Curse words are killing families!
Yesterday, I saw an epic status update on Facebook by gospel musician Mike Farris. Basically, it was a rant lobbed at some of his fans who might disapprove of Mike's language...
For any of you dear brothers and sisters out there thinking of writing me a nasty email telling me how offended you were at my language at some point during theshow . The last thing in the world any of us needs are self-righteous, self serving, pseudo spiritual individuals telling the rest of us how to live, what to say, and when to button it up. I am going to be ME. We have GOT to stop searching out for reasons to dislike each other, when, if you take the time, you find we all have a whole hell of a lot to love about each other. Contrary to what you've been told, you're not doing the work of Christ and he is not happy with you about it, I'm convinced. I have done quite a lot of things in my life that would rightly offend the lot of ya. A little curse word is the least of my worries. I'm on the front lines our here. Most of you couldn't stomach some of the things that have been discussed in my autograph lines after a show, yet for me, I stand there in awe and wonder that someone is sharing the ugliness of their life with me. Humbled and honored-that's what I am. Not disgusted, and offended. If you have a problem with a curse word spoken in your presence, go to the nearest mirror, look closely, and ask yourself "Why does it always have to be about you?"
What I do think people should be concerned with is intent. It's possible to be very offensive to someone and not use a single "swear" word. For example, ten years ago, when I wrote Bill's ex wife the one and only communication I have ever sent her, I did not once use any language that would be considered "bad". However, I know she was offended by what I wrote, so much so that she got Bill's daughters to send letters disowning him. In those letters, Bill's kids never swore once. But what they wrote hurt Bill to the core. One day, they may regret writing those missives, though I don't regret offending Bill's ex wife. Someone needed to do it.
The comments on Mike Farris's rant were pretty interesting. Since he is a gospel singer, many of his fans are devout Christians. I saw at least one comment protesting that using so-called "blue language" is lazy and the sign of an uneducated person. I usually laugh when I hear someone say that because it's certainly not true. In fact, I think automatically dismissing or discounting someone for using "bad words" is pretty lazy and potentially dangerous. What if, in between those objectionable words, the person says something worth hearing?
I think there is a big difference between using swear words and actually cursing at someone. A person can use a four letter word and be totally harmless. Or they can use language to be malicious, abusive, or threatening. We need to pay more attention to context and content because that is where words of any kind can be harmful. I think it takes a lot more intelligence and wisdom to be able to tell the difference between someone using forbidden curse words and someone who is actually cursing. I also don't think one needs to use forbidden words to be hurtful and cruel.
I discovered Mike Farris the first time we lived in Germany. At the time, Epinions.com was still in full swing. A public relations company in Nashville had noticed my music reviews and was sending me free music to review. Mike Farris's Shout Live album happened to be one of the freebies they sent my way. Later, they sent me his The Night The Cumberland Came Alive album.
I mostly liked the music this company sent to me, but I have to say that of all the CDs I was privileged enough to review, Mike Farris's music was probably my favorite. I distinctly remember sitting in my office listening to Mike Farris for the first time. Bill was nearby and listening and he said, "Man, if you aren't a believer before you hear Mike Farris, you could probably become one." This was said by a man who is very much a believer in God, but has had a terrible experience with organized religion. Mike Farris spoke to Bill through the power of his music. He moved him. He moved me, too, though I am not nearly as spiritual as Bill is.
What do I care if Mike Farris uses "bad words"? What does God care? I think what is more important is the big picture. I would love to catch one of Mike's live shows. I think it would be more healing to my soul than any church service. Of all the offensive things a person can do, cussing is hardly the worst thing in the world.
Mike Farris sings "Precious Lord Take My Hand"...
"Green Green Grass of Home"...