A sort of introduction

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” “Think before you speak.” These are admonitions most of us have heard more than once in our lives. There’s even a biblical precedent: “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person” (Matthew 15:11, ESB). There’s a much larger point beyond “watch your mouth” to Jesus’ words, and I’m grateful for that verse for helping me move beyond my “shellfish crisis,” but mostly they served as another prohibition against speaking freely.

The premise for this blog is that ideas and ways of being meant to be life giving can have the opposite effect, especially if those ideas are so rigid and constraining that they stunt healthy emotional development by insisting on inauthentic representation of the self. We all need structure, and limits provide safety for people of all ages. Children, especially, need to be able to push against boundaries in order to orient themselves and move forward in the world. But we can go so far as to dismiss human uniqueness which is as messy as it is beautiful.

I think it’s important to say something about the blog’s title. I’m pretty sure the most obvious meaning doesn’t need clarification beyond that it serves to reject the rigid constraints of verbal piety. Secondly, the title is meant to set the stage for discussion introduced in the second paragraph: dogma, ideology, and theology can be at least destructive as instructive. But in the spirit of redeeming “what comes out” of us, the title is more of a triple than a double entendre. As humans, we produce what we are. And we are complicated. Rejecting the shadow side of our natures is like dismissing our need to defecate. So, this blog is also meant to alleviate spiritual and emotional constipation.

In my professional work as a therapist, I am never surprised to discover myriad complications and suffering induced by our attempts to make ourselves “clean” by rejecting our parts. Too many of us have been told implicitly or explicitly that this or that side of us is not welcome. In my personal life I have been gratified by the graciousness of those willing to put their shadow side on display. Rather than diminishing their beauty, their wholeness radiates invitation to participate authentically in a more abundant life. Their honesty is contagious. And I hope ours is too. We will speak openly about our own experiences in and the disastrous effects of a toxic system of being. And we welcome your own holy shit.

Leave a Reply