Posts Tagged ‘words’

Do Words Lose Power With Over or Mis-Use

October 24, 2016

I’m in a Hilton this week. Return trip to Austin. There I was ready to take an early shower to get to a 7am breakfast meeting.

I’m staring at these bottles. Mega-what??

I choose words carefully. I also choose words that I hope translate well to an international audience. And I wonder, how do these words impact emotions as well as intellect.


Mega-Rich. Mega -Rich.

I stared. Mega-body? No. Mega-rich body. Then I saw it was a brand name. Mega-rich shampoo.

How many things can be “mega”? Really?

How many of us just read over the words. Are we impacted by that word anymore? It’s just a brand or marketing speak or something.

I wonder the same things when communicating Jesus.

Are what I call the “Christian code words” still powerful?  When we read “sin” do we understand that to which it refers? Or is it just a negative sounding word that means some old lady or old guy is condemning us–sight unseen?

I try to find new ways of expressing the emotion or action that is meant by some of the code words. I’m well aware of the many Christians who listen to a message or song and sub-consciously count the number of code words. If the number hits a threshold, then it is labeled good.

The latest John Fischer podcast conversation featured songwriter / singer Bob Bennett. He was talking about writing songs to reach people who are not followers of Jesus. But that the music publishing houses wanted songs that met the code-word threshold rather than songs of struggle and overcoming.

Bennett said, “It’s like the man who, at a dinner party, reaches over to cut his neighbor’s meat.”

We need to make sure that we are really communicating. Are we over-using words to the point that they lose their appropriate emotional meaning? Are we failing to use words that say what we really mean in a context that can be really heard?

Don’t Let Words Get In The Way of Communicating

September 3, 2015

The tone of my last post about the guy who put forward and argument based on a shallow interpretation of Scripture was pretty sharp. I tried to separate out my dislike of the interpretation from any possible personal dislike. I don’t know that I succeeded. Perhaps I was snarky in a couple of comments.

Sometimes we just come out and call things by names that were poorly chosen.

Christians sometimes have a way of moving a conversation to the personal perhaps a little too quickly. Maybe making a judgement about saved or not saved based on superficial information. Or even no information.

Sometimes in analyzing we place a label on people that we shouldn’t. It could be wrong. It could be right. But it changes the entire discourse usually away from the direction we wished we were going.

How about when we name something and people get an entirely different interpretation of our event or program than what we meant. Now, we cannot recover or recover only with great difficulty.

Ad hominem attacks, such as we often see in politics, never move a discussion forward. Attacking a person instead of discussing her ideas and trying to understand and empathize is just the easy way out. And it will never lead to reconciliation and relationship.

Those of us who  use words must especially be careful. Paul says those who teach are especially at risk if we don’t teach correctly. Let us strive to use words correctly and intelligently.