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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Miss Linda and The D Word

I wrote a totally different blog post for today, but I had a problem. I used a word Rusty says I should take out and I don’t want to. He says I will offend readers and lose some people.

I said, “Oh, come on. Everyone uses that word, or at least thinks it every now and then. Except maybe Miss Linda.”

Miss Linda is one of my mentors. A true woman of God with strong opinions and the most honest relationship with God of anyone I know. She shares her struggles and wears her beautiful heart on her sleeve. She’s willing to be the sharp edge of the sword or the soft place to land. And she’s been both in my life over the past thirteen years or so. I love her, honor her, and she drives me crazy—a lot! And I drive her crazy too—although she’d never say it that way because she’s too careful of her words.

Anyway, I went back to my writing, but couldn’t get Rusty’s comment out of my head, so I emailed Miss Linda, explaining the conversation with my husband and asking the question:

Me: Do you ever say "damn"?

Miss Linda: I wouldn't use it. Matt can tell you the time he heard me say it when he was learning to drive.

(This made me laugh--"Matt" is my pastor--her son)

She continues:

You want to be Real Jesus not real world..for you to take your followers...don't like that word either, your fans UP, determine whose camp or Kingdom you want to represent..
Damn is a curse word, a 'curse' word...
When I got saved and determined to quit swearing, I had to learn to talk all over again..swear words limit our vocabulary because they so ignorantly cover so much...what are you, who has many words, trying to say using that word?

(I had to think about this for a minute, because the word seemed so benign to me until Rusty flagged it. Plus, her emphasis on “real Jesus or real world” hit me. I am an ambassador for Jesus, true—all who identify with the Name of Jesus are—but I’m not preaching, here. I’m just writing what I’m thinking about each day and trying to be authentic—hoping and praying that if someone needs to hear it, they’ll get what they’re supposed to get.)

Me: I hear what you're saying...and Rusty. But honestly, Linda. I'm not trying to be Real Jesus or Real World. I'm just trying to be Real me. I'm trying to obey and write what my heart is asking. This post is all about questions. I'm not trying to say anything using the D-word. It's just the way it came out. And I don't cuss as a matter of course. :) I don't know...I'll decide if I should leave it in or not.

I wonder if someone will stop reading over a word like that, maybe they're not my readers?

I don't know...

(Miss Linda has another perspective—a very valid one that I had to consider)

Miss Linda: OR maybe they have gained freedom from that language and do not want to go there again. Your goal is not to be Christ like? This 'real me' thing, not only from you, has thrown me lately. I thought we were to be ambassadors and even if we wanted to say 'damn', we would take that thought captive to obey Christ, but you are not the only one lately who has suggested otherwise.


Using it would most certainly cause a something I would think, a questioning, a wondering, inquiring who you are, but that is just me and ......Rusty I guess.

Me: The "real me" stuff, isn't because it's all about me. Do I like bleeding all over the page? Not even a little. Fiction is way easier. It's because I'm trying to get to the heart of who I am in Christ, what I truly believe and how God wants to relate (through me) in this crazy, cynical world. I can reach more people by being open, honest and authentic about my questions than I can by pretending I'm someone I'm not. This is who I am, what I struggle with, but in all of that, my one desire is to know God and change. I'm inviting a conversation with my readers. Do you struggle? Let's journey together and seek God's ways.

I'll leave the answers to the people who have them. For me it's about the questions...


There were a couple of “winding down” emails after that, one of which I asked Miss Linda if I could use her first name and quote her. You can guess what she said…

I appreciate and understand the way Miss Linda feels. I guess a lot of people would be offended and I should think about whether or not that matters to me—if it matters to God. Probably.

For the record: the rest of the post here is not about Miss Linda or her views on anything else. It's all my own reflections, thoughts, and opinions.

I love people. I love my readers. I do not want to be a stumbling block or offend. But sometimes I wonder if we, as Christians, try so hard to be different—and we should—that we take it one step too far and lose focus on what is most important. If things like “damn” or tattoos or nose piercings are going to get a rise out of us, maybe God is telling us to have more grace.

I was talking to another Christian friend this week about how distracted I’d been at church Sunday when someone wouldn’t stop talking. And as I spoke about how God had corrected my attitude, I said something to the effect of: maybe our reaction to the distraction is more telling than the person being rude? Maybe it’s not as important to teach someone to dress less provocatively in church or take her baby out if it’s fussy so that the “saints” can hear the message.

Maybe the bigger picture is this: what’s the point of going into the highways and byways and bid them come in, if we’re going to frown and huff because they act and dress like they’re at a ballgame instead of behaving how we consider appropriate.

I have my opinion, but the question seems more telling to me than the one-hundred different answers or opinions I could get.

All-in-all, if and when I post the original thought for today, I’ll most likely remove the D word.

HUGE thank you to Miss Linda for engaging in a dialogue with me this morning, stretching my thoughts and forcing me to ask more questions of her and of God.

1 comment:

Your Editor said...

I would read you if your blog post was purely about chicken poop. And you didn't use those words.

I respect Ms. Linda's viewpoint. My own mother would see it the same way. But the idea of being an "ambassador" throws me. We have those at the Denver Airport, as you come out into the main terminal. Good folks to help you find your way around. They give you information and share some casual advice, but I wouldn't cry on one of the ambassadors shoulders. {I know this as I was in the airport on Tuesday and crying}

I'm know I would make a very bad Tour Guide for Jesus. But what I'm striving for is to be a kinder, more empathetic, grace-filled, terribly honest disciple, and gauging whether or not someone might cry on my shoulder when they need that kind of person. A person who might say the D word sometimes.

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