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The Cross: Euphemism-Free Zone

From Presbyterian minister Val Fowler, in an e-mail message, 2/21/11:

Years ago, I took an idea from Monday Morning, and developed an exercise that I've used several times . . . and it is very effective.

Ask people to share all the euphemisms for death that people can think of, and list them on newsprint or on a board. Most groups can come up with thirty or more such euphemisms.

Then, one by one, using each of the shared items, have the group say in unison, "Jesus Christ [euphemism] on the cross for our sins."
For example: "Jesus Christ bought the ranch on the cross for our sins."
"Jesus Christ kicked the bucket on the cross for our sins."

The only word which really works is "died." The exercise sort of brings it home how we want to avoid that particular four-letter word.

With one exception. A mentally retarded adult with whom I worked in my first parish used the euphemism "done pooped out." As in, "I saw a possum on the road. He done pooped out."

I've shared that euphemism and it is the only one that groups have said works, in an odd sort of way: "Jesus Christ done pooped out on the cross for our sins."

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