do and I've got mine as a member of the church. Yes Scott, God has much bigger fish to fry!
    Erik, GREAT blog!

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  9. If Nadia's speech led a girl to come out as LGBT, she is preaching a very peculiar gospel. Christ preached and people could not wait to repent and change their lives. Nadia preached, and someone could not wait to announce her sin proudly. Doesn't sound like Christ's teaching to me.

  10. Oh God save us from the " I'm a better sinner because I've repented" crowd.

    1. Not one orthodox Christian has made the statement here that sexual sins are worse than any other sin, or that sexual sins are worse than our own sins. Sin is sin. We are all equally guilty.

      The issue is repentance. Should Christians who are sinning be told that they are sinning, urged to repent in by caring, loving brothers and sisters, but if repentance is refused, should these members of the Body of Christ be disciplined by the Church for their obstinate, on-going, willful sin?

  11. Gary's attitude is part of the reason why I want nothing to do with "Christians." Jesus, however, interests me. He seems far more concerned with how we love each other than how we stay pure enough.

    1. Dear Daniel,

      I strongly suggest that you read your Bible and start with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John where Jesus speaks himself. Yes, Jesus VERY MUCH loves you, Daniel. He wants to save you. But just "liking" Jesus is not enough. Jesus preached repentance just as often if not more often than he preached loving your neighbor.

      Repentance and God's love go hand in hand. You can choose not to listen to Christians who warn you of the dangers of living in willful sin, but when you stand before God you will not be able to blame THEM for your eternal destination. That will be your responsibility alone.

      Any Christian who only tells you how much Jesus loves you, but does not warn you of the horrific, eternal consequences of non-repentance for your sins, might just as well have pushed you into hell themselves.

      Jesus says: Believe, REPENT, be baptized.

      There is no other way to receive eternal life.

    2. Dear Gary,

      Your narrow view of scripture and "loving invitation" are very much in the minority of the wider scope of following Jesus Christ -- not only in history, but also viewed through a lens of modernity.

      I'm not here to argue, only to add my comment within the context of Erik's post in that I find your attitude really fucking annoying and I want nothing to do with you and your so-called "correct" and "right" view of scripture. I'm not going to respond again to any posts you make; I wanted to add to Erik's comments in that I don't find your "evangelism" to be attractive. At all.

    3. Many people did not find the evangelism of Peter, Paul, and even Jesus attractive. That is why all three were killed. Sinners do not like being told that they need to repent and that they are in need of a Savior.

      Jesus wasn't executed for being a nice guy. He was executed for claiming to be the God of the Jewish people and for telling the people in power that they were sinful and needed to repent.

      Arrogant, unrepentant sinners don't like to hear that.

      All orthodox Christian Churches teach that sinners MUST repent of their sins. These Churches (RCC, EOC, conservative Anglican, and orthodox/confessional Lutherans) represent over 85% of the world's Christians.

      Liberal "just love everybody and that's enough" Christians are the minority. And I predict that within another generation they will deny that Jesus is the only way of salvation, and they will drop the non-inclusive term "Christian".

  12. The Lord leads us, and works repentance in our lives.

    But that can't happen if excuses are made for the sin, or if the sin is outright denied.

    Jesus told us that we are all born liars. And we are.

    But that doesn't make it right.

    1. And, um ... I see that in Psalm 116 where all are born liars (kind of), but when did Jesus say this?

  13. Erik -- I, too, applaud your bravery in inviting and continuing the conversation on this topic. To address the conversation thus far, it seems the fundamental beliefs of the participants are in opposition, which overshadows the tenor of the responses but is not the topic up for debate. In essence, they are debating the very topics that have caused a chasm between the faith communities in which the participants learn and worship. Not likely something that will be resolved via blog comments.
    After a good deal of thought, I am reminded that we are reading the story of God’s work in and through his people through different basic assumptions about God. more here ...

    1. Most orthodox Christians have already written off liberal Christians as a lost cause. I am almost there...but I guess I haven't given up yet.

  14. I’ll put in my 2 cents as a future pastor. I don’t have any extreme piercings, but I do have a few people who question a couple of the ones I do have. I’m not covered in tattoos, but I do have one and plan on getting a couple more. I also have a tendency to curse like a sailor around my friends and sometimes around my family. My family frequently says “that’s not very pastoral” (half jokingly) if I use strong language.
    These things are part of who I am. I think my piercings are cool. I can take them out if I get sick of them and they’ll heal right up. I love my tattoo. It’s my outfly tattoo that I got an extra discount on because it was one of the most original ones the artist had ever done. (It’s 2 Cor 5:7 in braille on my foot). Basically if I need to I can over these up or take them out if need be. I can do the same with my language. I work with kids a lot. I don’t use the same language with them as I do with my soccer teammates. The restaurant I work at has its fair share of the elderly crowd that comes in. I don’t tell the same dirty jokes that I tell my coworkers in the back. For me, I know who my audience will likely be, and I don’t want to offend anyone, but I also don’t want to change who I am for them.
    I think that’s what we need to keep in mind with these pastors – who is their audience? I know many of my college classmates would see the swearing as being real, or genuine, not needing to censor themselves. They see people like that who they can connect with that speak the same way they do. If we’re all about being inclusive as the church as the whole, I don’t think it should matter how someone says something, as long as the message is consistent with what the church has been trying to teach, and people are listening.

    1. I think we need to clarify something. We Lutherans are not Baptists:

      We drink alcohol.
      Some of us like to smoke tobacco.
      We dance.
      Many of us, including pastors, even orthodox Lutheran pastors, use words like "hell", "shit", and "damn" in private conversation.

      Lutherans of all stripes do not consider the above to be "sin".

      But isn't there a red line, beyond which our behavior IS sin? I am not going to put my pastor through an inquisition to see if he ever uses the word "fuck" in his private life. That is his business. But if he attends Church related functions, even if it is just a pastors conference, and he goes on record using the word "fuck" or "fucking'...I will have a problem. If I have to explain to you why this is not only improper, but sin, then we have no common ground from which to have a discussion.

      You mention that you tell "dirty" jokes at work. If you think telling your co-workers something like, "Hey, did you hear the one about the woman who got fucked..." THAT is sin. And if you don't see that as sin, dear sister, you have a problem.

      Again, is there any act or statement related to consensual, adult sexuality that liberal Christians believe is over the "red line"?

    2. Also, many of us orthodox have tattoos. So our issue with Nadia and her colleagues has nothing to do with anyone's tats.

    3. Well I'm pretty sure Jesus never said "Truly I tell you, you should never say naughty words in front of others." There are a few places in the NT that important people use very offense names towards others that can compared to our curse words today (John the Baptist calling Pharisees and Sadducees a brood of vipers comes to mind). Obviously that goes against other "laws" like love your neighbor, but it's still a part of our gospel and is read in church frequently. How can we say that cursing from the pulpit is worse than that? I don't think these words are being used to put down others, but rather avenue to express strong emotions. I'm sure there's been a time or two where someone has said "I FUCKING LOVE JESUS!" Should we focus on the word choice or the fact that someone really really loves Jesus and wants to yell it for everyone to hear?

      Also I don't understand the premise that cursing in private is not considered a sin, but cursing on record is? I don't think it's appropriate to go on record and curse, but I think if one is considered sinful both should be. Stealing isn't less sinful in private than it is public. I think if you would like to point out what is sinful, there shouldn't be excuses because of the execution of that sin.

      Also, I'll agree I'm not a perfect person, nor will I ever be. I understand that. We're human. I curse and tell dirty jokes because I think they're funny. Some people lie because they're afraid of hurting others with the truth. Others steal from malls because they like the thrill of shoplifting. We all have our vices. Should we all work on those to become better people? Of course! Is it harder than hell do? It sure is. That's why I think rather than trying to remove a speck from another's eye, we should focus on our own planks. I know I have a huge one, but the only person I have to answer to is God, not another person. That's why I thank God for the cross every day, so that all my sins are forgiven, no matter how sinful I am and no matter how many times I fail to fix them.

    4. If me or my pastor uses the word "fuck" privately or publically I believe it is a sin and we should repent of it and strive not to use it again. However, I am not going to pursue disciplinary action against my pastor if I learn that he has muttered "fuck" under his breath while working in his yard. If he says "fuck" from the pulpit or in any other capacity as a pastor/shepherd of God's sheep, I will.

      What concerns us orthodox is that you and other commenters have indicated you don't see using the word "fuck" or telling vulgar stories/jokes as sinful. You seem to feel because it helps you to fit in with the crowd of lost sinners you are hanging out with that such language will give you a better chance of sharing Christ with them.

      Are you serious??

      Did Jesus tell the woman who was about to be stoned for adultery to go and fornicate more to fit in with her fornicating neighbors?? No. He said, "Go and sin no more."

      I'm not judging you because you occasionally use vulgarity. I have enough of my own sins to worry about. What I am doing is pointing out the dangerous trend among liberal Christians that anything is ok, nothing is a sin, as long as no one gets hurt.

      Jesus called on sinners not just to repent...but to stop committing the sin they were engaged in. Liberals seem to believe that such an admonition from the Church or Christian to Christian is being judgmental, when in fact, it is what Christ tells us to do.

  15. Interesting discussion! There's a lot going on here, but I see some signs of that old and useful discussion of how Christians are supposed to relate to "culture," based on different views of how Christ relates to the world. I wonder if the classic distinctions by H. Richard Niebuhr--Christ against culture, of culture, above culture, in paradox with culture, transforming culture--shed any light on the issue. For example, if you see swearing as an aspect of culture, then your answer to "what would Jesus do" may depend on whether you're envisioning a Christ of culture, or against it.

    Personally, I'm torn. In some ways I feel like the issue of cursing is a distraction from more central issues the church should focus on. But I'm aware that issues I might label "peripheral" (in this case, "it's just words") are for some people signs of more central issues (the overall civility of public discourse, for example).

  16. Hmmmmmm... I didn't really expect to post on this but here I go.
    1) I'm reminded of a very funny, insightful, and well known comedy routine by George Carlin called seven words you can't say on television. That if anything should remind us that words only have the power we give them.

    2) The whole defining sin thing is something that really bothers me. If we look at scripture we find 'sin' very weakly and broadly defined:

    Matthew 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire."

    None of the others I found were much more enlightening - basically the whole golden rule thing mentioned in several posts above. Now if you find WORDS in that definition, you're wrong. period.

    3) Words do have power and create emotional responses, which is why I feel that the use of some words have venues where they are more appropriately used. For example, I would no less expect my pastor to say fuck from the pulpit than for him to nigger - which in many christian venues (more past than present) this is a perfectly acceptable word to use. Or even less benign, words like (when referring to a person) stupid, idiot, worthless, or a plethora of others I could ramble on about.

    4) Can we let go of the 'What Would Jesus Do' mentality. wwjd? I don't know, I didn't know the guy! All I know is what is written about him and quotes of his that weren't written down until after at least 30 years of playing telephone. How about just trying to be a good person instead. I've share this with many an acquaintance - I'd rather surround myself with moral and kind atheists than judgmental christians.

    1. How do you define judgmental?

      I would say that the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector is the perfect example of being judgmental: the Pharisee thought he was better just because he kept all the rules. However, it was the Tax Collector who had a heart of genuine repentance and faith in God.

      I am not judging ANYONE for using the F-word. I use it occasionally when it inadvertently slips out of my mouth. The issue is this: Is it appropriate to use this word? Is it appropriate to use this word with just your work buddies, as long as children are not present? If you can honestly say to yourself that you would say this word in front of Christ himself, then there must not be anything wrong with it.

      If you wouldn't use it in front of Christ, then you shouldn't use it in front of anyone else. Is that too much?

    2. The Legalist believes that by keeping the Law, he is justified before God.

      The Liberal believes that he can ignore the Law and solely depend on God's grace to give him license to do whatever he darn well wants. The only sin is to break the Golden Rule.

      The true believer daily, and sincerely, repents of his sins and daily trusts, by faith, in God's grace for eternal life.

      It is the attitude that "anything goes" by liberal Lutherans; that nothing is a sin, that is hemorrhaging members from the ELCA like no other denomination in history. The ELCA is driving full speed ahead into apostasy...maybe they are already there.

      I will harass your consciences no more.

  17. Erik,
    I just came across your blog! I feel you make some great points. I went along with others from our church to see Nadia Bolz-Weber and thought she was fabulous! She is bringing the Word and Work of Jesus to so many young people, I love it! We are all sinners and saints, we all sin, and we have to remember God Loves Us no matter what! That is the message that needs to put out there, WE ARE ALL CHILDREN OF GOD! It does not matter what language we use or do not use. GOD LOVE YOU!!!

  18. Hello, Erik! Mike Morrell asked me to contact you because he really appreciates your blog and thinks you'd be an excellent candidate for his Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it's free to join. Sign up here, if you'd like:


Thank you for taking the time to be a part of "koinonia"