Friday, March 14, 2014

What's Your Bene/Male Ratio?

Most of us were brought up not to "curse." When I was growing up, that cover a whole range of speech: scatology and other biological rudeness, sexual obscenity, blasphemy, and damning were included. My prim daughter has added the word "suck," when used as a term of disparagement ("this game sucks").

Today, of course, there's all kinds of abuses against polite language virtually everywhere. My family has been watching Jesus of Nazareth on DVD this Lent, and the 14-year-old cynic in me finds it hard not to parody this well-produced and lavish mini-series at crucial point, to turn small scenes into SNL-like sketches before my mind's eye. One of these has Joseph repeatedly injuring himself while doing his carpenter thing -- hitting his thumb with his mallet -- and loudly taking his Son's name in vain, along with the usual scatological and sexual references that some of us are prone to when in physical pain.

But maybe we look at this backwards. Instead obsessing about what we're doing too much of, perhaps there's something we're doing too little of. What's the opposite of a curse? A curse is a "malediction," literally from the Latin roots for "bad speech." "Good speech" would be "benediction" -- blessing. How much time do we spend in benediction, in blessing, in calling down the good on people that we meet, even things that we encounter? Mindfulness about more casual benedictions in everyday life seems like a decent part of my Lenten journey.

And I say, "God bless it!"
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