Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Big Word Wednesday #6

Function: noun
Date: 1810
1 a local or regional dialect expression
2: used in or characteristic of familiar and informal conversation

I’m a talker. I like to talk. Sometimes too much!
Sometimes I talk too fast. Sometimes too quietly (sorry Phil). Sometimes in ways that only I and God can understand!

I think a lot about the things I say and how I say them, although this is not always evident when I speak! These thoughts are only some of the randomness going on in my head. I’m not sure that they make sense or are even useful. But I thought them so I am being open and writing about them!

Firstly, when I think of local or regional I think in terms of a geographical area or district. I think of accents and phrases that are common or typical of that area. As in a Geordie saying ‘why aye man!’ or a Scouser saying ‘alright alright!’.
It’s hard not to say those without using an accent too! Well, it is in my head anyway!

Whilst sat on the bus the other day I started to think about local or regional in a different way. I thought about it in terms of those people that are ‘local’ to me because they share a similar language, dialect, expression. I thought about my church family, not just in Edinburgh, but all over the world.

As a Christian, I have grown up learning church phrases, jargon and many Christianese terms and sayings. I can converse with my fellow ‘holy’ linguists all day about many things that just sound foreign, strange and even weird to anyone who does not understand this language, this dialect…this colloquialism.

So then I wondered whether the words I use cause others to not fully understand what I’m saying or to be confused. Can the things we say become a barrier for some people in terms of encountering a relationship with God? Can our use of Christianese be confusing, strange or weird to those outside our ‘local’ circle?

But at the same time our speech…the things we say and the way that we say them…should be a reflection of where we come from. Or rather where we are going. Not an expression of the people around us, but an influence to the people around us.

As a Christian, I believe that I am a citizen of heaven. I am only visiting earth. So the things I say should show evidence of this. My words should be sprinkled with things that are of heaven…love, hope, joy, peace, and God.

My conversations should be a way to bring God to those around me but without being confusing or strange. There is power in our words, in our tongues (Proverbs 18:21). I pray that I learn to use mine well. I pray that when I open my mouth I stop for a moment and put myself to one side. I pray that I wait long enough God to come and be in the words I speak. His words will never be confusing or difficult to understand. His words will speak to people wherever they are, whatever they need.

And because words are always better with pictures...

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