*expletive deleted*

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
- Ephesians 5:1-4

This is actually a post about expletives, and it does actually have a few in it, so if you think it's possible you might be offended, please feel free to skip the rest of it. :)

I read those verses not too long ago, and the bit about not using obscenities or coarse joking sort of stuck with me. I have a few guy friends who tell some pretty bad jokes. They're funny - but they're in bad taste. Ok... now that I'm thinking about it, some of them are funny, but mostly they're in bad taste. And me? I tend to swear a little bit when I'm really frustrated, and it's starting to bug me. I'll use foreign swear words sometimes - "bugger" was my favorite for awhile - but words like that don't mean the same thing in the States as they do elsewhere, and so it doesn't really feel like swearing, tho I'm sure a proper English grandmother would be horrified. But recently I find the word "sh**" coming out a lot more often - when I'm late, when I make a mistake, when I drop something on my toe... and it's bothering me.

"Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks," right? So where is this coming from? I'm not sure, but I am trying to delete those expletives from my vocabulary, with varying degrees of success - and if I feel the need to verbalize something, I'm trying to consciously at least say "Chitaqua" or "sassafras" instead of *expletive deleted* (which actually kind of makes me laugh...)

So as I've been thinking this through, and trying to discipline my tongue a little more, a friend of mine posted a link to a great xkcd cartoon. I've needed this reminder from the Lord, that obscenities simply aren't to be part of my normative speech patterns; I need to be more intentional about what I do and don't say, and I will keep working on it. But this cartoon reminded me of the extreme value that a well-placed expletive can have. I mean, even Paul swore once, to make a point:

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 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 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
- Philippians 3:7-9

(I hear the Greek word for ... um, rubbish... isn't exactly translated correctly as rubbish. I think it's actually supposed to be ... sassafras, lol.)

So here is a classic reminder from Randall Munroe that sometimes a well-placed expletive really does say it all:


The true irony is that I needed to hear that too.... :)


Cathy H said...

Okay, I have to admit that being raised as a proper Southern Baptist girl, I was never even allowed to say "butt."

But now that I'm an adult, I take great joy in being able to say hell, damn, and whatever else I think of.

Still can't say the "f" word though. Some programming just can't be erased.

Josh said...

i like to substitute j-hole for a-hole or juicebox for others. it's comforting to know somebody also substitute swears.

/Christian said...

A couple of months ago, it was the cool thing to say 'that's what she said jokes'.

I found it hard at first, because they can be hilarious. But I figured that the repetition was slowly ingraining the joke into my character and I didn't want that.

We are free, but do need to be diligent.