This morning I used a word of four letters describing a bowel movement. In the same sentence as God. In a post all about God. And used it several times.
In the moment of communion that word was right and proper. In the hours since pressing publish that word remains right and proper.
Seeing as God hears every thought and unspoken word I guess he is familiar with a wider vocabulary than anyone of us can ever achieve – even with a lifetime of study.
And seeing as Jesus partied with sinners and the social outcasts, I guess he heard more choice language in three short years than a lot of us hear in a lifetime. Yet he made a bee-line for them every time.
The bible has been sanitised as most written language is. The church has been sanitised as holy places are. Our vocabulary is sanitised for public consumption if we are of a certain age and certain culture.
In a cold dark car-park I hear the “foul language” no-no list (and usually some new extras) in just two short hours. So a four-letter word describing a bowel movement barely registers. It is the way people speak as a matter of course. Who never think they are being coarse. Who text the same as they speak. Who message each other as they speak. Who then try and remember to “button it” for us sensitive souls from the church.
But this is not a rant against censoring free speech. Nor is it a defence of foul language.
It is a ponder through the doorway …
When we take offence, more often than not we take offence on behalf of someone we think will be offended, or of something we believe is offensive. Too often in my life and relationship with the Lord I have found we (Christians) are very easily offended on His behalf because we have been taught to be very easily offended (on His behalf).
And I have found that the more we are offended on His behalf, the more I am expected to insulate and isolate Him from those who need Him the most. And that is my category. I am that category. I need Him the most. But I also find it is a category less easily offended – on behalf of God – or each other – or on behalf of each other.
So I wonder this ….
The more we insulate and isolate Him … the more we are offended on His behalf …
Do we worship more and more a distant and lifeless icon? Might we just suck a little life out of the very God we give our lives to every time we take offence on His behalf so easily? And might we then present that as “The God who is offended” to others (and each other).
Because just what might one of those who is never coarse as a matter of course think as they stumble across a post with a four-letter word describing a bowel movement in the same sentence as “God”?
Might they be offended or intrigued? Might they be curious or offended? I have no answer.
All I do know is this …
On the other side of the doorway very little causes offence to the Lord we worship from afar.