I use profanity. A lot. I’m not making up what I’m about to write. I was in a monthly clergy gathering talking about stewardship. What else, right? And I just blurted out (this is pre-resignation and pre-lithium) in pretty good earshot of everyone, including my then bishop who I think had brought up the subject. Go figure. I said something to the effect of, “You know, I didn’t go to seminary to learn how to run a fucking stewardship program.” Something along those lines. It surprised me that I said that. But I did mean it. It was close to the end of my professional church career as I recall. Nobody said anything in response to my statement.
I’ve always had a problem with profanity. I even wrote a blog about titled the Pedagogy of Profanity. Profanity has a way of communicating things in a way that the King’s English can’t get done. Had I become bishop, I would have really tried hard to be careful. I’ve gotten better with it, but, I can assure you, it would have come out. Then I’d have been up shit creek.
As a young person, exiting fundamentalism and considering the priesthood, I spent much time at Camp Galilee, Nevada’s Episcopal church camp on Lake Tahoe. The first week of my first year of being a camp counselor, the chaplain for the week tells me the following joke, prefacing it by saying that Bishop Wes Frensdorf, had first told him it.
A postal worker who had had the same route for many years announced his retirement to the customers he had served well. Hearing the news, a particular woman, a customer he grew fond of, invited him into her home where she prepared a lovely lunch for him. Following the meal, she took him upstairs and made passionate love to the mailman. Then, before he left her home to return to his route, she presented him with crisp dollar bill-never been folded. The mail carrier left the home somewhat puzzled.
A few weeks passed. The two continued to see each other on a daily basis, exchange mail pleasantries, but never spoke of the curious afternoon. Finally, on the last day of his route and career, the mailman approached the home of the woman, knocked upon her door, and handed her mail to her. He then managed to ask her about what had happened.
“Ma’am, I will have to say that our afternoon a few weeks back has puzzled me. You made me a lovely lunch, took me upstairs and made passionate love to me, then gave me a new dollar bill. I, am, he said, a little perplexed.”
The woman smiled,and told him just what he needed to know.
“Well, I asked my husband one morning” she said as she blushed, “What to do for your retirement. He simply told me, ‘Fuck him. Give him a dollar.’ The lunch was my idea.”