A vicar came under hell fire today after he called on the church to get ”streetwise” and move into the 21st century – by encouraging worshippers to SWEAR.
Foul-mouthed Rev Michael Land, 67, even boasted about a recent road rage incident where he told a stunned driver to ‘f*** off’ – while wearing his DOG COLLAR.
Astonishingly, the normally softly spoken vicar claimed JESUS regularly swore and urged church-goers not to ”place him on a pedestal”.
Rev Land learnt to ”talk street” during 28 years preaching in the tough East End of London – home of Britain’s most notorious gangsters the Kray Twins.
He said: ”The church must be more streetwise and use language most people use today.
”People view Jesus through tinted spectacles and place him on a pedestal.
”The reality is that he was poor, lacked any real education and did not fraternise with Pharisees or scholars.
”People today would probably be quite shocked at the language he used at that time.”
Rev Land, who tried to convert drug addicts and gangsters in Walthamstow, admits he once lost his rag and told someone to ”f*** off”.
He said: ”Someone pulled out in front of me so I sounded my horn. The driver got out of his car and came over to me.
”I wound my window down and said ‘why don’t you learn to f***ing drive’. He just walked away. I don’t think he could believe it.
”I did not remove my clerical collar, why should I? I did it then and I’d do it again, I’m not afraid to tell it how it is even if that means swearing.
”The church needs to modernise and that means keeping up with the trends in language.”
Rev Land moved from his Walthamstow parish two years ago but regularly preaches at St Mary’s Church in the sleepy village of Burghill, Herefordshire.
Members of his congregation today expressed shock at his comments.
One woman in her 80s, who did not want to be named, said: ”I must say I am more than a little surprised.
”Rev Land takes the occasional service and I have never heard him swear in any of them but perhaps I will have to listen more carefully next time.
”I would feel uncomfortable if he started effing and blinding during his sermons.”
Churchgoer Mark Paul, 38, a building surveyor from Worcester, added: ”Is it a controversial thing to say? Yes, but I agree with everything the reverend says.
”For too long the church has carried around this image of being something fluffy and quaint when in reality it is gritty and real and swearing is part of that.”
Rev Land mirrors the new BBC2 series ‘Rev’ starring Tom Hollander who regularly swears at his flock.
Rev Land, who has three grown-up sons and lives with wife Dawn, 62, added:
”I can really identify with the character in Rev.
”Whilst working in London I would regularly have people knocking on my door and asking for money.
”I would never give in and usually shut the door on them. Just because I am a vicar I am not a soft touch.
”It’s very different around here, you don’t have to remember to lock doors.
”If you left the vicarage unlocked in Walthamstow, it would have been stripped.”
Rev Land is preaching at St Mary’s Church on Sunday.