They do not turn to the Most High;
they are like a faulty bow.
Their leaders will fall by the sword
because of their insolent words.
For this they will be ridiculed
in the land of Egypt.
- Hosea 7:16
Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
“Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
Assyria cannot save us;
we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
to what our own hands have made,
for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
- Hosea 14:1-3
When I was a senior in high school or maybe a year later, I got a copy of a well-known sports magazine. On the cover was script spiraling into a sewer in the middle of the otherwise white page. Okay, it could have been oblivion; it was an endless spiral until it was simply a dot in the middle of the page. What was the script? It was the cheers of many of the top USA universities, laced with profanity. Yes, words that you cannot say on television, but printed on the cover of the magazine. They were pointing out that your cherubim children may learn more than you want them to learn when they go off to college.
This was a sports magazine. They did not delve into the curriculum and what that might contain.
When my parents visited my wife and I, a little more than ten years later, our boys were playing in the cul-de-sac with their friends. The other boys said “Gosh!”, “Heck!”, and maybe “Darn!” My mother turned to me and said, “Never let your children play with those children again. They are crude lowlifes. Their language is gutter language.” I had heard those same boys say words that were much worse, but they were sweet words compared to what my boys would hear in the first grade. A few years later, when our younger son went to first grade, he came home saying one of those words that you cannot say on television. His mother asked him where he heard that word, and he said on the bus as soon as he got on the bus – the very first day that he ever rode the bus, only the second day that he ever went to public school, since we drove him to school the first day.
And now, there is a sportscaster who is ranting about the foul-mouthed fans at American football games. I shall refer to this sportscaster as Rip van Winkle, but he has obviously been asleep for much more than twenty years. “Rip” was a college quarterback at one of the schools whose cheer was on that magazine over fifty years ago. Is “Rip” deaf? Has “Rip” found religion within the last month? Oh, I know! “Rip” probably has children who are now college age, and what he encouraged the fans to do when he was playing is now something that he does not wish to have his children exposed to. I smell hypocrisy in the air.
Our society is swirling toward that sewer drain. Each year, we get a little closer, where the swirling action becomes so swift that maybe, just maybe, we cannot overcome the pull toward the drain.
Was I guilty in college? My alma mater’s cheer was in that spiral, but we were taught a clean version. … Sort of clean version. “Hotty Toddy, Gosh A’Mighty, who in the Hell are we? Flim Flam, Bim, Bam, Ole Miss, by Dam!” You can see how that could be a lot worse. It could delve into using language that has never passed my lips. But then when the opposing team’s fans started cheering for all your entire university to go into the lake of fire, the student body that sat around me was yelling the same back at them. Let me also state that the chancellor of the university, while I was there, stated that the University of Mississippi produces quality education while Ole Miss has sports programs. I still root for the sports programs, but I feel that I got a great education during the four years that I was there.
In the fifty years since then, our language has gotten so coarse that the old curses are not “cuss words.” They are common language. They transcend the etymology of the words. They basically have no meaning other than “I do not care for a living soul other than myself, so I care nothing about who I offend.” Yes, they have that attitude, and they support Political Correctness – for you, while they say what they want to say.
When I was growing up, my teachers said that those words, which they would never repeat even to identify the words, were words that polite, educated people did not use. Using such words showed a lack of education and intelligence. So why does the college teach those words in their cheer?
I wonder if the teachers used those words in college. I doubt that the cheers had suddenly been changed after they graduated and before I got to college.
But thinking of how cursing is common language and means nothing – nothing to some people, I overheard a conversation at church, during the fellowship after the service many years ago. I consider OMG to be equal in cursing to “Oh, my God,” but I will use it to illustrate rather than spell out the three words. Please forgive me. I grew up with sweet church ladies that prefaced everything they ever said with “Oh, my God, I will pray for you.” Those words meant something, and they were always said reverently, prayerfully. Then a certain woman on a television sitcom said it maybe fifty times or more during each thirty-minute episode, and I have rarely heard it said reverently since then.
As for the promised conversation:
Others: Will you quit saying OMG? We should be reverent, at least while we are in the church building.
The “lady”: OMG! I never said OMG! Will you quit accusing me of saying OMG when I didn’t say OMG! OMG! OMG!!
Others: You just said it again, many times over!
The “lady”: OMG! OMG!!!! I am going to have to find new friends who don’t lie about the words coming out of my mouth!!! OMG! OMG!!! OMG!!!!! O! M!! G!!!!
Was she being a flaming jerk, or did she truly not have any idea that she was saying those words?
Can we take the words of Hosea 14 and apply them? I have used coarse language, taught by my platoon sergeant, so that the “city guys” would even know I had said something, nothing using God’s name in the wrong way, but coarse. I can point fingers back at me. I guess why this came up is that I am shocked in these days of constant cursing that anyone would fuss about us going to far. It seems very self-righteous to me.
But Hosea suggested that rather than foul language, we should ask God for forgiveness. We can repent. But we need to know what we are repenting of, or we can never turn around and go toward God.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.