I recently received some feedback from someone who thought my referring to the Koch brothers as the Cock brothers was unbecoming of a bishop. While I appreciated the feedback, here’s my response that I thought you might enjoy. Even if you don’t enjoy it, I believe it’s an important issue:
Part of the reason the Church in all its forms is dying is that clergy have long pretended to be something they are not. In public, they present a false image to placate their congregants. In private, they are someone else. One day their private selves leak out in public and people are scandalized. I refuse to do that. Some find my use of so-called colorful metaphor offensive or unbecoming. That’s fine, there are more than enough pretenders out there who will satisfy their need for bland language as long as they don’t hang around too long or when the hammer hits the thumbnail. As for me, I prefer to be authentic. I work with real people, many of whom are in real pain and struggle to find meaning in their lives. They don’t speak the Queen’s English and neither do I. Again, some will be put off by that and go elsewhere, as they should. But didn’t Jesus also die for the truck driver? And wasn’t Jeremiah told by God to sit naked against the city wall?
What is really vile language? I’d suggest it is words like “hate”, “stupid”, “dummy”, “retard”, “ugly”, and racist, sexist, and classist epithets of every sort. Most of the words often regarded as obscene really are much more accurately regarded as dialect unless they fall into the above mentioned categories or directed at someone. The Church has for far too long missed any opportunity to minister to a large segment of the population because they start by telling them their way of speaking is unacceptable. For my part, I believe that is hypocrisy at its finest. We are saying, in effect, “lie, cheat on your taxes and your spouse, beat your kids and dog, and get ahead at the expense of others because we can’t see those things, but don’t swear or pass gas because we can see those.”
Call me cynical, but I have long believed the Church’s obsession with the sins of the mouth and groin are little more than a thinly veiled attempt to distract the public from the real sins of mistreating others. Again, to each their own, but I know what’s important to me and the God of my understanding and experience.