When The Pastor Tries To Be All “Hip” And Stuff

Apr 20, 2011 by

One of the major advantages of our public educational system is the development of a robust vocabulary.

For example, one of the Sons of Thunder will come home from school, look at me and introduce a new word. And there will be a pause. Followed by a “what did you just say” retort from me that includes several exclamation points.

And that is followed by a very meek “nothing.”

And that in turn is followed by The Lecture about how we don’t say certain words. They are “bad” words. And The Lecture includes the finer points of how weak people use bad words, that how you speak says a lot about you – and reflects on the Little Black Dress and so on and so forth, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah.

The Sons of Thunder are allowed – with no repercussions – to ask whether a certain word falls into said “bad” word category. Those are pretty cut and dried. The conflict arises over what I call, “on the edge” words.

Words like “crap.”  

The Dress does not like that word. And the Sons ask why and I explain what crap really means and is that really what they want to say and let’s use a nicer word despite the fact your brother just kicked you and …

“What about holy crap?”

That would be a no. Just because you put “holy” in front of a word does not make it so. In fact, I explain, that kind of makes the phrase worse. And the Sons ask why and I revert to the tired phrase I swore never to use when I had kids – “because I said so.”

It’s a learning process. I’ll hear the word, follow it with a “what did you just say?” and get the “nothing” response. But I will give them credit, they are trying hard and at times, even catch themselves before I do and yell out a “sorry.”

So anyway. Flash forward to a recent Sunday. We’re all sitting in church listening to the pastor give a pretty darn good sermon when The Incident occurs.

Simply put, the pastor says “crap.” It was not a “crap … I just stubbed my toe” comment, but rather more of a “we really don’t need that kind of crap in our lives” statement. Just in passing. However …

Roughly a nanosecond after the first said usage of the word, there were war whoops from the Sons and the Eldest hit my on the arm. This hit inferred quite a bit, like “see the pastor just said it and if the pastor can say it then we should be able to say it and what’s the big deal anyway, because it is the pastor and all and he’s supposed to be an example and if he says it’s okay then …”

I simply looked at the Eldest and said, “don’t go there.”

Pity the pastor. Because he actually uses the word two more times. I know this because The Dress started counting. And she also started fuming. And she also started talking under her breath about writing a letter, and what kind of example is this, and this is church, and where are the deacons and …

I know it’s going to be a long ride home. And it is. The pastor was lucky we didn’t invite him to lunch that day. And let’s just leave it, and the whole “I don’t care what the pastor said, I’m your mother and …” conversation on the ride home, at that.

So next Sunday The Dress is ready for bear. And I really don’t want to be there because I’m already feeling sorry for the pastor. Because I have this gut feeling if he says The Word,  the LBD is going to stand up and say A Word or two.

Fortunately, the pastor refrains from saying The Word.

Instead, he lets out a “pissed off.”

You thought there were war whoops the week before? The Sons are about to have a coronary. And The Dress looks at me and says “we’re finding another church.”

I don’t consider myself, nor The Dress, prudes. One does not look up the term “goody-goody” and see my name as a shining example. I’ve been known to use a word or two quickly followed by a look at the Sons and a “sorry, but don’t you ever let me hear you say that” comment. And despite The Words, we are still at the same church.

I realize times change. Growing up, I wore a coat and tie to church. Now, I’m usually in jeans. There is no question we are a more casual society. But I’d just prefer my pastor to not try to be all “hip” and “in” and use words like that. I use that word occasionally, but I try not to because I don’t want the Sons using it. They don’t need that vocabulary at their age.

The Bible talks a lot about how Jesus was not above hanging out with certain types – the types one normally does not bring home to mom. These included rather bawdy types, like thieves and hookers.

Jesus met them at their level, because they needed him. However, He never stooped to their level. By that I mean He would go to the house of someone the “good people” would call “sinners.” But He didn’t start cussing, get drunk and pick up some prostitute.

He didn’t try to be all “hip” to reach others. He did not change His core, His character. He remained holy.

Can’t wait for this Sunday.

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  1. Stan Cosby

    Never have tried to be “hip” in my preaching, but I’m sure I’ve “slipped”. You’ve got to admit, the C-word is a great all-purpose word. Just not around kids. I wonder about the word-history of “shoot” which my sweet little preacher’s wife grandmother used to say all the time? Sounds an awful lot like another word used in about the same ejaculatory way.
    Give my regards to the LBD. I used to be her her non-hip-but-sometimes-slip pastor back in Tulsa.

    • Hi Stan:
      The Dress says hello and thinks of you all often.
      As to the “word,” I agree with you, good all around word. But like you say, just don’t want it coming out of the mouth of a seven-year-old Son of Thunder. Just think it’s a little early for that.

  2. Lynn Wilson

    I am surprised that LBD went back (there). His actions were disrespectful and ignorant.


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