Last night I was reading through my daughter's Language Arts book. She is studying the evolution of the English language, and there were a few paragraphs on slang and jargon. The lesson noted that slang words last approximately 4 years before they become obsolete. I found that quite interesting. I am so uncool that I usually find myself behind the times in style, language, etc. By the time I understand and recognize slang, it will be ready to pass into history. One of the funniest stories I ever heard about a slang word was from my father-in-law. He was around 20 yrs old and he and his buddy (pal? compadre? bro? see what I mean...I don't even know the latest slang for friend) were out late at night. A couple of guys came up to them and demanded their wallets. My father-in-law mustered up as much machismo as he could and threatened, "Step back, I have a god in my pocket!" Well, he meant to say rod (gun, heater, blaster, piece) but he was so scared it came out wrong. The muggers started laughing so hard, they decided not to steal the wallets. However, I have often thought his words really weren't a mistake. Having God in your pocket is the best--who better to "have your back"?
A couple definitions for jargon are: "The specialized or technical language of a trade, profession, or similar group." and "a characteristic language of a particular group (as among thieves); 'they don't speak our lingo' ". [Lingo of course being a slang word ;-) ] Jargon is meant to exclude, to isolate a hearer from the information if the hearer doesn't have the key to unlock the words. I remember the first time someone asked me if I was "saved". I looked at the person like they were strange. Saved? From what? But what really excited me as I thought about jargon in the context of Christianity was how inclusive God is. He gave us words to call Him by like Father, Friend, Comforter, Brother. Unlike jargon, these words reach out to man, across the ages and invite the hearer, not only to a relationship, but to an intimate one!
For about a year, I have felt challenged to implement my faith in a way that is fluid enough to respond to the changing world and culture that surrounds me. I also have been working on the challenge of moving out and seeking opportunities to extend the invitation to Family that Christ offers. I know that slang and jargon are about language, but the concepts also apply to being current, open, and yes, even uncomfortable at times, in my faith walk.
Both present their own barriers for me personally. Are ya feelin' me, daddy-o?