A Time to Swear

Some of us will say there is no good time to swear. It breaks the 4th Commandment (“Thou shall not take the LORD’s name in vain.”) It shows a lack of vocabulary. It’s lazy. I’ve heard all these comments.

It bothers me when people speak in a way that every other word is an F bomb. This seems to diminish the power of that word.

And I can’t take it when people actually do take God’s name in vain. When I hear “G-D (anything) I literally feel pain. My dad used to swear by spelling D-A-M-N long after his kids could spell but he never added the G– before it.

Last evening I was asked to write a prayer for the night of Epiphany on a day when a mob desecrated The People’s House, when thugs broke into the offices of members of Congress and staffers hid in closets and under desks. My prayer was called a “Prayer for Epiphany when there’s a ****show in our Nation’s Capitol.” I was asked if that title was okay and I said it was. I’m sorry if it offends you.

Sometimes there are no words that have the same impact as a colorful scatalogical word. We Christians are often shocked when pastors and other people of faith dare to express themselves with such words. I for one believe that sometimes they are the only words that capture the depth of what’s happening.

What happened in our nation’s Capitol yesterday was devastating. Arlington, VA was my home for over twenty years. My home. My children’s home. What I saw yesterday happened less than 10 miles from our former house and it was horrifying. It was swear-worthy.

And . . .

. . . and, we live in a nation that can do better. We are called to do better, to be better. Our nation was founded on noble principles but we have fallen short of those noble principles and we continue to fall short every time white men are allowed to storm a federal building and be asked to disperse peacefully while we all know that if that mob had been black or brown men, they would have been shot. We know this.

It makes me want to swear.

5 responses to “A Time to Swear

  1. Betty Cottongim

    Very disappointed that you continue to think it was ok. As a former moderator and representative of the “Church”, I will never agree with what you did. Presbyterians should be above this and role model Christ like behavior at all cost.


    • I appreciate your words, Betty, and also believe that Jesus himself reached moments of deep anger that would prompt the use of strong words. His outrage in the temple is one example. And I am certainly not Jesus. I’m so sorry for your disappointment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Christian Ethics professor, a self described Kentucky red neck liberal, said several times that there comes a time when one must stand up and say, “****, ****, ****.” I commend your courage Jan.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Beverly S. Bailey

    I know I have used some words my mama would not have liked over the last 4 years……They have sometimes helped…..my grandchildren are worried, I am worried….It is past time…..thank you. (I also read your prayer and wish I could use it…..


  4. Our family were appalled by what happened in DC yesterday, but were encouraged when President Elect Biden introduced his Justice Department team today. Andy wept during the comments of Merrick Garland and Vanita Guta (he’s very emotional these days)!


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