Do Progressive Christians Require Profanity to Communicate?


Are we supposed to believe that some Christians require profanity as part of the discussion or else they can’t communicate with each other? Some podcasts might make you think so.

With shortening attention spans, delivering a message often means employing attention-getting devices. But I’m disturbed by what feels like a belief some younger Christians require profanity now to get a message across.

I listen to a variety of podcasts and for a while, I’ve listened to a few so-called Progressive Christian podcasts. Other than wasting a lot of time with unnecessary chit-chat, some of these podcasts might have you believe that these Christians require profanity to be “hip” or “cool” enough to maintain an audience.

I recently listened to one in which listeners had apparently sent in an altered version of the podcast’s opening theme. In their version of the lyrics, there were two “F-bombs” and the S-word, all in the first 21 seconds of the broadcast. The hosts of the podcast, I’m sorry to say, seemed delighted with this alternate version of their opening. They laughed about it and called it “awesome.”

It didn’t strike me that way.

I’m really not a prude.

But I also am not a fan of such unnecessary profanity, either. It strikes me as especially when it’s the opening to a religious program. If this is supposed to make me want to listen, then I am clearly not their target audience, no matter how much I may identify with or agree with some of the things they debate in Christianity itself.

I’m not naming the podcast because this isn’t about the show or its hosts. (And, for that matter, it’s not just one that I’ve heard using profanity with abandon.)

It’s about a bigger picture.

People these days use profanity more often — at least it seems like it’s more often — than they used to. It’s intellectually lazy. It’s uncreative. It’s annoying.

Worst of all, profanity can distract enough to keep the actual message hiding among the F-bombs from being fully received.

Here at this blog, my profanity policy is that if it can be said on broadcast television — not cable television — then it can be said here. That means that the words I described at the top of this post wouldn’t meet that criteria. That’s why I used alternative descriptions of the words rather than the words themselves.

Some bloggers regularly drop in profanity. I wish them good luck.

It’s not my style.

I’d rather you focus on what I’m saying, not the level of obscenities I feel is necessary to maintain your attention long enough to say it.

It seems the message is getting lost in the glitz.

Some Christians complain that contemporary services replace the rock-concert feel for substance. I don’t know that I disagree with that these days. In some cases, it does feel it’s more about the “show” than the message.

Now it seems some are trading fog machines and robotic, sweeping stage lights for cuss words.

For these Christians, sometimes it seems like they’re doing so for shock value. But shouldn’t the message of Progressive Christianity, which often flies in the face of traditional, more conservative church teaching and values, be shocking enough on its own? At the very least, that message should be enough to get people’s attention.

It should be powerful enough to make them notice and hopefully make them think.

One of the main points of Progressive Christianity, after all, is that God’s truth is so much better than what traditional churches teach these days. For some — I would even say for many — would-be listeners, that’s reason enough to pay attention.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.