Are you allergic to some words & phrases? Some jargon sends me all twitchy. I aim to be a ‘shepherd of words’ as well as people. We can’t escape jargon, shortcut breath-savers to the in-crowd, but ‘gobbledygook’ to the uninitiated.
For example: ‘BP’ = blood pressure; ‘Blue-Sky Thinking’ = open minded creative ideas; ‘10-4’ or ‘Roger’ = ‘Okay’ or ‘Understood’; ‘AWOL’ = Absent without leave; ‘LOL’ = ‘Laugh out loud’ (for some) & ‘Lots of Love’ (for older people); MAMIL (guilty, I am!) = Middle-aged man in Lycra); ‘Moving out of your comfort zone’ = getting out of a possible rut; Brexit… I’ll stop there.
It’s not the be-all and end-all but I have an internal ‘jargon-alarm’ which goes off with churchy words like ‘INTIMATION’ or ‘Intimidation’ as some ministers call them. ‘Notices’ or ‘announcements’ are more accessible to newcomers to church.
Poor Andrew, our recent beloved probationer minister, knows only too well how pedantic I can be concerning words used in leading, preaching & prayer, like: ‘Just-Dust’ & ‘Would-Worm’ in our prayers – “Dear God, we wouldpray that you might justbless Jimmy.”Praying to God in Jesus name can give us confidence to approach God Almighty much more directly than these indirect and hesitant words. If these are the words you use to pray to God from your heart, great! But when we think about them more closely might they actually get in the way of us speaking honestly and directly to Father God?
Some minister colleagues welcome worshippers to ‘Gatherings of God’s People’ rather than the more obscure (to incomers) ‘Church Services’. Despite ‘Ditching Church’ last week, I’m happy to use ‘Church Services’ provided we help people to reclaim, celebrate & apply what they signify. Again, my jargon alarm ‘does its dinger’ when we introduce a church service with, “Let us begin our service (of worship) by singing …” or “Let us finish our service with our last song…”Surely our worship services are launchpads for our 24/7 lives of Service to God and one another beyond church buildings & gatherings?
Forgive me risking hypocrisy and ‘straining gnats to swallow camels’ or ‘trying to take a speck from my brother’s eye before extracting the lumbering log in my own eye’. Most important is that we humbly, honestly & boldly learn to live, our lives with God, in and through Jesus Christ. Drat, I’ve just gone and used language that some won’t understand. But my hope and prayer is that, rather than getting in the way of giving God our all and sharing God’s Truth with others, we can learn language which helps us to know God more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly, and share Him more powerfully day by day.
Will you give me an ‘Amen!’? Woops!