Thursday, January 3, 2008

Questionable Content

Please let me know if this is inappropriate for an online conversation and I will delete this post, but I had a conversation last night that really got me thinking.

Here I go:

I work at NOFO Cafe sometimes and I love it! Over the holidays I have been working more because people needed shifts covered, so I am just getting to know some of the people working there.

Last night was pretty slow, so a few of us were hanging out in the kitchen. The conversation started out talking about cursing. I said that I don't really curse, and one of the guys asked me, "Are you real religious or something?"

I wasn't quite sure how to respond, "religious" came across as a bad word... I don't really consider myself "religious", but I am I think... I believe in Jesus, try to live like he calls me to, am part of a church community... But, I didn't respond quick enough so another girl said, "Why don't you just ask about anal sex?"

I was thrown off a bit, much like the guy who asked me about religion... "anal sex, what does that have to do with religion?" he asked.

Her response is what has me thinking... "To me, they are about the same thing. You don't need either one, but they make you feel good every once in a while."

I didn't respond to that either. My mind was racing to what I should say...

I'm looking for feedback in a few ways...

Is being "religious" a bad thing?

How might you respond in this situation?

I am pretty sure most of my readers would be considered "religious" by some, but I would also love to hear from people who would not consider themselves religious at all or who agree with my friend's comment...

16 comments:

Shannon Smith said...

At the first question, I would ask him, "What do you mean by 'religious'? Is that your way of asking me why I choose not to curse?"

Then, assuming his answer was 'Yes', I would explain to him why I didn't curse, which leads to a good question.

Why don't you curse?

At the second girls response, I would laugh... a lot. I would probably follow that up with the word "Wow." I'd shake my head and go back to work, continuing to shake my head in disbelief, picturing the scene from Ricky Bobby where they say, "Does that blow your mind? That just happened."

amy hathaway said...

I agree with Shannon's response to the girl. I laughed outloud in my office and thought it has hillarious... I would have done the exact same thing as Shannon and shade my head and say "Wow!"

It's funny how some people link not cursing directly with being "religious"...I'm sure other people would perceive me as "religious", but I don't think of myself that way and I never liked "religious" people growing up. I instantly put a negative conotation with people who are "religious"...I just always have since I was young.

Why don't I curse? I don't curse much any more because I think it's disrespectful and simply not necessary. Don't get me wrong, I'll throw them out there sometimes, but I try not to. It's an extra adjective that simply isn't pleasant and rarely makes anyone feel good.

Jon said...

I think this has to do with perception. The reason why cursing (swearing) is associated with being religious is because most people associate religion with a particular set of standards that people adhere to (don't drink, don't swear, don't wear a hat in church). I don't really like the term "religious" because to me it signifies that I subscribe to a particular set of beliefs and a given moral code without really thinking about it (blindly). Not that this is the correct use of the term "religion," but I think this is the connotation that it has.

The comment is very interesting to me, and actually a great illustration of this girl's feelings, so kudos to her for being a good communicator.

Jon said...

I had somebody tell me recently that they think religion is the cause for a lot of the wars, etc. in our world.... Hard to argue with that in a lot of ways.

Shannon Smith said...

Amy,
Your reasons for not cursing is very similar to mine. I didn't share my reason previously because I was hoping to get Traci's reason.

BTW, Is it cuss or curse?!? Whichever, I don't want to limit the use of such words to just being adjectives. Cuss words make for effective nouns and verbs as well I have plenty of examples if you need them or maybe you can just check them out on wikipedia.

Meredith said...

I had a classmate ask me the same question before break. She was drunk so my response didn't matter too much. I just paused then said "well I guess you could say that". I would have thought through my response a little more had I thought she would remember it.

I had the same thoughts you did though. The way she asked it made me want to say no because she made it sound so negative. I guess in her mind I would be considered religious though.

I have to say I am glad the second comment didn't come up.

Patrick said...

Call a spade a spade Traci. You’re religious. We all are, at least in the eyes of the world that we live in. Unfortunately, that has a rather negative connotation as other posters have implied. That, however, doesn’t put us at liberty to divorce ourselves from the title or word and apply our own thoughts to it. The challenge is being able to convey to the person we’re talking with that it isn’t religion, which is a set of rules/morals/values that are followed that lead you to do not do certain things, but rather a relationship with a living God that motivates you. I say it’s a challenge b/c I’m still figuring out how to convey clearly my love for and desire to live for Christ in 30 words or less. Let me know when you figure that out okay?

I really believe, and hope it comes through in my answer above, that it’s just better to be honest and speak plainly in the language of the person you are talking with rather than question them. Now this would be different if you’d known this person for a while, but since you are just getting to know them I imagine it would seem off-putting to fire back questions at them. It sounds defensive and immediately puts them in the same defensive frame of mind. My answer would probably be something along the like of, “well, yeah I guess you could say I am. Let’s get a beer sometime and talk about it.” To me that sounds feels friendly and engaging which is what I want to be.

sorry for the book...

Shannon Smith said...

At what point do you get to call down the fire?

Anonymous said...

traci,i find it very interesting that you have 8 comments on this subject compared to none on other soul searching and equally relevant posts. Being called "religious" really gets to us... and of course you throw in cussing and the sex thing...this post and responses to it might renew your zeal about blogging! love, someone to old and 'motherly' to be reading this post!!
p.s. i think the word 'religious' has become synonymous with judegemnental, narrow minded, and no fun. i think instead of rejecting the word we should help redefine it!!
think 'sex god'.....

traci said...

To answer Shannon's question...

We actually talked about why I don't curse, and I told him that it was because I don't think its attractive... by that I mean, you wouldn't curse in a job interview or in front of customers and I want to live my life the same way in front of all of the people I am around... so cussing doesn't seem like a good option...

Don't get me wrong though, I do drop a few every now and then, but its usually when I drop something on my foot or break another glass in my kitchen.

You all have great insights too... being religious does carry the following rules idea with it and I don't think that I follow a set of rules.

But, I do follow God and I do do relgious things, I hope to be able to continue the conversations in the future with them and learn more about where they are coming from.

jason said...

Very sorry I am late to the punch on this one. I try not to cuss for the reasons mentioned above. That is why I never do it (sarcasm entered.)

I would definately laugh, out loud, and for a while upon hearing second comment. I would thn realize this is a person that would prolly be entertaining to hang around a bit.

What a great conversation. I kinda agree with Patrick and kinda not. Agreeing to being "religious" when "religious" is being meant in a way that is not truly lived out by some person like say.. traci... is not a great idea. I do like the idea of answering honestly.

I would prolly start somewhere along the lines of... "reliousness tends to bring emotions of oppression, hurt, judgement, and outcasting people.. and that is not really apart of how I feel is the best way to live..." - "I do follow the teachings and life of Jesus - which i feel is bit different than the typical working definition of religiousness"

Of corse if someone said that to me I would prolly say... "Oh shut the %$@# up... you're religous!!!" or "Oh $#!%, you are religious!!!" depending on if I wanted to use my cuss words as an adjective, noun, or verb.

Anonymous said...

all i can say is (Jason) ... Pastors sure are different these days(!!!!)
you know if you get past the shock value of what traci's friend is saying, there's some real pain there...i mean..the whole 'feel good' thing and how that is percieved, and 'needed'...I don't know about you guys,but,'my' 'religion' really doesn't make me feel good. It makes me feel bad becuase, through it, i realize how i fall short of who i was created to be, and then i have to REALLY SEE and care about how much evil and pain there IS in the world...but what DOES make me 'feel good' is being in the battle against evil with people who are dear to me and who also help me to face and fight the evil within my self, while still loving me....and the sweet precious moments of where God meets me and those i love in the midst of the battle... then there's the whole thing of the victorious Savior who leads me and loves me and gives me good work to do...and the Bible and it's beauty and never ending wisdom.....anyway- i really love reading all of your comments. it encourages me to hear your honesty and your willingness to love and break out of the comfortable...
thanks for putting up with one from another generation. traci's mom

jason said...

mother paxton,

you are certainly not viewed as one from another generation. simply one of us (unless you ask corey ;)

I will also say my comment was not really a serious - "I would speak that way" as much as a poor attempt at humor while referencing Shannon's previous statement.

Of course one could suggest "thou dost protest too much" in response.

Anonymous said...

jason!! i was just giving you a hard time. i really think you are very refreshing as a pastor!!!
an'older' sister in Christ!! shi shaw

Bernie said...

This is the best damn post I've read all day.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Jeramie Mullis said...

Haha, Bernie. That was pretty funny.

Shannon, I'm pretty sure it's "cuss". At least in Alamance County

Here's my two cents. I think cuss words are just words. You know, sounds that you make with your mouth to communicate thoughts. It's the spirit with which they are said that makes them so bad. That and the social stigma, but even that, I believe, comes from the way they are typically used. I could communicte "f you" without necessarily using the "f word". Ya know?