When I saw this website about the Blue Like Jazz movie and discussion over use of profanity in the movie, I found myself slightly amused by how heated these kinds of debates can get online. From my vantage point, if you feel strongly against viewing a movie with foul language, don’t watch it! That’s probably insensitive of me because most of us have a set of our own hot button issues and this one just isn’t mine. If I don’t think I’ll feel very good about something I’m contemplating watching or listening to, for the most part, I just stay away from it.
However, people that are debating the issue may be concerned with the principles behind what’s happening in our culture and wondering how this might negatively impact Christians. That can be a genuine concern, I think. I recall earlier in the summer reading some posts about the controversy over Derek Webb’s new release and then again, as I skimmed the posts, I wondered why we can go back and forth about this so much in the body of Christ.
Profanity is clearly considered inappropriate behavior in scripture. Perhaps some use the argument that it is employed to emphasize a point and therefore justify the means for the end result. I think some Christians just aren’t as convicted about swearing and hone in on other issues as major sins.
In my own evaluation, although I can see why it is used in some contexts, I don’t believe that ever changes the fact that we’re called to be holy and a standard of holiness doesn’t leave much room for profanity. One of the dangers of foul language is the banality of things that we should treat respectfully. We invite ourselves and one another to divert our eyes from seeing the world as God sees it and rather to trade that image in for one that is crude and amusing at someone’s or something’s expense.
Yet, I think the lines on what we choose to watch, listen to, and participate in are drawn differently for individuals based on their careful consideration of scripture and their own hearts before the Lord and need to be drawn more conservatively in large groups of Christians where there may be weaker brothers, young Christians, or unbelievers present.
For myself, I believe that even if sometimes depictions in media using profanity might seem funny or ‘realistic,’ if I search out that part of me that is entertained, I think that there is even a small rebellion towards God behind it and I don’t really like what I see upon further reflection.