It seems the number one rule of our enlightened culture is to not offend anyone. The corollary to that rule is to not clearly communicate whenever humanly possible. John Leo wrote a great piece at Townhall.com about the avalanche of euphemisms that are overtaking actual communication. In this world a plane crash becomes, to the airlines, a “Hull loss.”
New Orleans police rejected the term “looting” after Katrina, but they conceded “the possibility of appropriation of non-essential items from businesses.” I don’t think too many cared if water, baby food, clothing, and groceries were taken for desperate families. DVD players and HDTV’s are another issue. Exhibit A is survival…exhibit B is looting.
Our educational system is a leader in the growing field of doublespeak. Self-esteem has become the Holy Grail of many education leaders. Leo’s column cited such gems as…
A number of schools have eliminated “F” as a mark, and “suboptimal outcome” means failure.
How much better would I have felt about myself in high school if I had just realized my bombing of Calculus was merely a “suboptimal outcome’?
In Britain members of the Professional Association of Teachers suggested that schools drop the word fail. The teachers wanted to use “deferred success”.
This will be invaluable to me in future communication with the lovely Mrs.Burchett.
“Dave, did you clean out the garage?”
“Honey, I am anticipating success on a deferred schedule.”
“Where did you hide the BS flag?”
In this not so brave new world “mandatory discontinued attendance” (suspension) and “post instructional behavioral adjustment period” (detention) are in actual usage.
I experienced “non-voluntary aerobic training” (running laps) for a little basketball disciplinary issue in high school as well.
In Britain, the Church of England suggests that the words “living in sin” should be banished and replaced by a “covenanted relationship.”
Actually I also disdain the term “living in sin” for couples who are not married. Why? Because I am am capable of sin every single day of my life. We can have a discussion about the biblical perspective for a healthy relationship with couples who are living together. But the reality of my life is best expressed by Paul in this letter to Timothy.
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. I Timothy 1 NIV
I recently wrote a post called Your Rules, My Rules.
When you gossip it is sin….
When I gossip it is “sharing.”
When you stand up for a belief you are stubborn and rigid…
When I do I have the strength of my convictions.
When you make a mistake you are an immature Christian…
When I screw-up I am going through a “difficult time”.
You are selfish…
When I act selfishly I am looking out for myself because no one else will.
When you miss church you are letting down the fellowship…
When I miss it is because of my difficult week that you can’t even begin to understand.
When you don’t work at a church function you are lazy…
When I don’t volunteer it is because I can’t possibly take on another thing (sighhhh)
When you take initiative you are self-centered…
When I take charge I am following God’s direction.
When you get angry you have a terrible attitude…
When I get ticked off I am “filled with righteous indignation”…or something.
Perhaps you are experiencing a bit of “deferred success” in your Christian journey. Maybe some of your relationships with other Christians are having a “suboptimal outcome” at this point in time. May I encourage you to have the courage to call a spade a spade and not an agricultural soil displacement implement. Sin is sin. And there is an answer to that in 1 John, chapter 4.
God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins
G.K.Chesterton once responded to a series of articles on ‘What’s Wrong with the World’ with this pithy little comment.
“Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’
Yours truly, G. K. Chesterton.”
So you feel like your actions don’t matter? Polish writer Stanislaw Jerzy once stated that “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” I am accountable for my actions and how I represent Christ everyday. Don’t allow the temptation of clever euphemisms to disguise truth.