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Annie Turner

Annie Turner
Having a Conversation

Monday, February 10, 2014

CHRIST'S TOENAILS


This has a decidedly medieval tone to it, don't you think?  The Medievals lived in a world that was, in some ways, far more interesting than ours.  It was so vital, so carnal, and religion permeated society in ways we have forgotten.  You could take all parts of Christ's body and his Father in creative and inventive exclamations.  And if you think cursing and religion don't go together, consider these words of the inestimable G.K. Chesterton:  "Blasphemy itself could not survive religion; anyone doubts that let him try to blaspheme Odin." Here are some of my favorites:

--"God's wounds," which became S'wounds or later, Sounds!

--"God's blood," which got transmuted into "bloody hell" in modern Britain, a phrase that polite people still avoid.  I like it because it connects me intimately to our past.  Some scholars think that it was "by our lady" which morphed into "bloody."

--"God's toenails."  I may be making this up, but I don't think so.  If you're going to swear on parts of God's body, this could be a good one. I recommend using it with toddlers so they won't learn the more common and vulgar profanities of our age.

--"God's bones."  This brings up rather horrible yet sacred images of Jesus' bones being broken while he hung on the cross, but maybe that's not such a bad thing to be reminded of.  This would be a good swear for times in traffic when you are stuck behind a Mack truck or stopped in rush hour traffic.  Other people will be flipping the bird and shouting at their windshields, and you will be calling on the bones of our savior.

--"God's teeth" is another useful swear.  You can imagine situations when this would be appropriate, but I am reserving it for the dentist's chair when the doctor probes my mouth with sharp instruments, asking me about a recent holiday.  "God's teeth, woman!" I shall mumble with feeling.  "Cease asking."

I leave it to you to make up more creative swears based on God's incarnate body.  Feel free to include His wrists, arms, legs, hair, eyes, ears, whatever.  This may feel a bit sacrilegious at first, but I think it was one of the ways our ancestors wove Christ into their daily speech and everyday lives.  I like that.  I feel we've become too separated from God's presence in our lives, and these exclamations can keep us grounded in Who we come from and Who created us--with delight, mercy, patience, and I suspect, forgiveness for our occasional exclamations about His miraculous body.