“F*** that S***”

This week I watched a webinar organised by the Asian Theological Academy (ATA) and the Asian Forum of Theological Movements, titled ‘I Can’t Breathe: Why We Can’t Hear The Cries And What To Do About It?’

It talked about two Lutheran pastors who had led a lament on racial injustice using the words ‘F*** that S***’, thereby using the language that was around them as part of a service.

The discussion speaks to the outrage of the margins, and the discomfort and offense felt by those occupying the privilege of the centre space.

The final contribution goes as follows –

“Let me firstly introduce myself, my name is Maina Talia, from Tuvalu, a small island to the north of Fiji in the Pacific. I study under Professor MP Joseph. Thank you for your profound presentation, indeed, it was great to listen to you, especially from that part of the world.

This is not a question but it’s just a comment to go along with what you have said in line with what we have said about speaking about the underprivileged, especially coming from a low-lying country, a low-lying island, which is highly affected by climate change.

And this is the response that I normally receive from the West when I tell them at conferences, church conferences, and so forth:

“We will remember Tuvalu in our prayers”

I think it’s about time that we should stand up and hold our hands together, and have the courage to say to them “F your prayers, it’s time to act now”

Thank you very much.

Why does the language of “F*** that S***” generate a more visceral reaction than injustice itself?

We are socialised into politeness, we find anger uncomfortable, unpalatable. But as Jeremy Kidwell remarked at the YCCN launch, “rage is an appropriate reaction to sustained inaction on matters of injustice”.

I hope that I can let myself be disquieted by the anger and pain of others in a way which moves me onwards into that pain in a meaningful way (definitely read Hannah Malcolm on Grief and Power).

Something else that has really made me think this week is pondering on how much of my decision-making is pain avoidance? What motivates me? Is it love? Can I say that it is love while I shrink from the anger and hurt of others?

Big thoughts for a Saturday morning.


  1. Rachel,
    Remember only two simple things that Christ commanded of us, which covers all bases: To Love God and to love your neighbor. The 10 Commandments cover these two completely. Christ made it easy for us so there is no excuse other than our own indifference and selfish natures that we all too often exercise. When we love our neighbor through some form of charity, we then love God. And if we truly love God, we can’t then ignore our neighbor.
    As for the cursing: it is most unnecessary and will discourage more than encourage. If a person’s case is clearly presented with a balance of truth and compassion it will not fall on deaf ears. For that is the way of God.
    All of us know suffering in which we sought the charity and comfort of others in some way. It is therefore not a chore to identify with another’s suffering soul and offer the aid they seek. But, prayer lasts when the worldly manna runs out. So I would not be so hasty to dismiss it for the sake of a few dollars.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Or is the language necessary because the people undergoing the situation are exasperated at the fact they do need action and not words? The language may not be to everyone’s taste, but when the proverbial excrement has hit the fan and the only thing you are being met with are platitudes….. desperate times call for desperate measures I guess .


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