Last week I talked about how I went to a conference. It was an interesting experience, mostly because the only conferences I have been on before in my life have been retreats with my church's youth group. I have spent most of my life around Christians, and, being homeschooled, I've never encountered many other teenagers. This made the conference of high schoolers all the more of a shock to me. Why? Because not everyone talks like a grandmother.
This is probably not a surprise to anyone that has had any experience out of the 'holy huddle' (church culture). It was not that I was ignorant of profanity (I've watched television), but having people the same age as me use culturally frowned upon language without a second thought was kind of equally horrifying and fascinating. It made me seriously consider how I use my words.
For example: is saying a bad word after I smash my finger with a hammer really that much different than saying a word like "Rats!" in an identical situation? Isn't the heart issue the same? If I speak a 'clean' word profanely, is it not the same as if I had swore? Surely to say God's name is not evil, but to say God's name in vain is an abuse of that word. If I substitute 'sugar' in for a swear word, is that not taking 'sugar' out of context as much as the swear word?
There lies the truly interesting conclusion: if a word is only to be frowned upon when used in a profane or harmful way, can 'swear' words be used in a nonprofane way? Is it profane to use a culturally frowned upon word for poop? If that is profane, then why is poop not viewed in the same light? And if I call someone a poophead, is that not the same as swearing at someone? If I mean the same thing, does the term I use really make that much difference?
Regardless of the logical issues or how it should be, it must be admitted that some words are looked at differently than others. Some people will view something differently depending on the word used. And people make judgments based on the words we use. Therefore, how can we use our words to build others up? How can we use words to tell about beauty, even if there is darkness surrounding it? How can our words affect those around us?
What do you think? Can words be used well? Does the heart behind the words cause words to be good or evil? Or are some words inherently profane?
Book update! I received the proof for Trapped and have finished the final edits! The second book in the Kitten Mysteries series should be published by July 1st at the latest!