Category: Faithful Living

Faithful Living


Pastors Swear, Too (WARNING: Explicit Language)

Nadia Bolz-Weber


I don't swear much, period.

I don't swear very much in everyday life, and I swear exponentially less on social media – but I do swear. It happens, and I don't get all bent out of shape when I do it.

In my opinion, God is an “adult” – so our hangups about a few words matter little to nothing to God.

After receiving some flack for swearing on social media, Nadia Bolz-Weber – the tattooed, bespectacled Lutheran clergy-person from Denver – decided to repost a blog entry she penned about the subject.

I would echo much-if-not-all of her reasoning. In particular, she speaks to the hyper-sterile, overly positive world of cultural Christianity. Of the needs of the real-world disciple, she says:

But there are other folks out there who are comforted by ambiguity, who need a Word of grace which is not covered in strawberry syrup. Who need the stark truth of what it means to be broken and blessed at the same time. Who are at home in the Biblical story; stories of anti-heroes and people who don’t get it; beloved prostitutes and rough fishermen. They tend to not really care that I use colorful language. If anything, they are relieved that they don’t have to watch what they say around this particular member of the Christian clergy.

When someone accidentally lets loose with some obscenity in front of me, my relpy is always, “Listen, seminary isn't charm school. That's the way I'll continue to operate, and encourage others to operate.

A “f-bomb” – used as sparingly and correctly as possible – may even help one in the midst of a particular trial.

Weeks after the death of my own son, I was called upon by local authorities to come and be present for a family who had discovered their husband and father had died in the night. The wife had collapsed on the stairs, as if she could go no further. The children were being comforted by other family members. The deceased's sister was visibly and audibly the most distraught. She had attempted CPR, in vain attempt to revive her brother.

She was wearing a sock cap, grey hoodie, acid-washed jeans and a belt-buckle that read “vagina” in the style of the Coca-Cola logo, and all she could bring herself to do was pace the floor, wipe her red and swollen eyes and cry out, “I tried to fucking save him! Why couldn't I fucking save him?!?”

After having just suddenly lost your brother, I'm not sure anyone could blame her.

Honestly, I went home and wove a tapestry, myself.

It is what was needed for her in the time. Eventually, she calmed down enough to accept some tissue from me and have a smoke (no, I didn't give her a sermon about not smoking, either).

Forest is a “bedroom community” and the family never really came back to the house they were renting.

Unfortunately, I know far too many people who would have made a point to say something like, “I know you are hurting, but that language isn't going to help.”

Wrong. It's not wrong to be concerned with the raunchy language of a serial offender – especially when that person is yourself. It's wrong to be so concerned with a few words that you cease to be useful to God and “the least of these.”

Anyway, you won't really ever see it from me on social media – and that's probably the last time you will see a word like “f***” on this blog. However, if the possibility of running into a word you find questionable is just to much for you to handle. I invite you to find the appropriate “unfollow” or “unfriend” button.

No hard feelings, though.

%d bloggers like this: