Warning: considerable use of potentially offensive language in this post; also considerable Christianity.
My gripe? The only way of expressing what I want to express involves using a word it’s not polite to use. The boundaries between polite language and not are pretty blurred among university students it seems, but the general rule I use is that if I wouldn’t say it in front of my grandmother (the Fijian one, not the Scottish one) I probably shouldn’t say it at all.
Here’s the thing: I know perfectly well it’s inappropriate to use slang terms about God, whether incarnate or not. But if that’s the only word that sums up what you mean without going into three paragraphs of detail, I honestly think there’s an excuse.
And this one thing – okay one of many things – really annoys me: Christmas. Christmas annoys me, because it drags out one of my least-favorite unofficial heresies, the sickening one with nothing to support it and at which most people don’t bat an eyelid. I’m not sure what it’s called, but I can sum it up in lines from two different Christmas carols: ‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild’, and most of Once in Royal David’s City. Especially the second through fifth verses. That is the Jesus Christ of the Western Christmas – a cute, harmless, inoffensive baby-in-a-manger, hark the herald flipping angels sing sweetly and the damn’ sheep are being careful not to disturb ‘the little Lord Jesus’, and it annoys the socks off me.
Why? Because ‘meek and mild’ are not the words that come to mind when I think of Jesus Christ.
Meek people do not chase desecrators out of the Temple with whips, and overturn their tables.
Meek people do not draw crowds of thousands of people all hanging on their every word for an entire day.
Meek people do not stand up to the authorities, who can kick someone out of the entire society and leave them to die and burn in hell, for themselves, their friends, and that random woman who really needed it, all without ever pulling a weapon, by sheer personal brilliance and charisma.
Meek people do not inspire such love and confidence that hundreds and thousands of people will gladly die in their name, millenia after they were last seen on earth.
Meek people do not stop storms just by talking to them.
Meek people do not argue with the devil face to face and send him back where he came from with his tail between his legs.
Meek people do not harrow Hell itself and return to tell the tale.
(Meek people do, I gather, occasionally wear pink togas and long flowing blond hair and a soppy expression, but that’s beside the point just now.)
Jesus Christ was not, is not, and because he’s God I can be pretty sure never will be, ‘meek and mild’. And until he himself personally tells me the whole Incarnation was an act and he really is a milk-and-water sap in real life, I am going to argue against this stupid, stupid, blasphemous, defamatory OOCS every chance I get.
There is a word I really, really want to make it into polite language someday.
I wanna be allowed to say Jesus Christ is badass.
Now, I know that that’s what I mean, because I looked it up. The OED and the Collins are pretty well useless for modern words – either haven’t got the word or hold a definition completely different to popular usage – so I resorted to the reliable place for slang: the Urban Dictionary. And here’s their definition of badass, which lines up exactly with how I’ve heard the word actually used.
- First rule of being a badass. A badass does not talk about being a badass. Period.
- Second rule of being a badass, a badass does not try to be a badass or look tough. A badass simply is a badass.
- A badass stays true to themselves, always. This means being themselves for themselves, and not being fake to impress others.
- A badass does not give up. Badasses will always push themselves for the better, no matter how hard it gets.
- A badass is not a jerk. A badass does not prey on the weak, and shows kindness in return to those who are kind.
- A badass knows his/her limits. Don’t be stupid, you’re not Superman, you’ll die if you jump off a building.
- A badass does not unnecessarily make enemies or go looking for fights. They don’t do fights that aren’t worth fighting either.
Babies are boring. ‘Sweet little baby Jesus’ – why so popular? Because he’s safe. Because he’s a tame lion. Because he’s unchallenging. Because he won’t make you think, or demand anything of you.
Christmas is not the big deal. Christmas is ‘once upon a time’. The prelude. The cute, comfortable, familiar part of the story that everyone knows and nobody really cares about. The part you’re not supposed to pay huge attention to because it’s only the leadup to the real story.
Easter is the big deal. Easter is ‘and the good guys routed the bad guys and yelled to the hostages come with me, you’re free now‘.
The whole public holiday, spend time with your family thing, that’s cool, and in the North it makes sense, because it’s in winter when you need some cheering up anyway. But why does Christmas have to be the biggest event of the year, and why is ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ the main focus, and why above all can I not say Jesus is a badass, because it’s true?
Thanks for reading, if you did.
Sorry the language doesn’t support polite ways of saying what I mean.