I have had two conversations in the last 24 hours with men who have become disenchanted with the contemporary Christian church, aka the Institutional Church (or IC as many bloggers like to call it). These are guys who love God and have deep roots of faith. They did not express a crisis of faith in their connection with their Creator. No. Their angst lied in the forms of church they have known.
I have been saying it for the last several years: there is an epidemic of disillusionment with all-things-church happening in many sectors of Christendom in America. A 90-minute feel-good sermon on a Sunday morning is not cutting it for many in this 21st century generation. There is a dissatisfaction that is on the prowl for forms of faith communities that make sense to them.
Authenticity has become a well-worn word. And also transparency, realness, honesty, and the almighty F bomb…F*ck. Yes. Just about every angsty, disaffected Christ follower I meet ends up reaching deep down into their vocabulary bag as they search for the right words to describe their divorce from traditional church. The F word, apparently, is just the right word to say outloud with emotive force what has been pent up and brewing for years, and even decades, for some folks.
The F word has unwittingly become the rebel yell for those men and women who find themselves at odds with church culture. Outlaws and sailors need to make room for disillusioned Jesus Freaks to grab an F bomb and hurl it at the stained-glass windows.
I think this unfettered launching of all-things-f*ck might be an indication that some people have felt censored and stifled. It’s like the scene from the Huckleberry Finn story. A street ruffian, Huck Finn is taken in by the pious church woman, Widow Douglas. In his lament to his best buddy, Tom Sawyer, Huck complains of how overmanaged his life has become:
She makes me get up the same time every morning. She makes me wash. I gotta wear them fancy clothes that just smothers me. I can’t smoke, I cant chaw. I gotta wear shoes all Sunday. I gotta ask to go swimmin’, I gotta ask to go fishin’. Well I’ll be damned if I don’t have to ask to do everything. I tell ya, I had to sneak up to the attic and cuss for ten minutes just to get the taste back in my mouth.
I wonder if some of the Christians I’ve met lately are like Huck Finn… needing to break out of an overly structured faith and sanitized lifestyle as well as Christianized vocabulary?
Language has always been and will continue to be the place where beliefs and revolutions are born, shaped, and f*cked up. Words have power, and no more than the powerful motherlode of the unholy F word.
If you find yourself in conversation with someone sorting out their cynical relationship with the raging, dysfunctional beauty known as The Church, be prepared for some potty mouth. If if offends you, let it go. Some Christians need to dig deep to let words buried under rocks finally come out into the light of day.
I truly think we are living in a time of spiritual revolution and church reformation. Puritanical leashes are being cut as tongues fly loose with taboo questions and forbidden profanities.
I know writing this will ruffle some of my more refined readers sensible feathers (like my mom!). But that’s ok. It’s my blog. And f*ck it…if I don’t say it out loud who will?