Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Church Marketing Sucks: Why We Use ‘Sucks’

Crystal came across this article while perusing the Internet: Church Marketing Sucks: Why We Use ‘Sucks’ In light of the recent furor about some of my word choices, I thought that I'd expose all of you to this. A quote from the article:
Many recall a familiar message by Tony Campolo where he uses the four-letter “s” word. Iterations exist all over the place (including the Internet), but the context goes something like “[This many] children have died of hunger today and you don't give a s--t! In fact, you are more concerned with the fact that I said ‘s--t' than [this many] children died of hunger."
And don't even get me started about Philippians 3:8 and Paul's use of the word skubalon....


Blogger greenemama said...

interesting. so, based on your quotation, couldn't it then be argued that using the word is then a distraction from the primary issue, and then, in turn is the speaker's/writer's faux pas? :)

i don't really think "sucks" is quite the same as "f***" though. ::sips coffee::

8/02/2005 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Seth Ben-Ezra said...

Well, actually, that's why I made the reference to skubalon. The force of the word is something in the vicinity of...well...the word that Tony Campolo is referencing.

And, as far as the use of such language being a distraction from the main issue, I would agree that this is a possibility. It can also be true that the language is the point, again referencing Tony Campolo's quote.

And what kind of coffee are you drinking? I still have a little Papua New Guinea coffee left, although it's several hours old now. :-/

8/02/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

"Sucks" is short for "sucks eggs." On that basis it is not something to worry about. "Sucks" is a word that a lot of honest, decent folks who are godlier than I am associate with a sexual act. On that basis, it is something to worry about. This "being authentic" business doesn't wash with me. I've usually found it to be a thin veneer over "being self-centered, indiscreet and unkind," which, in a word, sucks.

8/02/2005 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger greenemama said...


but we're on to iced tea now. ah, caffeine.

8/02/2005 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger barb said...

So Tony Campolo said sh**. I have heard and even used worse. I'm not shocked or offended.

What does offend me, though, is when people justify their use of swear words because Paul, Ezekial, et al used them. Scripture is the inspired word of God. There was a purpose to each and every syllable. As much as his manager and publisher would like you to believe otherwise, Tony Campolo words are not inspired.

Curse words sneaking in to our everyday language is just one more example of worldy ways creeping in to our Christian lifestyle. Writers are using them merely for shock value and not usually for any edification. Their use is considered "ground-breaking" when in fact they're just coarse and vulgar.

8/06/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Seth Ben-Ezra said...


All those things that you say about worldliness are true. I also agree that Tony Campolo isn't inspired. To be clear, from where I sit, he is just a gentleman who taught my mother at some point in the past (assuming I'm remembering my family history correctly here).

That being said, I do think that we as Christians need to wrestle with the Bible's use of language. For example, Douglas Wilson makes the point that Paul apparently didn't see the conflict between using skubalon and saying "Let no unclean thing proceed from your mouth". If the Bible can communicate in that manner, and if the Bible is normative for us (including the manner in which it communicates), then there are apparently times that it's acceptable for us to communicate in this way.

8/06/2005 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger barb said...

Actually, we seem to be saying the same thing. However, those times when "son of a GUN" does not adequately express my true feelings, my motives are (usually) far from biblical.

Paul's writing would not have been as effective if he said "I count it all #2". Even Shakespeare would not have been as interesting had he written "out darn spot". But's it's the creative and selective use of language that makes any writing good, effective and interesting. Overuse of any words or phrases becomes trite and boring.

And before I become trite and boring, I'm signing off!

8/08/2005 05:22:00 PM  

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