There are a few words that I have heard that I would not use, under any circumstances, and this has nothing to do with being politically incorrect, and everything to do with basic human decency. I wouldn't use any word that ridicules, threatens, or dehumanizes others by their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or national origin, disability, or really, for any other reason. The joke I thought was cute wasn't worth telling because it was demeaning at least.
Again, I have heard different epithets used from a variety of American pulpits, and guess what? Even if the word was used to prove a point or as a confessional, the result of shock and regret did not really justify it. Words do harm and in these cases, more harm than any possible good. Even if it may be somehow cathartic for the speaker do it, there are other ways of confessing and for good reason. Most of them are not in front of the Sunday morning crowd.
I have also heard preachers tell all in such detail that they had lost me and surely others. I feel you do not have to subject others to this kind of pain. Doing so reflects a troubled spirit. You can be authentic without causing everyone else to freak. You can be honest by also being considerate, leaving enough space in your words for others to see and name their own darkness.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Words that Really Don't Work in Church
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