Friday, July 18, 2008

Is CRAP a Swear Word?


First in the series: PRACTICAL Christianity 101

It pains me to admit that I used to curse like a truck driver. In fact I'm sure that sometimes my language would have made many a truck driver blush. And I had nothing to do with cleaning up my act in that regard. The Holy Spirit did that for me.


However...
Is Crap a swear word? How about Poop, or Snot, or Darnit! What about Holy Toledo?

I need some other words to fill in the blanks that my salvation left in my 'colorful' language, but I do not want to blaspheme, offend, or take the Lord's name in vain.


I have often seen within my new Church friends eyes that sometimes my usage of the verbiage above has makes them feel uncomfortable. I don't want to do that! They have been kind enough to accept me as I am, and to rejoice over the positive changes in me. I don't want to startle or upset them with any raw language.


So I've been doing some research into the subject, and found some helpful websites. I was very surprised to find that many people have the exact same question as I do! And sadly they all seem to have a different answer to that question.



These were unsatisfactory. My research continued.


I found a wonderful answer on a Wiki of all things. Here is a short excerpt from that Wiki post:

"The degree to which profanity is offensive relies upon how the use of the word affects an individual. Some will consider the original meaning of a word to be offensive or a subject not fit for polite conversation (cf Ephesians 5:3-4 "..it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should even be mentioned among you. Nor is it fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane or vulgar.") while others will have no objection to these subject matters. Some will feel that certain words, having an established social taboo are simply offensive, regardless of any context; others will find profanities offensive mainly when used in a way deliberately intended to offend."

That is a very well worded and thoughtful definition. But practically it doesn't help one little bit.

I certainly don't have the intention to offend if I drop a computer monitor on my toe and scream "CRAP" as I dance wildly about. But some folks might still get offended.


Three of the summer interns here at the church (And they are quite a wonder and a blessing) were happy to answer my question as to whether or not Crap was a swear word. I found their answers quite insightful and helpful, particularly since they had grown up in Christian homes, one whose parents are even Pastors.


Yes was their answer, across the board, if you are speaking in a Church, or to more traditional Christians. But if you're in the Youth Service, it's perfectly fine!


Wow . I love those guys! It was a very simple and clear cut matter to them. And their answer backed up a theory that I've had for some time: I'm terribly immature. But at least now I have a good set of rules to follow for the proper use of Church exclamatory language.

I translated it like this:
Be respectful to those who have lived a much more devout life for a longer time than you have. They are more in touch with the purity of the Holy Spirit and 'roughness' of any type may be grating to them.

That rule works for me. Then just to be certain I said a little prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help guide me in this endeavor not to startle or embarrass any of my new loving family here at the Church. That's the last thing on earth that I want to do. But if I do I know that they will forgive me, cause that's just how God made them.

1 comment:

Stuart said...

Good post. Of course there's also the distinction in use in differing parts of the world.

Crap, or so it seems tome, is a far more acceptable word in the UK and I, not a noob Christian, still use it - though I am selctive in where. I think Matt 12 v34 says it best and my reading of that says that if I'm not intentionally using a word(s) for simple gratification (i.e. there is no evil intent in my heart) then my usage is not wrong.

That is not to say that it still isn't acceptable to others but it isn't wrong. My BIL always says if a christian takes offence at something you say or do, then that is there problem, not yours.

I too had a potty mouth and the HS also fixed that for me :)