I have always found it interesting (and a bit humorous) that these short epithets have been labeled, "four-letter words." We all know what that means, but it gives a bad rep to a lot of good, four-letter words--you know, like l-o-v-e. Vice President Biden once spelled one out for us as j-o-b-s (except he described it as a three letter word--VPs were never known for their spelling prowess).
It's true, however, that many of the nasty locutions we've tossed around for so many years are limited to four letters. Apparently, it's more appropriate for brief, insensitive outbursts to be limited in scope. Thus, when we want to be rude, crude, or lewd, we use four letters. In fact, it just occurred to me that my mother used to shout out a four-letter word when she became angry with me. She would curtly yell, "DAVE!" Come to think of it, that might be why I still chafe at terse, choppy terms.
At various points in his epistles, the Apostle Paul admonished us to refrain from such talk (see Ephesians 5:4 for example). Cleaning up our language is probably one of the simplest (and most obvious) things for a new Christian to undertake. Yet, for some, it remains the hardest. Here's a challenge for you. The next time you get angry, just yell, "DAVE!" You'll feel a whole lot better.
I remember reading once that Samuel Clements (Mark Twain) could cuss for twenty minutes without repeating himself even once. I'm not sure this would be a talent to which I would aspire. Still, that seems quite impressive.
We currently live in a culture where using crude language has become commonplace--even expected. There used to be certain words that were never used in "polite company." Now even the polite company uses them. I guess we've been desensitized.
Actually, not all of us have been benumbed by these compact, linguistic annoyances; but those of us who still bristle at their utterances seem to be a dying breed. I, for one, still chafe when in the presence of a person who communicates as if they were Mark Twain, Jr. It's not that I'm a prude or anything, but I guess I just wasn't brought up that way. Some of you may still remember getting your mouths washed out with soap. I can tell you from experience, it's not a pleasant taste.
I, myself, am not totally above the occasional utterance of a four-letter word. You may have heard the old saying, "It's enough to make a preacher swear!" Those moments are rare (and often well under my breath), but they can and do happen--usually when I hit my thumb with a hammer.
What People are Saying about Four-Letter Word
Dave's new book has arrived.
Here's a sample of his latest work.
Author, Preacher, Teacher:
As O. Henry noted: Curiosity can do more things than kill a cat. It can bring the joy of knowledge and thinking about things we thought we knew. Thankfully, Dave Zuchelli has done that for some time and is sharing the benefits of his curiosity with the rest of us who prefer books to blog posts.
~Jim Simon, Alabama~
Four-Letter Word is a humorous yet serious and thought-provoking collection. As a pastor, a reader, and a follower of Jesus, I highly recommend it!
~Pastor Don Hunter, Pennsylvania~
Dave is able to reach people using humor, wit and satire. He has opened my eyes to Jesus. Thanks Dave—keep spreading the word!
~Heidi Dulany, Virginia~
Reading Dave’s writing is like having lunch with him at one of his favorite hangouts.
~Kevin Stauffer, Missionary to France~
Dave has a way of presenting everyday wisdom mixed with a bit of humor. The title alone should tell you something.
~Pastor Roger Bennett, Michigan~
Dave is the best preacher I have ever heard. His written stories remind us of ourselves as he shares his personal challenges and flaws in a self-deprecating manner.
~Susan Canis, Virginia~
Dave’s timely cultural commentaries make for fun reading while carrying keen lessons. I love his writing because he keeps me thinking Biblically about life!
~Chris Cunningham, Cru Team Leader at Penn State~