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Monday, June 8, 2009

Lingo, New and Old

Door-to-door solicitors descend on our neighborhood like ants at a picnic. The other day a young man rang our doorbell and introduced himself as a college student from Scotland. He was selling children’s books.

“I was born in Scotland,” I told him, “but I was just a wee wain when oor family moved tae Canada.”

To say the young man was surprised is an understatement. He was flabbergasted. “ I see you know the lingo,” he offered after regaining his composure.



My parents spoke with a Scottish brogue until they died, but I never heard either of them say “lingo” or “cool.” I guess the language and accent of Scots today are quite different from what they were when my parents and I lived in Scotland an awfie lang time ago. As a matter of fact, the solicitor’s accent seemed to resemble that of an Englishman.

Christianese has changed through the years too. Years ago we used to refer to being “born again,” “saved,” “ bought by the blood,” and we urged the “unsaved” to “repent” and accept Christ as your Savior.” Now, the popular vocabulary includes such terms as “a relationship with God,” “give Jesus a chance,” and “people of faith.”

Here’s my take on these modern terms. I think they are weak and meaningless. Everyone has a relationship with God, either a right relationship or a wrong relationship. Jesus doesn’t need a chance; He doesn’t come as a 30-day trial offer. And “people of faith” is nondescript. Having faith amounts to nothing unless Jesus is the object of that faith. Faith in a church or a religion or one’s good works or baptism or religious pedigree is groundless.

I hope we get back to Biblical terminology soon, but I hae ma doots!

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