Sunday, April 3, 2011

"You'd Have To Be Shocking Crazy..."

I was on a Tampa city bus this past Wednesday morning when I overheard a very loud conversation between two adults seated a few rows behind me.  Many of you know that I am no prude when it comes to language (although I seldom curse) but this was a bit over-the-top, even for me.  At nearly every place in their conversation where one would normally expect to find an adjective, noun, verb or an adverb you instead heard an "F-Bomb."  You know the word- it starts with an "F" and doesn't rhyme with motorcycle.  My Dad used to tell me that people who swear a lot are simply showing off how small their vocabulary actually is, and I thought about that as I listened.  I also thought about how in this day and time the "F-Bomb" has not only replaced real words, it has replaced other cuss words. It's no longer, "and then he ate the whole da*n thing," it's "and then he ate the whole F-Bomb thing."  It's no longer "WTH," it's now "WTF."  It used to be that "F-Bombs" had some shock value, but that is no longer really true.  They are too commonplace.  So as I sat and listened to what seems to be the most popular word in the English language, I began to contemplate how ridiculous it is that this foul four letter verb is now a substitute for so many things.  I wondered what it might sound like if we took another verb, one that is actually in the dictionary, and used it in the same manner.  For obvious reasons I chose the word "Shock."  Here is what one side of the conversation I was forced to hear would have sounded like had the guy been enlightened enough to use my word instead of his...

"Shock- you wouldn't believe the shocking *crap* I saw yesterday at the shocking doctor's office.  This shocking woman came in with a little baby- I mean shock, it couldn't have been more than 10 shocking months old.  It was crying like a shocking wolf or something, and she could not get it to shut the shock up.  I was just about to get the shock out of there when she shocking slapped the baby on it's tummy trying to make it shocking shut up. I thought, 'Shock this, I'm shocking outta here.'  But just kept getting shocking louder.  She finally laid the little shocker down on the shocking table and gave it a shocking bottle so it finally shut the shock up..."

Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn't it?  The word (either of them) makes absolutely no sense in any of the contexts it is used in based on its' actual meaning.  And yet most of us hear the "F-Bomb" used that way nearly every day, either in life or in a book. movie or song.  It's just the way it is.  How did we get there?  How does something once seen as so foul and so evil become so acceptable?  That is the big question...

When I served at Springfield Friends Meeting (1986-1994) our pastor, Max Rees, had some cows he kept in a pasture about 30 minutes away from the church.  Those cows constantly got outside the fence designed to keep them in, and they often wandered across the road to find new grass.  It was very dangerous behavior.  I once asked Max why they kept trying to escape, and he shared the following information- cows don't mean to leave their pasture.  They just want to eat.  They wander from one tuft of grass to another seeking food, and if that leads them away from their pasture and into danger, so be it.  They don't mean to get lost.  They just nibble their way to "lostness."

Sin is the same way.  We often don't start off meaning to sin.  But we do...and then we nibble on the next sin.  And the next.  Until before long we are lost.  Same way with the F-Bombs.  People use them on occasion.  Then on more occasions.  Then it becomes their word of choice.  We nibble our way to "lostness."  But the good news is this- just like Max always went to rescue his cows, Jesus is always there to save us.  No matter how lost we get, his amazing grace brings us back to the pasture, where we are once again safe and loved.  This I know from personal experience- I have been so lost that I couldn't have found my own way back with a Hummer and a GPS.  I can't imagine living life without a Good Shepherd (or in this case, Good Cowboy) to watch over me.  It amazes me that some people, even knowing their options, choose guilt and condemnation over love and grace.  They prefer "lostness" to being found by the Savior.  They chose to live life without Jesus.  Wow.  I just can't imagine.  I think you'd have to be shocking crazy...

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous4/03/2011

    Dude- for the past 2 days you have been the best writer on the whole internet! It's just shocking awesome. Keep up the great work. -Chris C.

  2. Anonymous4/03/2011

    Have at you!!!

  3. Thanks so much Chris. Do I know you? And Anonymous, you are cracking me up with the random Monty Python quotes- which you obviously knew I would recognize! Great stuff!

  4. Anonymous4/03/2011

    :) <3

  5. This was a shocking good post! Before I get the shock out of here I want to tell you how great it was. Seriously, Carl, as the son of a cattleman, I loved the cow story. It is a sad commentary on our culture how we have become so unfazed by the commonality of language. But it's not about "F-bombs". As you said, it's about being lost. Thanks for the great read!

  6. Thanks so much, Jason. Every now and then I try to make a point... :)


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