In the recent meeting with the Republicans in Baltimore, President Obama seemed to listen carefully, he moderated somewhat rigidly and, later decided to disregard just about everything he heard. He decided to barrel ahead in his effort to give us a healthcare bill whether we like it or not.
Republicans repeatedly raised the call to remember that they are representatives of their constituents who clearly are not in acceptance of the proposed bill. Perhaps none were as eloquent and powerful as Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan (R) whose answers to the President were delivered with respect and an urgency that would seem reminiscent of the founding fathers.
The meeting was followed by the usual analysis from news commentators and pundits, a thousand articles, bloated blog activity and headline reports all within hours of the session. Out of it all, one commentator made an observation that seems to stand out in just about everyone’s mind.
The President was addressed respectfully throughout the discourse and was referred to as Mr. Obama or Mr. President but, when the President spoke to the attending representatives he addressed them on a first name basis. Perhaps this suspension of protocol was merely an attempt to relax the proceedings but, it also created the feeling that in Mr. Obama’s mind these were just a bunch of his rebellious kids who didn’t want to tow the line.
The proper usage of words goes way beyond mere grammar and punctuation; it goes to hearts and minds of men if used skillfully and respectfully. We hope our representatives and statesmen know this but alas, all of them do not. Why didn’t the President see that if he handles our elected reps like a bunch of good ole boys then we are left with the feeling that we can only be a pack of dumbbells that don’t know our butt from our elbow?
Mr. Obama should consider that as long as our Constitution is in place and we still have a representative form of government: we will not applaud a president whose legacy reads like the line of the famous Sinatra song; “I Did It My Way.” While no nasty words were used in the exchanges, the disregard for the best words engaged to spark the President were all ignored in the end. But who’s listening to well spoken and meaningful words these days?
The everyday usages of words in our common vernacular are flags, signals or indicators of our general state of mind. They are the pulse of our mental and spiritual condition. Base language has crept into American society in the last generation more than at any other time in our history.
Following George Carlin’s 1972 standup comedy routine he called “The Seven Dirty Words” which sparked both controversy and legal action all the way to the Supreme Court; Americans seem to have interpreted Carlin’s comedic assertions as an avenue toward true expressive freedom. With the advent of TV’s Nip Tuck, Family Guy and Archer on prime time; it looks as if we can’t get enough of our new found freedom but is it freedom, or is it bondage?
Using certain words and refusing to use others is a signal that political correctness like all social trends that gain full acceptance, can be used in deceitful, self indulgent and dangerous ways. Who has not heard popular preacher and author Joel Osteen say publicly that he will not use words like sin, repentance and hell in his sermonic materials? These words are not only central to the gospel message but they are hard connected to the promise of eternal life. No one can live their best life now by ignoring their eternal life in the future.
In fact leaving repentance completely out of a gospel message not only defies the essence of the gospel but it stands in defiance of one of the sole purposes of Christ’s appearance in our world in the first place. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)
Recent Barna Reports have indicated that Americans receive 20 times more input from media than they do from their churches. If church is one big pep talk with overtones of life enhancement principles and prosperity preaching where does teaching morals, eternal destiny and the edicts of God come in?
Family Guy depicts the careless use of guns, violence, disrespect for the mentally challenged, disrespect for parents and all authority and references to sexually accosting someone’s mother. What does that do to God’s first commandment with promise: Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (Exodus 20:12)
The use of foul and disrespectful language may be rising to disproportionate levels in America because we are approaching that troubling and tumultuous time in our world called the Second Advent. (Second coming of Christ) In fact disrespect for parents and the general use of blasphemous language are prophesied as part of the times proceeding the rise of the antichrist. (2Timothy 3:2)
Even more curious are the prophecies that indicate that the antichrist himself will be an inveterate blasphemer. He will cuss and curse out God, God’s people, things in heaven and everything that is commonly respected on earth. (Revelation 13:5-7)
Whether it’s a President who forgets protocol or an acclaimed comedian, the use of good language is emphatically addressed by the scriptures; in fact, right language is a precursor to salvation.
“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)
The preceding passage should be accompanied with two others that make up a kind of trinity of truth about God’s expectations and our personal responsibility in the use of decent language.
“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment.” Matthew 12:36
“For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:37)
All speech is covered in scripture even if it is not base or blasphemous. The Bible makes a general call to full cognizance of every part of our communication with each other. It is the essence of good communication, respect for others and respect for our Creator. With full poetic tone and almost Shakespearian character the following admonition cannot go unnoticed.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
Copyright ©2010 Rev. Michael Bresciani