Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Say What?

I recently went to the blog of a minister in New York City and mildly chastised him for his crude language. I figured I was speaking for the silent majority of Christians who detest profanity and pseudo-profanity ("sucks" and "pissed off").

To my utter amazement, I was the voice of one crying in the wilderness. 95% of those who subsequently responded railed against me and my Victorian ways. Don't you know, they said, that you are showing yourself to be "real" and "authentic" when you use such words? Don't you realize that you are showing yourself to be vulnerable and approachable to the lost when you express yourself that way?

Only by using these words, they said, can you truly express your deep inner feelings. Ordinary, proper language can't do that, they moaned.

Oh, please.

Maybe all those respondents live in New York.


Jana said...

Hi Tim - I don't see how it really matters if all the respondents live in NYC. They don't. But why does it matter?

I wish you could spend some time with the minister in question. You sound like a good man yourself, and I think you would be blessed by his friendship. He and his wife are tender-hearted people who seek to know God even amidst their doubts and struggles. That speaks to me much more than the occasional curse word.

Beverly said...

on your april 15 post you said,"geesh" did you know that is what some people say instead of Jesus..? Just a thought

Tim Perkins said...

Both of you raise valid points.

Blake Perkins said...


Remember when I was 6 years old and I accidently threw the bat in the back yard and hit Brian Lee in the head....

you said, "Oh my God?".

I think you should beg for forgiveness.

jch said...


I was shocked to see all the responses on my post concerning language. I tried e-mailing you not long ago but never heard from you so I decided to take the discussion to the public. (I e-mailed both your sons and heard from the immediately. Both were more than gracious.)

I guess what offends me, Tim, is your apparent bias against those of us who live in NYC as if to say we are a bunch of raving liberals. Maybe you were joking when you said that all those comments must have come from NYC but for a guy who holds incredible high standards when it comes to the use of language, I would have expected you to be more thoughtful in your choice of phrasing.


P Watson said...

I have frequently checked Joe's blog to keep up with Ira, and like you, was surprised at the language. I was even more surprised at the barrage of responses. I am chosing to post my comments on your blog and leave the Hays blog for the important matter of their son. When my daughter, who will graduate from a Christian college in a couple of weeks, and whom I have tried to raise as a Christian young lady, used that language not so very long ago, I had a discussion with her as to the appropriateness of speaking in such a way. She didn't see a problem. I suggested she look the word up in a dictionary to see how it is defined. When she was very small, I taught her there were certain words that our family did not use. We do not use them because we have been called to be "a peculiar people." For the past 26 years or so, I have worked in a male dominated environment in law enforcement. I doubt there are any words I haven't heard. And yet, I can tell you, that even those who make no profession whatsover to Christianity make a distinction as to whether certain language is appropriate or not. More than one drunk has apologized to me for his language. TV programs have ratings warning us that there is language that will be used that is not considered appropriate for all audiences. I am afraid that we have become so exposed to so many things that we no longer view them as offensive or inappropriate. I have no doubt that Joe Hays is a wonderful person. You can see that in the way he cares for his family. I don't think using any particular word is a marker that sends you to hell. However, we are judged by our words. I just wonder if we sometimes get too accustomed to hearing things that we incorporate them into our lives without even realizing what we have done. I can tell you from years of experience that you can work around people whose language values differ from your own without using their language and still command their respect. I mean no disrespect to Joe, but I know that in the times in my life when I have felt the need to use words I would not normally have used, it is not because I did not have the vocabulary to express my feelings otherwise - it was because I did not rely on God to handle my problems. But don't be too judgemental of the respondants - and don't stereotype New Yorkers. One fault is no better or worse than another. I think most of the responses just indicate the way today's youth are thinking - the same way as my daughter. How do we show them a better way when they are blasted from every side - media, movies, friends?

Tim Perkins said...

Thanks to all for your responses. To Joe: I remember an email from you but it seemed to be directed at one of my sons and I didn't follow up on it.

To all: the crack about New Yorkers wasn't smart on my part. What I was foolishly trying to do was blame the negative responses on the stereotypical New York brusqueness. And that's my only gripe with New Yorkers. I will never forget how they triumphed in extraordinary conditions on 9/11 and thereafter.

Patsy: Thanks for such an eloquent response.