I wouldn’t swear to it

Possibly because he launched his new slant on Free Expressions in the silly season Fr Michael Land’s proposals haven’t been taken as seriously as they deserve.

This Herefordshire cleric, annoyed by a reckless driver, swore at the offender. Telling him to ‘F--- off’ kicked off an idea for mission to the unchurched. Christians, he argued, should swear regularly.

Jesus, he said, would have, as he was working class. Swearing, Fr Land had discovered in his long ministry in East London, was the way to communicate with ordinary people.

‘It’s the only language such folk understand’ sounds authentic Herefordshire retired-colonel speak, so he’d quickly got on the wavelength of his new flock. Having annoyed at least one deep-South U.S. reader by my recent anti-Yank rant, I thought I’d restore the ‘special relationship’ by annoying Mid-West Brits.

The Anglican reformers must have sworn profusely, given their desire (Article XXIV) for a language ‘understanded of the people.’ If so, perhaps The Prayer Book Society should get behind the campaign for Christian cursing.

However, communicable cursing is not as simple as you’d b----y well think. You’ve got to find words understood and acceptable to all. The ‘f word’ is now probably the first word many babies hear and use, but beyond that...

For example, referring to body parts as you curse people into the Kingdom could be OK in The Elephant and Castle but you could step in the ‘Douglas’ if you did so in Hampstead – accused of gender fascism.

Furthermore, some ethnic groups and most youth have their own cursing code. Thus, if evangelising the under 30’s, you mentioned ‘God’, you won’t be understood if you leave out the obligatory preface ‘Oh My.’

S–d it. Sorry. Now I’ve upset the LGCM.

Alan Edwards

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