P.O.D. Used the ‘F’ Word And Why It’s a Good Thing!

I remember a few years ago when P.O.D released their album ‘Testify’ they indicated in the commentary section of their disc (if you purchased the director’s cut) that they almost used a swear word in their song ‘Let you Down.’ They held off, probably because of the stigma attached to swearing by their target audience. The use of a swear word in a Christian album is almost unheard of and, given the change in their line up in addition to a slowly declining popularity, P.O.D. probably thought it suicidal to include such a stigmatised word. They already had enough trouble by their sound, artwork, and their touring line up keeping their material in Christian bookstores.

Despite this, P.O.D was always beloved as the “safe” hardcare/nu-metal band for Christians, has had a good and long run of making music which is edgy and, yet, confrontational with messages of truth, love, and God. Contrary to what one might expect, this band was able to introduce a secular world to the Gospel in ways which most Christian bands dream of.  Satellite, for example, became one of the top selling records of the entire decade (2000-09), and it didn’t water down their convictions one bit.

One of the reasons why P.O.D. appealed so much to my generation, whether Christian or not, is because they did well at portraying a real world and the situations we find ourselves in. While they had songs which sang of God’s love and the effect that it has on us who know it (Alive, Satellite), they also had songs which school shootings (Youth of the Nation), the loss of loved ones (Thinking About Forever), doubt (Going in Blind), gangster life (On the Grind), and, of course, just some fun off the hook rock songs (Rock the Party, Boom, Roots in Stereo). Some albums were better than others (I didn’t care too much for their self-titled album), but all of them had deep convictions and messages, not to mention talent (if you want to hear talent, listen to Jason Truby’s duet with Phil Keagey on their song Eternal).

The surprise on this new album is not only a return to some of their roots (you get the impression that they recognize the Satellite years are gone and, thus, their main prerogative is to make music for their loyal fans), it is also a confrontational record in two major ways. First, they do not water down the gospel message. From the very beginning to the very end Christian truth is played, sang, screamed, banged, and whatever else you think hard-core bands do. The message is not left behind the sound. Indeed, the very title of the album is a testimony to the death of Christ. The crucifixion was murder. And it was love that was murdered.

But more people, as I’ve already witnessed, will focus on the second point of confrontation: P.O.D, for the first time on a record, uses the f-word. Not a big detail, except for the fact that P.O.D carries with them the name ‘Christian.’ This has already created a good bit of stir, boycotts, and reactions from many within the Christian community. One reviewer wrote, “ ‘Murdered Love’ would have easily garnered a 4-star rating without the disappointment of ‘I Am,’ but that one song sadly skews the entire album.” Not just the song. The whole album. The point and the message is lost for this one reviewer.

How could P.O.D, the safe alternative to Korn, Papa Roach, Manson, and so many others, betray such an obvious moral imperative? Christians don’t swear. And we certainly don’t do so intentionally. It’s a sign of the world…

Or is it?

Now, let me say something somewhat controversial. I am glad that P.O.D. used this word. For the record, I’m not saying that I would’ve been let down if they didn’t. They didn’t need to. Indeed, I was fairly surprised when I heard it. I needed to backtrack the song. But the fact that they had the guts to do say raises some very interesting points about where our Christian generation is heading, what it finds important, and, even, what the relevancy might be of using such a word. And the benefit of this is that it allows us an opportunity to bring the discussion of language to the forefront. Is it what we say (as many suppose) or how we say it and what we mean by it that is of issue? If anyone sees this as a pointless discussion, I want to remind you of the incident this past week where The Blind Side (a Christian movie by almost all accounts) was removed from Life Way Christian bookstores because of the presence of a couple swear words. Or think of how many kids are turned off from otherwise moral, upstanding bands (whose messages, again, support Christian ethics and ways of thinking) because of the term “secular” or because of the presence of a “bad word.” The “safe” alternatives we give our children often tend to represent worse ways of looking at reality than better ways, but we insist that they are the godly choice, not because they do well to explain reality but because they don’t include stigmatized and confrontational issues.

Language has appropriate times and places. I’ve never held that all swearing is immoral. For one thing, no one has yet to explain to me how the combination of certain letters can make a mere vocal utterance immoral. What if I inserted a different vowel in a traditional swear word. If the intention is still there, wouldn’t it still carry the same level of immorality? Or does the presence of a different way of spelling somehow change the innocence of the word? Secondly, few people recognize that there is a difference between a swear and a curse. The latter is directly against somebody, a point to pre-determine their value or a sort of destiny. The former is more emphatic. It makes a point and serves as a marker of degree or quality: “What the heck?” and “What the hell?” mean the same thing; the degree of emphasis is just elevated in the latter. But is emphasis wrong? Not according to most of our human existence and, even, church existence. With that said, let’s ask what P.O.D’s song, I Am, is actually about.

I originally anticipated that the song would be about YHWH, the “I Am” as portrayed in Scripture. But this was not what the song is about at all. Contrary to what one might think, the song takes on the persona of a sinner. Stemming from the singer’s time with hurting youth he wrote in the first person, of somebody who hates themselves and equally struggles with the idea that they have any value, even to God. The first verse reads as such:

I Am The Murdered, The Pervert , Sick To The Core
I Am The Unclean, Dope Fiend, I Am The Whore)
I Am The Beat Down, Mistreated, Sexually Abused
I Have Violated, Fornicated and sexually Used
I Am The Con Artist, Cold Hearted, Smooth Preacher
Cash Stealer, Emotion Bleeder, The Soul Lecher
I Feed Off The Poor But I’m A Slave To The Rich
I’m In Depression So, This Reflection is Making Me Sick
Are You The One That’s Come To Set Me Free ?
Cause If You Knew Who I Am, Would You Really Want To Die For Me ?

The question, “Who the f*** is he?” follows up this verse and is the question stemming out of the mouth of the sinner (an important point). Captive in sin, stuck in an identity of shame and guilt and regret, there is a degree of emphasis in the question, an emotional plea for an answer. Sonny’s (the singer) reason for including the phrase was out of an attempt to be real: “I think that’s just being honest, from anybody’s point of view. We’re all confused and have problems and struggles. If you’re praying to a god who can help you, it’s OK to be honest, and it (the song) is an honest prayer. ”

For anyone who has reservations now, know that the band thought long and hard before including it but due to the singer’s experiences with abused or abusing teenagers he thought the word was necessary to express the emphasis of the pain of those hurting. And the use of the swear word here, I contend, is entirely appropriate for the persona in place.

P.O.D. portrays a real hurting world in which the offer of salvation does not come down from the sky wrapped with a pink ribbon. Salvation and redemption confront the very identity of a person and asks them to change their very essence. For the pervert, it means not only abandoning your perversions but recognizing them. For the one who’s sexually abused, it means not only realizing that you have been used in this way without so much of a choice but also the ability to forgive the one who has done that to you. There’s a deep shame when we actually recognize our hearts and any sane person who sees this should equally ask the question ‘Would You Really Want to Die for Me?’ Perhaps no swear word, perhaps a swear word. Who cares? What level of desperation are you at? We can’t be expected to get clean and washed before we experience the love and forgiveness of God. He wants us, as broken and offensive as we might be. (Tweet This)

Now, did P.O.D. make a mistake in simply recognizing this and including it in their record, swear word and all? I don’t think so. For one thing, such emphasis in a declaration will inevitably catch the believer’s ears (it did for me) and make them ask ‘What is it that they’re really portraying?’ It moves from being just a headbanging song to a confrontational song, one which makes the believer look at his own heart and recognize, at the same time, the depth that God will go for those that are the thieves, swindlers, murderers, perverts, and so on. Secondly this opens up a door of reality for those that live this identity. It recognizes reality. When The Blind Side was removed from Christian bookstores last week it was due to a couple profane words including one somewhat offensive use of Jesus’ name within the gangs of the city. The pastor who found this offensive would have preferred that the gang/streets scene would have all those features (wife-beater t-shirts, cards, rap music, etc.) but without the swear. Really? Is this a good portrayal of the real situation which took place? Or is it “safe” so as not to offend any Christian, while perhaps leaving the non-Christian feeling that such a lack of passion and reality places Christianity itself outside the realm to be taken seriously. P.O.D., much like The Blind Side, described a situation of redemption with the dirt that it carries and, thus, came into contact with every day life for most people. The use of such a word is intended to help us wake up and realize a truly hurting world.

The fact is, if you meet these identities (and I would guess that somewhere along the line all of us do), you will identify whether cognitively or not with the question ‘Who is this man that died for me?’ When this encounter happens, it is not always clean and happy. The recognition of our own sin and depravity should make us bothered, aggravated, saddened, and even perplexed. The response for many may be less than pretty. But it is effective and true.

P.O.D. recognizes that our culture and our generation does not take issue with language in the same way that previous generations do. But even more so, they recognize that redemption is never clean. It involves the destruction of the one person in order to make a new one. A question full of emphasis, emotional angst, anger, sadness, and curiosity may be what inevitable opens up the door for Christ to respond “I am he.”

 

  • Paul

    In a nutshell, the Bible does indicate that we should show respect for others; Paul said that if my actions, even if they are not technically sinful – cause another to stumble, then it is wrong to do it.

    I think using profanity is a step away from being holy, not towards. I don’t think profanity will be an attribute in heaven, do you? Should that affect how we view something now?

    Who are the two people-groups we would probably avoid using profanity around? Small children and the elderly. And which people-groups is society placing less and less value? Children and the elderly.

    To me, it’s a bigger picture than just getting to cuss. It has to do with respect. Dignity. Holiness. Eternity.

    The only times I’ve ever cussed have been when I was at my worst, not my best.

    Those are my thoughts…

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Hey Paul,

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      I think it’s a worthwhile question as to whether there are things within this world which we hold to unnecessarily. There’s certainly something to be said for not making our brothers or sisters stumble but, at the same time, I think its also appropriate to challenge and question those ideas if they’re held unnecessarily or illegitimately. On this question, for example, I would not advocate going and letting loose a string of swear words to any old lady but neither would I suggest that we should remove things like The Blind Side from Christian bookstores because of two swear words or insist that a Christian band is in the wrong for using a non-sinful word in a context such as this.

      You said, “I think using profanity is a step away from being holy, not towards.” Here I want to ask a question though. Is swearing a sin? I would say that if it is, then you are right. If it is not, then it doesn’t move us any further or closer to holiness. It’s a-moral in the same way that I might say “heck” or “darnit” though with some more emphasis.

      Do I think we will use them in heaven? My guess is that there’s a lot of rhetoric in heaven which will be unnecessary. My guess is that “darnit” will not be necessary in my vocabulary then, but that doesn’t make the use of it now somehow immoral. It merely means that the world that we live in is broken; sometimes (as in the case with this song) broken language (though not sinful language) may be appropriate to convey a certain emotion or desperation.

      • wes

        I totally disagree…Colossians 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and FILTHY LANGUAGE from your lips. Yes we as Christians are hear to tell the world of how much Christ loves and we need to strive to be in the image of Christ. Would Christ cuss…I don’t think so. And im not saying that and accidental slip doesn’t occur…but POD whether they like it or not are portraying that they are Christians and they need to not buckle under society and try and be politically correct or what have you and just speak the truth and they will be held accountable for it. It’s as if they are trying to please both worlds and that is being “lukewarm” and Jesus says “I’ll spit you out”.

        • Jake

          In the bible Jesus calls the pharisees and sadicees sons of snakes which is the equivalent to something in are language as you might know and there is the guitarist head weltch from the band korn who swore in his book when he was telling about his old life. And so did gungor who is also a christian so I would commend p.o.d for having the grit to use a swear in their song ” I am” and they did it in context which is a key factor

          • Ian Rayner

            I never saw where Brian cussed in Save Me From Myself(my favorite book).
            Don’t assume that what Jesus said is equivalent to something nasty we’d say. It’s really not.

    • Jake

      The song is from the perpective of someone who is at their worst, and that is who P.O.D. is taking into consideration. Christians too often like to put on a fake dress of righteousness, I would call it self-righteousness. you think the word fuck is actually sinful? you’re crazy! It’s how the words from our mouth are directed and used. simply uttering a certain combination of sounds does not make it sinful. And you are an idiot if you don’t know that very young kids all the way through hs hear this word and much worse, every day, used much worse as well. P.O.D. is real, and their message is real. I’ve been listening to them for a decade and a half, and no one is more real than them. They are so real in fact, that they don’t care to be a part of the self-righteous christian community that feels that they have to act like shining saints.

      • Ian Rayner

        I have moments where I spout off and cuss, but it is WRONG.
        Why? Because it is negative language.
        Aren’t there words we gave bad meanings to? Like shit? That’s a nasty way of saying poop, or it’s a vulgar exclamation.
        Context is key.
        Like ass is a Donkey, or a disrespectful description of a person or body part.
        If all listeners understood that it’s the point of view of the sinner, I’d be all for it, but not everyone will get that.
        Ps, don’t go calling people “idiots” and “crazy” for not liking the nasty language that we are to refrain from.
        Would Jesus say these words in their negative context? Nope.

    • Dce

      I think it just shows where they’re at in their walk

  • Danhy

    There are some things in this world that we as Christians tend to want to hang onto, and we do our best to rationalize our participation in that for whatever personal reason we can’t let go. At least that’s the way it is for me.

    Well, actually it’s about you too and everyone else, because we are all humans. Paul talks extensively about the things and ways of the world that Christians try to justify. So rather than continue to defend swearing, I’m wondering if you can dare to turn it around and ask yourself why you feel the need to defend what is considered by most to be at least crass, and by many to be unnecessarily hostile and vile, even if they are not Christians and swear heavily.

    To suggest that you can’t effectively make your point without swearing is ridiculous. To suggest there are people who won’t feel welcome unless you cuss is not only also ridiculous, it doesn’t take into consideration those who (while they may even use the language themselves) may lose all respect for the content of what you say because you violated their expectations. The bottom line is that it takes a very long time before you know what people really think of you, and sometimes we are surprised, and not in a good way.

    And to suggest that it is advisable much less necessary to use crass language to assure that sinners feel welcome is simply silly. One need not use “cowpoke” in conversation with someone from Wyoming, “homey” when talking with a kid from the projects, or swear when talking with a sailor to make them comfortable.

    Anyone who says they must mimic the listener to “make them feel welcome” either doesn’t understand much about the psychology of interpersonal relationships or they lack confidence in their ability to connect, short of including certain expletives in the construction of their sentences. I would further suggest that it’s delusional to think that inclusion of the f-word in conversation or lyric is the difference between anyone coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    I mean seriously ask yourself why this is important to you. Does God inspire this perspective and the need to ‘win the argument’ about swearing, and that you must include swearing as a testimony of Christ making a difference in your life?

    Or does it come from elsewhere and your human nature grasps at a reason to justify holding onto some measure of worldliness? From some of your comments, I’ll take it that the POD album is merely a convenient vehicle to vent on a topic of larger significance to you. I have a hard time believing that you defend crass language as a tool to win the lost to Christ.

    My guess is that there have been plenty of people who have been able to explain it to you because rational explanations are not hard to come by. My suggestion however, is that you preclude any rational argument because you’ve already decided that no rational argument could exist. A reply of, “It’s just letters”, trumps everything, right?

    Your problem with that of course isn’t that it’s just letters. As a writer, I don’t have to tell you that letters form words, words have meaning, meaning generates thought, and thoughts lead to emotions which can be good, neutral, or ugly. And like it or not, we are all responsible for the emotions we can reasonably foresee might happen in others as a result of our words.

    But even amongst the vilest offenders of foul language, there is sheer hypocrisy. For instance, if someone calls your family member a vile name (let’s say even in jest like “hey you sure are a cute little mo********er”), do you defend that action to your family member and tell them they shouldn’t be hurt by that? After all, it’s just a combination of letters right? Their feelings are irrelevant and they should learn to get over it. Maybe it’s really a good thing if your girlfriend/wife and children are called vile names (in fun of course, you cute little b****). Let’s try to see the positive in it because the speaker is just being real. And who knows, maybe it will “catch your child’s ear” and make your child wonder what the other person is trying to portray. Maybe it will even open up a door of reality for your child to be exposed to that. Maybe your wife/girlfriend/mother should just get over being around crude people who make her uncomfortable. It’s her problem, not theirs, right? They’re just being real!

    Well of course not. You’d (I hope) defend your family member and have none of that nonsense. Let’s not get into the technical differences between hearing foul language vs. having it directed towards them in a non-cursing way. It’s a distinction without much of a difference so long as it isn’t being said in anger (and frankly, kids don’t even get that distinction), and the resulting negative feelings are about the same.

    I understand where you’re coming from. You obviously like a debate and enjoy the prospect of negotiating the minefield of semantics to make people think and question conventional thought. There’s no harm in that.

    The problem comes in when presume that being able to navigate that minefield or win on the technical construction of the forensic argument actually means you’re right in human terms. In more cases than not, it does not. Next time you win an argument strictly on technical grounds with a lady you love, look into her eyes and ask yourself if you really won. It’s not about the argument. It’s about people.

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Dahny,

      Thanks for the comments.

      You said, “I’m wondering if you can dare to turn it around and ask yourself why you feel the need to defend what is considered by most to be at least crass, and by many to be unnecessarily hostile and vile, even if they are not Christians and swear heavily.”

      I give you that there is part of me which wants to see this discussion move forward because I am tired of seeing the reaction against Christians (including myself) who might use a particular word to convey a point. I tried to place this in the context of the reaction against this band as now being “sold out” or “sinful” or “un Christian” and against the recent removal of The Blind Side from Christian bookstores. I don’t think that it’s appropriate for Christians to sit back and say ‘Well, so I don’t offend anyone I will be quite.’ My point here is to say that you can’t toss out the baby with the bathwater and you can’t pretend that Christianity is a bubble. You have characterized swearing as a “measure of worldliness.” But may I ask why you feel it is this way?

      “To suggest that you can’t effectively make your point without swearing is ridiculous. ”

      Never wanted to make that point. But the words do convey points and points of emphasis which grab attention at dire things. I recently heard a Christian speaker ask the congregation “What the hell are we doing?” Now, some would automatically respond that he’s not worth listening to anymore. But I, and many others, had to ask what reason he had in using that word? The point would have been conveyed with “heck” but the use of “hell” made us ask what the level of intensity was that he was speaking from. Maybe the intensity of the word correlates with the intensity of the situation in question.

      For the record, I am not suggesting that we should all swear. What I am suggesting is that we stop stigmatizing it and saying “Christians just don’t do that.” If this speaker chose to not use that word, then fine. But if he did, then equally fine. But we cannot determine that something or someone within the Christian camp is not worth our time anymore because they used a word we don’t like. To do so would to rid ourselves of a great number of Christians, highly regarded theologians like Hauwerwas, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis, and even St. Paul and it would set us against the world in such a petty way.

      You said, “Your problem with that of course isn’t that it’s just letters. As a writer, I don’t have to tell you that letters form words, words have meaning, meaning generates thought, and thoughts lead to emotions which can be good, neutral, or ugly. And like it or not, we are all responsible for the emotions we can reasonably foresee might happen in others as a result of our words.”

      True. But negative emotions are not sinful. Offending others is not sinful. The idea that Christianity should be a happy go-lucky religion in which everybody talks about the great things of life instead of focusing on pain, death, sin, depression, hatred, anger, etc. is completely out of touch with the Gospel. The point of this song (or the Blind Side) is that it touches on the real world and tries to convey the emotional and spiritual difficulties inside of it. For this band, they were trying to convey, not for the old lady who would never buy the CD anyway, but for both contemporary Christians and non-Christians, the difficulty of being wrapped up in an identity and being called to surrender that to Christ. That might involve a swear word…so what? I’m sure that it doesn’t do anything to say whether the song is worth our time or the message is now null. Indeed, I can say this as somebody who has always been somewhat of a skeptic (it’s my nature) and who has many friends who are non-Christians. My generation is looking for people who share in the struggles and lowpoints of life. This one song has the ability to say “we can relate” to a generation which often feels like Christians cannot relate.

      I just listened to Brian Welch (formerly from Korn) make this point to an entire group of Christian youth at Icthus. Some were upset because he used some swear words in his book. But the fact is, though some may be a little upset at this, there have been thousands who have picked up his book asking why this tattooed crazy looking man found something better than Korn. If the swear words are going to determine whether it’s worth your time or not, you’re not really interested in a Christianity which intersects with this world. You’re interested in a Christianity which is docetic. Yes, we are not supposed to be of this world, but we are supposed to be in it.

      You said, “For instance, if someone calls your family member a vile name (let’s say even in jest like “hey you sure are a cute little mo********er”), do you defend that action to your family member and tell them they shouldn’t be hurt by that? ”

      Well that would be a curse. I made the distinction between swearing and cursing above. In this case you’re making a remark about someone’s identity and value. But there is a major difference between saying “F*** you” and “damn” when you stub your toe.

      And on your last point, agreed. It’s about winning people. But my point stands here as well. You mentioned above that we’re not supposed to offend others. I disagree with this. And I think that unless the Church is able to fluctuate on many issues we will only succeed in the maintenance of our own presuppositions while rejecting the rest of the world. I recently had an individual tell me that getting tattoos is not wrong in and of itself but that since it offends other people than it is wrong. Really? This seems very “other-worldly” to me. Can you imagine the Church growing and attracting the outside world when it insists that we have no right to do things that offend other Christians: Christians don’t swear, Christians don’t get tattoos, Christians don’t drink, Christians don’t have piercings, Christians don’t watch PG-13 movies, Christians don’t listen to secular music, Christians need to dress a certain way for Church (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people remark about the way a poor person dressed in church), Christians don’t believe in evolution, Christians don’t vote Democrat, etc. We will absolutely lose the world over issues which are really, at their core, non-issues.

      The question is, ultimately, how we live. People are making a big deal about this song without recognizing that Sonny, Brian Welch, and Lacey Mosely (three singers from three Christian bands that are popular today in secular culture) formed an organization for abused and hurting youth all around the country. This song grew out of that and while certain Christians are making a big deal about the inclusion of a swear word into the song, they are getting the chance to get in front of drug addicts, those who are sexually abused, murderers, thieves, rapists, and so on to share the gospel of redemption.

      It seems to me that their lives and actions here will outlive and outspeak this single word.

  • http://www.ironstrikes.com drwayman

    Thanks for your accurate understanding and reflection of P.O.D. I wrote about the F word controversy in my blog as well:

    http://www.ironstrikes.com/2/post/2012/07/murdered-love-pod-uses-the-f-word.html

  • http://montos85.deviantart.com/ Montos

    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU TO WATCH THIS SMALL VIDEO, IT SHOULD BE VERY WIDE OPENING:

  • Maim

    Jesus’ judged some Pharisees and called them, “You brood of vipers!” He called them sons of snakes. That sounds worse to me than being called a son of a dog.

    You don’t need the F-word or any “swear” words to use the appropriate language involved in calling someone out, but I guess as long as somebody calls a legalistic Pharisee a son of a dog without using that other word, it’s okay? Somehow I doubt that.

    While words do make an impact, I want to judge someone by their overall life style. “By their fruit you will recognize them.” I know godly people who don’t hesitate to use phrases like “What the Hell” or maybe something more severe.

    Christians shouldn’t whip out the let’s-be-culturally-relevant-and-allow-tattoos-piercings-secular-music argument. That reeks of compromise. No, they should want to do these things in and of themselves as gifts of God. I didn’t pierce my ears because I wanted to fit in with my secular friends and teach them Christ. I did it because they’re gifts of God (which may lead into that whole other discussion about piercings and idolatry and such, but you get the point). Drink alcohol not because you want to fit in and appeal to non-Christians; do it because it’s a gift from God in and of itself, and all that other stuff will come naturally.

    A “secular” artist swears in lyrics in what may be beautiful music, but he can only make that music because God has given him that gift, while I hear a ton of Contemporary Christian Music that possesses an unnatural, repulsive sheen that shows no heart. Which one reveals the majesty of God in natural revelation more? No, just cause you swear doesn’t mean your lyrics/music has heart, but I’d rather listen to the passionate lyricist who may drop an F bomb than a lot of CCM.

    I could go on and on but I’ll stop now. Thank you for this article. Others will see you as starting problems; I think you’re just exposing ones that have been around all this time.

  • NateDog018

    A band named Bride Dressed In Black recently stood up against what P.O.D. did in their song “I Am” They went as far as to make a song and in it proclaim that P.O.D. had made a mistake and this was going to cause a downfall in many young Christians. P.O.D.’s intentions were to reach the lost out in this world.. but in reality it may do that… but it will also hurt the saved. Why not SAVE the LOST and HELP the SAVED? P.O.D. could have not used the F*** word.. and they could have helped the lost and the saved both together without cause such a huge uproar. Bride Dressed In Black stands up against P.O.D. in this video… Bride is getting torn apart by followers of P.O.D. for doing this.. but in reality.. All BDIB is doing is trying to do is call out the wrong that they see in P.O.D.’s actions. BDIB personally loves the music and the band members. but they are taking a stand and going off of what God is leading them to do. (Please watch the video and view some of the comments on it)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJyW4h0rJb0

    If you read the comments then u can see that people are CUTTING THEM DOWN for this! They’re cussing BDIB out.. they are saying horrible things to them and about them. All because BDIB did something that God lead them to do. Now here’s the question… if Cussing isn’t bad… then why is it that in this video’s comments.. Cussing is the main thing that people are going to to cut down BDIB for their beliefs? Cussing is being used in a horrible way and it always has been.. Why are they being so mean? Jesus was persecuted for the things he preached. The same thing is happening to everyone who is standing up against P.O.D.’s “actions.”
    Every single cuss word has a meaning behind it that no person would ever mutter in a Church. If we claim to be a Christ follower than why would we cuss if we would know that it would offend others and cause them to stumble? Why would a Christian band put it in their Christian song if it would set a bad example for young Christians? Why would anyone do anything to hurt another person? It is all sin. And we are to call our brothers out on it. and still do it with love. P.O.D. has lain down an example on how to act as a Christian.. And now many young Christians are going to fall into these ways too.
    What is this world coming to? When are we all going to realize what is right and what is wrong? All there is to do is to stand up for what God is telling us to stand up for.. no matter who slanders us down for it. this young generation (which i am only 15 so that includes me too) is the future for this world. How our leaders speak, do, and preach is going to affect us in the years to come. P.O.D. We are the youth of the nation. out of all the good examples You give us to follow.. why did You have to give us this one bad one that will cause us to stumble? P.O.D. I am dissapointed. I love you guys.. you have done so much for us.. but now it is one against us. why does one word have to cause such bad things to happen? there is no way it is pure. but it is evil.

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Nate,

      Thanks for your comments. I watched the video and thought it was interesting. I scrolled through the comments as well. I didn’t find as many people cussing this band out as I originally expected, but I did find some of that. It’s unfortunate. But let me also point out that much of the way people have responded to P.O.D. on this issue is equally unfortunate. Even this band took a part of themselves and devoted it to criticizing and mocking P.O.D. not for who they were but for a word. Christian fans are now grouping them in with the devil, suggesting that they’ve gone the way of Hell. This, to me, is more of a curse than POD even did.

      Part of what I wanted to raise in this conversation is the question of whether “swear words” (to be distinguished from “cuss words”) are always inherently bad or, rather, if they, like most language, have particular useful contexts which make them appropriate.

      If there’s any such context, I would think that this was it. Sonny remarked that he was trying to be honest and fully express the frustrations and emotional issues which many of the “I Am”s expressed. I have spent a lot of time with people that have been hurt or ignored by the Church and, likewise, the world. When you run into the idea of true redemption–not the popular Sunday School version of it–it seems offensive, undeserving, confusing, and utterly unlike anything that we could think of. POD, in the person of the abuser or the rapist or the pervert or the cutter or many other things approaches the cross not as a story they heard at 7 years old but as the story of a cursed man who came to forgive what most people could never do. We’re not talking Jesus just forgiving a eight year old boy because he lied to his parents. We’re talking about Jesus forgiving the drug addict or Jesus forgiving the mother who has aborted child after child or the man who raped women or, indeed, Jesus forgiving a man like James Holmes.

      I am close with people who have been effected by major atrocities. This is way beyond anything that I could ever do. But imagine yourself in such a depraved mindset. You’ve realized what you’ve done and you regret it with every single ounce of your being. Have you ever been there? I’ve made some very stupid mistakes, but its another thing to completely hate yourself and know that nobody, absolutely nobody, could forgive you. And yet, the one who will, is God. And he doesn’t just forgive you, arbitrarily or easily. It takes his own death on a tree to do this: would not a swear word possibly be the only thing that comes to mind? Would it not be the only thing which might appropriately convey all of those confusions, resentments, frustrations, anger, sadness?

      I think POD was doing good here because they were being authentic. The honest truth is that they were not doing this to sell an album. They included the word because they didn’t feel like watering down the effect of the gospel on those that most needed it.

  • Maim

    Guess I’m sorta invested in this issue, because I’m posting another comment:

    When I went to see a secular rapper in concert, I had a great night. I met him after the show ended, and was lucky enough to read him a rap I wrote while waiting in line, telling him how much his music meant to me and how he inspired me. He had to conserve his voice so he couldn’t talk, but he took my piece of paper and wrote on it, “You’re the F-ing man. Keep grinding forever. [Signed]”

    I’ll never forget that, and you know what? He was being genuine and sincere in his appreciation for me as a fan, and he expressed that, using a swear word. It just wouldn’t be the same if he wrote, “You’re the freaking man.” I hang that proudly on my wall for anyone to see.

    My friends and I use these strong words in conversation, I won’t hide it, and it has no negative effect as some of you may have vilified it so. I try to live in love, and despite what you might think, I do believe it is possible to use these words in ways that have no negative, if not positive effect.

    Will I use it in church, to my good conservative brothers and sisters who would be shocked if they knew the things I say else where, or maybe somewhere like this blog? Of course not, I wouldn’t want to cause them to stumble. But if they ask if I do, then I’ll tell them.

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Maim,

      These are some good thoughts! I feel like you took the words right out of my mouth about this!!

  • James

    While I don’t AGREE with the use of the F word in the song, I do understand the emotion they were trying to convey. I also understand what you’re trying to say in your article. What I find funny and REALLY disappointing is that “Christians” got hung up on the F-bomb, but they seem OK with the terms whore and slut. WOW!!! Really??? I’m not condemning P.O.D. for using the words, because they fit the persona of the song, they describe us for what we are, vile and disgusting before the cleansing blood of Christ, just saying they’re words that I’d pop my kids’ mouth for saying. It just floors me that words that are meant to describe a human being in a demeaning and demoralizing way are OK to “Christians”, but a word that is used to strictly emphasize a point is condemned.

    A commenter said, “Why not SAVE the LOST and HELP the SAVED?”. I’m not attacking this commenter, I just want to say that Jesus “left the 99 to save the one”; He came for the sick, not the healthy. There is PLENTY of music out there that is meant to be uplifting to a “Christian” and they get played all day, everyday on the local “Christian” stations and are deemed “safe”. However, P.O.D. is not trying to reach the SAVED, they’re trying to reach the LOST. Jesus didn’t pull the drunks and prostitutes out of their surroundings to teach them, He went INTO their surroundings, He came to them. P.O.D. in a sense is doing just that, they are going “INTO” the world to reach the lost by trying to identify with where they are in their life.

    Again, I’ll state that I don’t AGREE with the use of the F word, but I understand their purpose for using it. I would like to believe that they prayed about it extensively before deciding on that word. I’ll still like P.O.D. and I’ll still listen to their music. Jesus wasn’t conventional in His approach to people and we shouldn’t be either.

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      James,

      It’s refreshing to hear this perspective from somebody who, as you said, doesn’t agree with the use of it. I think often times we as Christians suggest that if we don’t agree with something we should equally be unable of sympathizing with things. There are a lot of things I disagree with, but often certain issues which are highly emotionally loaded carry with them a certain level of understanding which must be recognized. Pain and suffering should bring most of us to our knees in humility even when we disagree with a certain behavior.

  • Frankie

    Based on this issue alone, i see we have a hell of a long time before we Christians can go outside the box to reach to the lost w/o having a national dilemma and a question of our faith.

    As a Christian myself, I happen to have an issue with cursing (unless it has some type of justification such as a heated argument or a passionate song), however, once i learned about this and read the lyrics myself to make sure it wasn’t a hoax…i was chill about it. Honestly i was a bit thrown off, but i get their purpose and excuse it.

    Call me a hypocrite and i’m fine with it, since i’m a sinner by nature, but its not the word I’m excused with, but its the context the word WAS USED is why i find some justification for it. I’ve been someone that honestly have that small list of songs that swears out, so this song wouldn’t make much of a difference to me. But like i said, its the context it was in. i had a few conversations with people based on this alone and all of the people i’ve spoken about this agrees that it isn’t a song that we sit down and blast it for enjoyment, but its to sit down and realize where the hell we are living in. we’re not living in a perfect world, ladies and gentlemen; we’re living in a world that has its cracks, stab wounds, broken hearts, scarred souls, and the occasional hypocritical person faking the inside for the attention, acceptance, and amusement of others.

    I agree with the guy that met a rapper and was praised for his work. It doesn’t feel the same when someone suppresses a word to not “offend” me. Ive had close friends of mine use some profanity when trying to compliment me on my music, and the fact that they were honest about it brings me joy.

    As for the issue of offending people…look at our doctrine. We believe in one God that was born of a virgin, was murdered on a tree in front of thousands, and came back to life…even though people to this day try to either suppress/renounce all belief of it. We believe in a God that even though He is loving and gracious (Eph. 2:8-9; John 3:16), all those that haven’t been repented, saved and have been changed internally by Jesus Christ will be sent to Hell. Our theology ALONE offends people, yet people are still willing to look beyond the “offensive” nature and say “I’m f**ked up, and i need Jesus in my life.”, and i’m only using what someone for sure said when they decided to live for Christ.

    All in all, the song wasn’t meant for us to blast, but to let it cross our minds and realize we are surrounded by a hurt world needing redemption. Boycotts will occur because musicians for Christ went to prove that we need to ditch the “safe” lifestyle and be real and not water down the Gospel…but take it as it is and reveal it to people IN LOVE. Not hate, but in love.

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Some good thoughts here!!

      Some people have suggested that Christians should refrain from offending other Christians and that when we do so we are committing sin. I believe this is extremely mistaken as your own post makes clear.

      Honesty is offensive; the real world is offensive; and as you said, the cross itself is offensive. As Paul said, we are not trying to please men, but God.

  • http://ReasonForContrast.com Jesse

    I give you props for this man. When I listened to the record and heard the bomb drop I took a double take. Quite honestly the content and message of the song is more intense and shocking than the bomb in my opinion! From my opinion, as a musical artist who writes heavy hard hitting music, I see this as artistic license used in the correct way. If you look at the entirety of the song, and of the record, and all the record’s P.O.D.’s done, this does come as a surprise but P.O.D.’s all about being real. Sonny could’ve gotten away with not dropping it, but he wanted to have that impact.

    A lot of what I see critics doing is hyperfocusing on this one chorus and ignoring the entire picture. That’s like when someone pulls out the Bible and read Deuteronomy 21:18-21 and say “Well I gotta stone my rebellious kid now.” Context, that’s not what the Bible is about!

    I will say that if some other band besides P.O.D. said this, that hasn’t been doing this 20 years, with the kind of intention they had, I probably would’ve lost some respect. I will probably never speak or sing with any kind of language from my mouth, because I don’t have the kind of integrity or character Sonny does, he comes from the streets and I’m a white kid from the burbs. Thank you for writing this up bro, it’s been encouraging to see people be talking about this kind of stuff. We’ve got people following the Christian rules too much and not living it out enough.

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Thanks man!! I love what you said. Good to hear other musicians backing it up based on this band’s integrity.

      I think it’s extremely important to realize what Sonny said about his own faith in conjunction with this. Before meeting these “I Am’s” from the streets, his faith was struggling and becoming fairly shallow and numb. This song seems to me to come out of deep conviction, a conviction which recognizes the effect the gospel has on those who are confronted it’s demand on their lifestyles and habits.

  • Shaun Capps

    Interesting blog with an issue that will be addressed more and more in the future, but it’s great to break bread about it. God’s Spirit inside of me challenges me to lean towards the “not causing confusion” side of this conversation. But, at the same time, knowing that most of the Christians that criticize the band for cursing, are themselves doing things that would not be considered holy. The saying goes “people get mad at others when they sin differently than they do.” Why do I say sin? The answer is I’m really not sure. I don’t really know why the word is bad, or other curse words for that matter. Why did you write it as “f***” in the article? Is it because you wanted to be respectful, or because it would have felt really bad to spell it out? These are the questions to answer. Paul said all things are available to me, but not all things are beneficial. As a long time fan of the band, am I upset and not going to listen anymore? Not hardly. However, I still feel like believers can reach non believers without compromising. Just represent the Gospel with style like POD has done for all these years. I personally think that “curse words” fall into the foul communication, and if out of the abundance of the heart does the mouth speak, then I want to bless with words. Regardless of our definition of “curse” words, I think it is the duty of a believing Christian to not speak things that can confuse. BUT…I’ll end this by saying i appreciate the band and their ability to love people through their music, and understand that they have reached people that most religious folk never could. I’m thankful for that, and I still support these guys, I just personally wish they would not have done it. Peace

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Hey Shaun,

      I didn’t spell the word out for two reasons: 1) I wanted to issue respect for those who don’t see things my way and would continue to read on without feeling blasted by the word so early on (equally, POD waited till their last song, not their first to use it); 2) I wanted to ensure that the topic was not focused on an excuse to swear but, rather, asking the question of whether POD (or others) have legitimate places and contexts for using swear words…ever. Namely, in this case, in the persona of somebody who find’s their sinful habits confronted with the cross.

  • clarissa

    this was a truc story really love it

  • Mark

    Awesome blog and article! P.O.D. used the F word to help hurting people and any Christians that are offended: don’t listen. Easy as that. What’s worse, Christians being offended by a word they hear all the time, or a soul going to hell? I think you can guess. The band that is mocking P.O.D. in their video obviously isn’t of God if they’re mocking a band that stands up for their faith. I’m proud to see all of the comments against them. They need to wake up and realize that mocking P.O.D. is something they should not do.

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Hey Mark,

      Thanks for the compliments!

      I disagree with the band that chose to mock POD but I think SouthTown fans should be careful of lashing out against them in equally non-Christian ways.

      Our Christian sub-culture has succeeded in legalizing much of Christianity into a system of shalls and shalt nots. Much of the negative response much of POD has gotten on this issue, then, is simply something which has grown out of a culture still somewhat stuck within that. For example, I grew up in the South and went to a Baptist school where we were told that Jesus drank grape juice, not alcohol. Well, that’s false. It was alcohol. But I understand why so many adopted such a scewed position: 1) Because of the subculture of American Christianity, especially coming out of the prohibition days; 2) Because there have been people that have abused it.

      It seems to me that much of the negative feedback POD is getting on this is within the same vein. Those beliefs of inherent wrongness of language (that is, that certain words are just wrong because they’re just wrong) needs to be challenged at their core philosophical level.

      • Stan

        The Whosoever, are an amazing group of guys. The use of the word in context while harsh, is real. That IS what people say. If the song doesn’t make you weep for the lost and reflect on your own need for the cross then you miss the point.

        In addition, I guess that no one on this blog goes to anything but G movies? You have, because you can put it in context.

  • kevin

    lets remember we accepted the last time they swore in a song nobody seemed to care and became one of their biggest hits check the lyrics of “Boom” so i am glad that you point out how so many so called Christians are still Hippocrates … i am glad to see you point out how me got to lets artists express themselves and get the message out

  • Tim

    Most people complaining grew up in church all their lives completely disconected to the real world around them and don’t even know how to begin to relate to the people around them to try and reach out to them.

    P.O.D on the other hand grew up in the middle of gang infested neighbourhoods with their parents selling drugs and gangbangers coming into their homes when they were kids threatening their parents in front of them with guns.
    It was Wuv’s dad I believe(Sonny’s Uncle) that after all that got saved and cleaned up his life. Sonny saw the change and decided to follow suit and P.O.D was birthed out of that. Wuv’s dad then started Rescue Records so that P.O.D. could get their music out.

    I say this to point out that P.O.D. doesn’t have to use a swear word to “try” and be real or relate to a hurting world, they are real, they do relate and so this comes out of those real experiences. THey aren’t some good born on the front pew christians trying to sound cool to the world. If Michael W. Smith started throwing in F shots in his songs that would be a different story to me.

    Secondly people are missing the point of the song. It’s not him using the word for the sake of sounding cool. It’s him singing as if he is one of the kids that are hurting crying out to God, maybe for the first time in their lives. So it may not be a nice cookie cutter good Christian prayer. It may be raw and honest but sincere. But it in my opinion best represents the kids he’s talking about and reaching out to.

    I think that the F word prob doesn’t even phase Sonny. He’s prob heard it so much that it just doesn’t matter and it shouldn’t. It’s not a salvation issue. Now I don’t go around using it myself but I’m smart enough to realize context.

    Sonny and Other Christians in the music industry have commited their lives to reaching out to a hurting world that the church for the most part is ignoring. They are in the trenches every day and night not just getting on stage and perfoming then going back to their bus, but hanging out with these kids for hours afterwards listening to their stories and praying for them and just simply being someone who cares.
    In my opinion that means that we as fellow christians should instead of arguing and tearing them down over trivial things like a swear word should instead be lifting them up in prayer and asking for protection over them as they actually go out and be Jesus to these kids.
    That’s my two cents, but if you want to know more about what they are doing and you can listen to some solid archived preaching as well, go to http://www.thewhosoevers.com

    I thank God for people like Sonny who know from personal experience what these kids are going through and therefore can reach out to them way more effectively than most of us including myself could ever dream of. The kids are listening as well and they are being forever impacted for the kingdom.

    Are you spending your time debating? Or are you Impacting the world around you the way God has equipped YOU to?
    I too have to stop and ask myself that question daily.
    So let’s stop the bickering and start building each other up and covering our fellow christians in prayer instead and let God do the judging in the end.

  • Tim

    Kevin, they didn’t swear in BOOM.

    I think your referring to him saying ” I never knew that a kid like me
    Could take his mic around the world and flash the big S.D.
    And rock the masses, from Madrid to Calabassas
    Tijuana, Mexico, bootleg demos in Tokyo ”

    It sounds like something else but it’s not. S.D standing for San Diego

    • kevin

      ok my mistake i took flash for something else

  • http://christopherbattles.net Christopher Battles

    Good article. Thank you.

    K, bye

  • Ryan Hammond

    I am not going to judge the bands actions, God looks and knows their hearts. My disappoint it is how they’ve portrayed Christians to a secular world. Ephesians 4:29 says: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…” I think by dropping the f-bomb its just letting down the standards we should have as Christians. I get mad, I cuss sometimes, but I didn’t record it and put it out to the world.

    • Eric Harmon

      I agree Ryan. We can’t judge their actions because it’s not our place. God will judge them if He feels it wasn’t right for them to use the fword in their song.

  • Hannah

    Ephesians 4:29

    Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

    Colossians 3:8

    But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

    James 5:12

    But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

    Proverbs 13:3

    Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

    Exodus 20:7

    “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

    James 3:10

    From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

    Matthew 5:33-37

    “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

    2 Timothy 2:16

    But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,

    Matthew 5:37

    Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

    Galatians 5:19-21

    Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Hebrews 4:12

    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    The Bible is the living word of God. To know who God is, go to it. If you’re a “Follower of Christ” you will have His beliefs, cares, and be offended by what offends Him. I am offended. I heard someone say that as Christians we’re supposed to be offensive. We’re not to go out of our way to be offensive, the fact is that our following of Christ is offensive to the world because John 3:20 “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” Saying the ‘f’ word is not offensive to the world. You’re like the world. Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Hannah,

      Can I inquire whether you actually read the post?

      • Lane

        Can I inquire whether or not you actually read Hannah’s or should we say the Bible’s reply to your post?

        • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

          Well Lane, I did. I understand the biblical references and her post represented the generic response to the “swearing question.”

          Scripture I think is very important, but we cannot presume that when Paul or James or Jesus spoke/wrote what Hannah wrote above that they had in mind the English language system. Beyond this, the question is whether they had certain ‘vulgar’ terms in mind anyways. But this view, of course, doesn’t make sense in historical context (indeed, the Bible itself uses words or phrases equal to vulgar English counterparts), its Jewish background, or the theological considerations. Quoting a bunch of Bible verses just doesn’t say “There! Closed Case” when those verses are not directed towards the sort of thing that we’re talking about (and no commentary or interpretive tradition would suggest this view). As a reminder, what we’re talking about is whether the use of a word as it is is wrong and immoral. Is it always wrong to say f*** or s*** or, you name it (btw, I’m starring these words for the sake of driving the conversation forwards and not creating upfront offense). Did P.O.D. in this album make a sinful mistake by saying a word or–rather–is the question more appropriately what the intention behind ANY word is?

          What the NT authors were concerned with was not the creation of a new list of “do’s and dont’s” but intention and desire and will and whether your words reflected truth and holiness. And it cannot be presumed at the outset, as Hannah did, that “swear” words were automatically in the set of unholy things. They can be used appropriately and in timely manners as much as any word. Can they be used immorally? Of course, but so can many words in the English language. But I think, here, POD upheld a moral use of the word by their intentions to convey truth.

          • Lane

            What language system do you think they had in mind? Are you saying that the Bible should only pertain to those who speak and read Hebrew and Greek? Scripture is more than just very important…it’s vital to how we live our lives. “It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”. (Hebrews 4:12). The verses Hannah quoted are very clear and yes, they pertain to us that speak English. Pray and ask God if they should pertain to you and they go back and read all of them… very slowly.

  • Reagan Coates

    Gosh, you guys arguing against this are ridiculous. I’m a Southern Baptist Christian taking Christ forreal and living for Him everyday, I read my Bible, keep a prayer journal, plan in a praise band. I try to honor Him with all my life and I haven’t sworn in years. But, still,this song is great and perfectly portrays what it tries to. Why hate a song that cusses? You would watch a movie that cusses. Get your priorities straight. Who cares? They are Christians. So stop being so prude.

    • Lane

      First of all, lets define the word Christian. Webster-Merriam defines it as someone who believes in the the teachings of Jesus Christ. So, by that definition, even satan is a Christian. Almost everyone who’s not a Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or atheist, calls themselves a Christian. Saying that you are a Christian, or that you play in a Christian band, is not a ticket into Heaven. In fact, there are a lot of Christians in Hell right now, and many on the way. The right word for a true follower of Christ is…a disciple of Christ.
      I have played in several Christian rock bands, and I can tell you right now, the same stuff that’s going on in the the secular groups, is going on in some of the Christian bands. Booze, drugs, sex and partying, right along side of the secular bands. And no one loves to see it more, than their secular counterparts.
      Matt. 7:21-23 says. Many will say “Lord, Lord, but I will say to you, depart from Me, I never knew you.”
      Don’t be fooled by the word “Christian.” How you live, and what comes out of your heart and your mouth, will determine who is a true follower or Christ. Matt. 7:16.

      • Sheph

        I do get your point. While I’m sure it’s true (anyone can call themselves a Christian it doesn’t necessarily make it so), I’m not sure that I’d paint POD with that broad brush you’ve got there. If they’re not walking a Christ like lifestyle I certainly haven’t seen evidence of that, and usually someone who parties excessively is not going to be able to hide it. You think the Christian community is up in arms over this? Imagine what they’d do if one of the members had a DUI, or got caught up in some kind of other scandal. This is a band who’s in the habit of going out into the streets and snatching kids out of the fires of hell. It’s a rather ugly business. Hang out at an NA meeting sometime. You’ll meet kids who are under 16 with many of the problems he’s talking about in that song. How do suppose those kids talk? And that’s the perspective that he’s trying to convey. I don’t like that word. I try very hard to refrain from using any curse words because I’m saved, and because it tarnishes my witness. But I can certainly withstand hearing it from someone in the course of trying to witness to someone because I know I was there at one time.

        It’s pretty apparent to me (from listening to the words) that that what they were trying to do is save and seek the lost. Letting them know that there is hope for someone who finds themselves in that place. In the final lines of the song he’s makes it clear that “old things pass away and all becomes new”. The Bible also says that by a man’s fruit shall he be known. Take a moment to look at the fruit before surmising that they are not Christians (I know you didn’t say that directly, but it seems like that’s what you think based on the tone of your post.)

  • Allie

    I’m disappointed in the use of the F-word for the simple fact that many teens listening to a Christian band cuss would believe that it is “Christian” to cuss at times, which it never is, honestly.

    But at the same time, I appreciate your argument and it makes a lot of sense to me. Given the personification of the singer as the sinner, and the reality of where the teens are that hear this song – that phrase will hit home and strike hard. It’s not so much about the word, but the intents behind the words (many people who don’t cuss are more cruel with their words consistently).

    My only concern is, will this cause their target audience to use the song as an excuse to cuss after coming to Christ, without any discipleship from any other source?

  • http://endzone2.weebly.com Craig C

    A true story about the band P.O.D. in Las Vegas.

    I’m going to tell you a story about P.O.D. I was living and working in Seattle between July/2006 & December/2006. I picked up this very cute hooker working on Pacific Highway South around 240th street which is also called Kent-Des Moines Road. This was right near the Burger King & Pizza Hut on the SW side of the intersection. We went back to my hotel. She was 20 years old, and very cute. Let’s forget about my history and my struggles for a moment because I don’t feel like getting into it. To make a long story short, I asked her what the most money she ever made in one night was. She said this band in Las Vegas picked up her and another girl, and they split $60,000. She said they had a safe in the room with stacks of money in it. I asked her what the name of the band was, and she said, “Some band named POD”.

    I said, “P.O.D., they’re suppossed to be a Christian band”.

    She said, “We were just lucky”.

    I then asked her what she did with the $30,000, and she said she bought a car with it, but that she had to get it changed into a check first because people would be suspicious of how she got the money if she didn’t. She knew some people in Las Vegas that could do that for her.

    If you don’t believe the story, would you pray about it, and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about it–whether it is true or not. It is a true story, and I do not believe this band is a Christian band. And certainly my behavior was not at all consistent with living the Christian life. This became an addiction to me that caused a lot of damage and pain in my life. Thanks.

  • teddy norris

    Lets talk about this. First, POD does not call themself a christian band. They are a group a guys that are christians, that try to help listeners in need of help thru their beliefs. I to have been listining to their music since snuff the punk days. They dont make music for christians, they make music for the non believersand lost people in this world. Their music was a big part of why I AM born again believr. For some people to judge one by a word is just as unholy as the one saying it. Remember jesus was crucified because of his words but ask yourself this HOW MANY PEOPLE DID IT HELP FIND TRUTH AND SALVATION? So i ask for alot you people not to judge them by one word. Believe it or not they are helping people one day at a time.

  • Daniel

    First off, fascinating article. Second, what constitutes a word being a cuss or swear word? Is there a universal set of guidelines that determines what words are ok to say, because there are many words not considered “swear” words that are often more offensive than these ones that society has deemed profane. In addition, different people of different backgrounds are often raised with certain words being “bad words” that aren’t actually “swear words”. For example, I was raised being taught that words like “crap”, “heck”, “hell”, and “ass” (to name a few) were terrible. I’ve met people that believe the noun “fool” is evil. And that is said many times in the Bible. If “swear words” are words that are crude or vulgar, then we should strike many more words than just the ones commonly believed as profane from our vocabulary. Am I defending swearing? No, not really, though I believe the usage in the context of the song was definitely appropriate. I personally can’t think of any substitutes for it that would still convey the sincerity and desperation that I felt in the song. And, also as someone said, people are picking out that one word, although there are plenty of other words in the song that could fall under the “vulgar” or “swear word” category. Could this be evidence of double standards in the church as to what’s acceptable? I find this a definite issue, far more prevalent and bothersome than somebody simply dropping the F-bomb.

    • Sheph

      I agree with a lot of what you said – I just wanted to point out that there is a Biblical reason why people see fool as a word to be used cautiously.

      A.(Matthew 5:22) – “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

      In other words, it should not be used casually in anger.

      I was also struck by the article over at Jesusfreakhideout and the over emphasis on that one word, while completely glossing over a number of other descriptive words like whore, and faggot. I often wonder if some of these folks protesting so much have ever actually read the Bible. With numerous recounts of things like murder, rape, incest, adultery, torture, drunkenness, divination, sourcery etc. How is it that these same people ever managed to make it through God’s own Word?

  • John Swhc Vito

    I met pod earlier, I work for a Christian radio station and I asked him Why did he use it and did he think it was appropriate, when my show has aired I will put a link and you can hear “his views” on why he thought it was important to be said

  • Ryan

    While I don’t condone casual swearing it is society that tells you what swear words are. Content and context. What are the words being used for? I saw someone use positive comments with a ridiculous pairing of swear words. First of all I don’t know anyone who talks to a child like that, second I have had some friends call my kids “cute little f****ers”. That doesn’t offend me. Why should it? I find it some what funny actually, depending on the tone. It’s a word that someone used in a manner to curse someone or attached it to something that society may view as bad or wrong. I could make up a word or a phrasing of words to mean something “bad”, so are you know longer allowed to use that word or phrasing without implying this horrible act? To over analyze the English language and meaning of a word is ridiculous. As has been stated it is about the content and context in which it is used. Take a step back and look at the usage and why; don’t just hear the word and snap to judgment, self righteousness, and thinking that you are all knowing about what word usage and vocabulary are bad.

    • Ian Rayner

      “Fuckers” is actually really disrespectful. It devalues human life. Seriously it does. I used to say that crap, back when I was a really negative person.
      Don’t fall to what society wants you to believe.

  • Ariana

    This was a very interesting article about a topic that has been on my mind for a very long time, because like a few other people on here, I’m one of those Christians that doesn’t necessarily believe its a sin to cuss. For me, I go by my own conscience and what God convicts me of, usually, words like shit or damn in certain situations don’t bother me, but words like bitch the f bomb do, because of the negative meaning behind the words. The f bomb now means to have sex, and in my opinion is an extremely vulgar term for having sex at that. I don’t like the word bitch because I think its an extremely disrespectful way of referring to a woman. However, shit doesn’t really bother me, because I use it the same way as I would the word crap, with the same inflection, and damn, like dang. It’s always bothered me that Christians are perfectly fine with using words like ‘dang’ but not damn, crap but not shit, harlot but not whore. They mean the same things and have the same inflection behind them, but for some reasons, the euphemisms are more socially acceptable, so Christians feel okay about using them.

    And as far as words being sinful–anything said with a hateful or bitter intention behind it might as well be cussing. I know the Bible says let no filthy language come out of your mouth–but it doesn’t say, let no filthy four letter words come out of your mouth, as if cuss words are the only words that could be filthy. Words used to cut someone down and criticize them, words used to demean someone, and words said in anger to prove your point right in a blog or youtube comment are also completely filthy. So I think the important thing is being aware of your own conscience and what God is trying to tell you. If God one day convicts me about saying shit, I’ll stop saying it. I’m assuming P.O.D. wouldn’t include something as dramatic as the f bomb in their song without clearing it with God first–and if their consciences are clean before God I don’t really think we should say anything about it, because it’s not our place to judge the personal convictions of our brothers.

  • Pastor Beau

    So many people in the Church do not engage the world so I can understand why it is tough for them to hear the word on the album. I suggest they go into the streets of any city and share Christ with those the song portrays. They will better understand the perspective to which the song was written, and then be able to share that perspective with there son or daughter who listens to POD. So many Christian parents are so afraid of a this kind of interaction with there teens, weather on this topic of simply teaching them how to defend humanistic ideas in academia. So what does the Christian do when confronted by the culture today? Unfortunately we abstain from it, instead of engage it with love and wisdom. I love Jesus. How engaged he was. He spoke to women (ALONE)! He talked with tax collectors, he said the whores and tax collectors will enter the kingdom before the religious peeps. Ouch! But I love Jesus because he engaged me, where I was at in the San Fernando Valley back in 1990. He came into my world…He’s not afraid to do such acts! He’s good at it. I pray we would be too.

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Pastor Beau,

      Some great words here. I think you are correct, that our default response is to abstain from it. This should not be the case.

    • Ian Rayner

      But will everyone know that this is based on a perspective other than Sonny’s? No, which is why there is controversy.

  • Clinton

    I’m revisiting this article to show to my brother who just encountered this song for the first time, and this stuck out at me: “For one thing, no one has yet to explain to me how the combination of certain letters can make a mere vocal utterance immoral.”

    Are you saying that “you’re an idiot” is not an immoral thing to say? Or is it the meaning behind the phrase that makes it immoral? It seems to me that it’s the connotation of the word “f***”, for example, that makes it wrong. Paul told us to avoid hateful and coarse speech, so if our society has deemed that a word is profane, then it seems like Christians shouldn’t be saying it. At least that’s my take on it.

    • http://www.thebarainitiative.com rhardman

      Clinton,

      I am saying that it is the content behind the phrase or word that conveys the meaning. Cognitive linguistics emphasizes this fact. When I say, “What’s up?” for example, I am not asking a directional question and anybody who takes the question literally is obviously doing so intentionally as a joke (“The sky”). My question is very different than “What is that up there?” in which case no one would even conceive that the questions bear any resemblance in their internal meaning. So, words meanings change over time…For example, “breast” and “thigh” used to be an incredibly derogatory term (hence, “white meat and dark meat”, “bloody” is worse than our f-word in English in Britain (though we certainly don’t think of it that way in America) and Old English translations of the Bible use the past tense of our s-word “shat” in translations. The point is, there is no “moral wrongness” to any word in and of itself. But if we go so far as to suggest that society can deem the morality of a particular word, then we have given society the ability to create and judge what is moral and immoral–this is all cultural relativism. Secondly, however, society simply doesn’t think that our “swear words” are immoral…profane does not mean immoral.

  • Chris Heady

    I think we have to be careful what we decide is for the sake of the artistic medium. Nude art to me is offensive because as much as it about the beauty of the natural body, it is also enticing and a stumbling block. I have read the Bible and three texts always govern, even though I do fail sometimes, the words I choose to speak:

    Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

    Greek: “corrupting” translates the Greek word “σαπρός” which means 1. corrupt [adjective] bad, rotten, putrid (properly of vegetable or animal substances) or 2. bad, in the sense of putrid, rotten (from σήπω (sēpō 4595) to rot).

    If your language can be considered bad, rotten, putrid, or otherwise profane is it appropriate for Christian usage?

    Ephesians 5:4, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

    Greek: “filthiness” translates the Greek word “αἰσχρότης” which means filthiness deformity, ugliness. In NT metaphorically obscenity, whatever is offensive to Christian purity.

    “foolish” translates the Greek word “μωρολογία” which means “foolish talking”.

    “crude joking” translates the Greek “εὐτραπελία” which means “jesting”
    the behaviour of the εὐτράπελος (eutrapelos) (easily turning or changing, of apes and persons) wit, liveliness; in a bad sense, jesting, ribald, tricky, dishonest, time-serving.

    How does this verse address language or discussions?

    James 3:10, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

    Greek: “cursing” translates the Greek word “κατάρα” which means 1. “curse” [noun] imprecation against, hence, cursing, of men, accursed, of land, barren. 2. “cursing” imprecation, against. 3. “cursed”
    imprecation against, hence, cursing of men, accursed.
    This word is used of those suffering under a penalty or being punished for some kind of reason. Much like the idea of “cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree” (Gal 3:13 cf v. 10).

    How then does this passage mean we should conduct ourselves in our speech?

    How does this test/study show we should be have as image bearers of Christ and ones who are a Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, who is to be holy like our God is holy?

  • Chris Heady

    I think that the rhetoric of modern man to flex the grace of God has created an argument that words have no meaning when used as “sentence enhancers” (to quote a Spongebob episode). This I believe would require that we just stop using words because all words can be equally offensive or equally meaningless…