Timothy Dalrymple at patheos.com was able to conduct an interview with Chris recently about the poem and the massive interest that it stirrred. I’m including one question and response below, then a link to the full interview.
Some have responded to the use of curse words. Two f-bombs are dropped in the Vancouver performance. Some thought this was elevating the desire to be culturally relevant over the desire to be obedient to scripture. Why do you include the language?
Is that one of the launching pads of the controversy? It’s funny that that’s such a big thing, because that’s not actually a part of my poem. It’s not written in there to say the F-word. Once or twice or however many times I dropped the f-bomb in that Vancouver scene, it was not planned. As a poet I ad-lib. I always add things here or there. Even if it wasn’t written, I say what I’m feeling at that moment.
I haven’t watched that recording in a long time. I don’t like to watch myself. But if I did drop the F-word in there once or twice, the only reason I can tell you is that there must have been points when I was feeling a little anger or some emotion.
That’s the only explanation I have. It’s not like I put the curse words in there to endear me to the kids or give me street cred. I could care less about street cred. My poetry speaks for itself. So if there are words in there that people are not okay with, then I’m sorry. I realize there are differences of opinion. There are different means to get to the same ends. My parents are very clean-mouthed people. So I apologize if I offended anyone with my language, but I would want them to realize that I didn’t put it in there deliberately. If it’s in there, it’s because it came out of me and my emotion.
As far as the theological issue, I know that the Bible says don’t let filthy talk or malicious language come out of your mouth. But let’s be real. If we’re going to represent Christ, we need to represent him with all the authenticity of who we are. If we’re being genuine, we acknowledge we are not perfect. One of my imperfections is that I have a tendency to curse. It’s the culture I was brought up in. I’ve always been on the sports teams and everything. I’m not justifying it. I’m not. But I’m saying that if you’re going to focus in on the fact that I swore, and then deconstruct whether it takes away from the credibility of my piece, then you’re losing the whole point. If that’s what you’re focusing in on, then maybe I need to write a poem called, “I’m Sorry That I Swear.”
The entire interview can be read here.