...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Words We Don't Hear in Church

Did George Carlin go PC- or did he just get the last laugh? One fine day about 15 years ago, I was watching "Thomas the Tank Engine" with my young son. "Thomas the Tank Engine" was a wonderful program for young children but narrated by none other than Carlin himself! Carlin surely got off- at the "dazed and confused" generation's expense- on a really weird bit of irony! With my thanks to blogger Martha Hoverson over at www.ccblogs.org, what are some of the words you can't say in church? I am a child of the 60's and 70's and enjoyed Carlin's satire which often pointed out our own idiocy and hypocrisy. You can, of course, think of Carlin's original seven words as now being a little more acceptable in the general culture.

To twist it the other way, there are some words we regularly hear on the news and in general that we just don't hear much in church: torture (ironic that Jesus was a torture victim). Another is global warming (thank you P. Johns). While we drive to get another one at Starbucks, food vs. fuel would be a phrase that we could add. And thanks, in part to Starbucks, fair trade. Other phrases would be the adverb buying, with any number of nouns, such as buying humans (slavery). Closely linked to buying is war profits. Yet another is corporate greed. We could name more, but these are the start of a good seven.

Why are these words used everywhere but don't seem to be part of the general discourse of church settings? "What we have here is failure to communicate." (Cool Hand Luke)

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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