Offense Meant

Yesterday, I wrote started a new series called “Christian Dick of the Moment”. It seemed to go over well enough until just before bedtime that night. Diana, who might just the conscience of this blog, told me “I didn’t like the title of your post”. I wasn’t expecting that and it took me moment to respond.  “What was wrong with it?” I asked. “I didn’t like that word”, she said. I knew which one she meant, “Why is that?” I responded. “It’s just not a  word I like”, she told me. This went on for quite a while with neither one of us backing down. She said I was alienating possible readers. I said people who were offended by the word wouldn’t read my stuff anyway. I also said that the shock value was valuable because it got people’s attention in a visceral way. She stuck with her alienation theme. I finally said “Tell you what, I’ll post this question on Facebook and see what people thought.

The consensus was that the word wasn’t that offensive and I should keep it. But, I’m not. Two comments made me change my mind. The first came from Shirley Ostrander on the Outlaw Preachers page. She said “It might keep people from reading – I always think it refers to men only. I’d like to see a more gender neutral offensive word 🙂  I hate the word “bitch” for the same reason. Try “Jackass” <grin> (is that male?).”  I agree, not so much because of the “gender neutral” debate, which I struggle with; but what happens when I want to feature a woman in this series? Referring to a woman as a “Christian Dick” wouldn’t make a lot of sense. The other came from Connie Jo Waters on the same page. Connie said (among other things), “…if your intention is to have middle of the road or conservative thinkers read it…then yes…that is probably too offensive…you might want to go with something like “Least Christian of the Moment…” I’m still looking for a replacement word, but I’m not sure what it’ll be yet. I am leaning toward “Christian Moron” or “Christian Idiot”. You’ll find out what I decide in the next post in the series.

This whole mess got me thinking about the oddities of what we find offensive. Some of  balk at language that isn’t gender neutral, or words that are less than genteel. Yet, while we dither over these trivialities, real people are being oppressed, they’re starving, they live on the street and sleep wherever they can find a spot. I’ve spent 3 days worrying over whether the word “dick” might be to offensive in what passes for a religious blog, while people call my daughter and people I love and care about “abomination” and assume that because these people love differently than they do, they are somehow worth less and are not loved in the eyes of God. If we want to be offended by something, how about homeless veterans? If that’s not your cup of tea, maybe you get offended by the number of children in the world who daily don’t get enough to eat and have no access to clean water. If you want to be offended by something, how about you get offended by the fact that over 30 states in a country that’s supposed to be an icon of freedom have enacted some type of law to deny marriage to an entire group of people. Those are things worthy of getting offended about; not words. Grow a thicker skin and get serious about the things that really matter.