Mrs Gillian Carter has written to all the bishops of the Church of England to express her concern about the way in which our Lord’s name is used casually and carelessly in ways that Christians find both offensive and wounding.
Bishop John of Selby has asked that parishes should be made aware of her suggestions for Christians to make people stop and think, before they use these phrases:
- Do you use these phrases yourself? If you do, please try to stop! Think about your reasons for stopping because people may notice and ask you why you do not use them. This may make it easier for you to talk to others about their use of these phrases.
- If you hear someone close to you using these phrases, please ask them gently if they could use a different phrase. These conversations must always take place with consideration. We are not accusing people, we are just trying to change their behaviour.
- Anywhere where you meet others, this must be done even more carefully. What I do in this situation is say quietly to myself, 'God bless you', whenever I hear people using one of these phrases. Depending on your level of confidence, you can say this silently or out loud. You may initiate a conversation where you can talk about your Christian faith. Care must be taken in this case though. I once worked at a firm where I was taken aside by one of the Management Team and was told that talking about God at work was not acceptable. However, all members of staff were told not to use these phrases in front of me!
- When we hear these phrases on the television or on the radio we can write or e-mail the BBC or ITV, or other channels, if we think that they have been used unnecessarily. The BBC has replied to my complaints a number of times to say 'Our public service role requires us to reflect the world as it really is.' Perhaps, if these phrases become less used, they may no longer 'reflect the world as it really is' and the media may think about editing out these phrases.
Please do help me. Together, we as Christians can change the World!