My other self said, “You shouldn’t use the F word so much.”
My regular self asked, “Which F word? Fuck? Why not? It is a perfectly fine and useful word.”
Other Self made a face and said, “There are other words you can use. Words that are not so offensive.”
“There are other words,” Regular Self replied. “But what is offensive may be in the ear of the listener. I am offended, for example, at the use of some words that others see as perfectly fit.”
“For example, the way some people use the word freedom. Funny it is an F-word too.”
The eyes of Other Self went wide in dismay. “The word freedom offends you.”
“No. The word does not offend me.”
“But you just said—“
“That the use of the word offends me.”
Other Self pretended to look confused. “You mean you feel just fine about the word, as long as someone doesn’t use it?”
“Sometimes you are a dufus,” I told my other self.
“As are you,” he replied.
“As am I. But more to the point, I am offended when the word is used improperly. Well, that is not true. It rankles when it is used improperly. It offends me when the word is used to manipulate others, often to coerce, through fear –“
“Another F word.”
Regular Self sighed, “Yes, another F word. And often the misuse of the word freedom involves the misuse of the word fear. Shall I continue, or do we plan to interrupt all day?”
“Do go on,” Other Self said.
“The word freedom is often bandied about wildly and used to take away freedom. Actual freedom.”
“And this offends you?” Other Self asked.
“It does,” Regular Self said. “Does it not offend you?”
“The word does not offend me. But I can see how using it this way would offend you, and perhaps, I should be offended also, loving language as I do, and wishing it to be used well and wisely.”
Regular Self knew the Other Self would not give in so easily. He crossed his arms and waited for the next play.
After a moment, Other Self asked: “Would you then agree that many times the word fuck is used improperly, probably most times?”
“Yes. The word is used way too much.”
“By me and others. On the other hand, could it be that the word fuck has many uses?”
“I cannot see that it has any use at all, except to offend.”
“That is a use. And I contend that it is offensive mostly because it is vulgar, and for that reason may be the right word in some occasions. Perhaps you assume that people should not, from time to time, be offended.”
“Why should people be offended?” Other Self asked, bristling at the thought.
“They should not be offended just for offense sake. It seems silly to just throw fucks everywhere in conversation and in dialogue if all you want to do is piss people off. If one gets nothing but a kick out of vexing others, then that person is sick.”
“I think I can agree with that. But I still do not seen why or when people need to be offended.”
“We are offended when we hear or see something distasteful to use, or which insults something about who we are or what we stand for. Hence my offense at the use of freedom to manipulate me into giving up my freedoms. But we are often offended when we hear or see something that goes against even the bad parts of ourselves or the world we live it, and we are made to see that bad in all its ugliness and filth.”
Other Self asked for an example.
“The Bible,” Regular Self said, “states that the cross of Christ is an offense to those who are perishing.”
“To those who do not believe, the crucifixion may be distasteful, offensive,” Other Self responded, trying to take in the idea.
“And go further. The idea of that redemption, that first of all people need to be redeemed, is offensive to some. Second, that it takes the act of God Himself doing all the work, instead of people figuring it out for themselves and doing it themselves, well that is offensive to many as well.”
Other Self smiled. “Alright. I can, sort of, understand this. But the word, fuck, just sounds wrong on the ear.”
“And that may be one reason it should not be used as often as it is. But that the word doesn’t ‘sound right’ or makes polite people uncomfortable is not sufficient reason to say it should never be used.”
“But you are a Christian,” Other Self stated. “Don’t you think that other Christians are due consideration and should not have to hear a word they do not want to hear?”
“No more than others. I do not condone the use of the word in church, in general, because saying fuck in church is not likely to accomplish much. But maybe it could. But this is all beside the point. You beg the question when you imply that once a person is redeemed that she or he has no need, from time to time, to be offended so that they are turned abruptly toward the truth.”
“You know,” Other Self chided, “People won’t say fuck in Heaven.”
Regular Self smiled, “In Heaven no one will be fucked out of their freedom or forced to live in a fearful, fucked up world.”