Sunday, August 27, 2006

Emerging Language

Television. That wonderful medium for cultural impact. Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report" is credited for adding two new words to the American language (I say "American" so as not to offend the British causing them to abandon us in Iraq): "truthiness" and "Wikiality."

Global Language Monitor defined "truthiness" as used by Colbert as meaning "truth unencumbered by the facts." "Wikiality," derived from the user-compiled Wikipedia information Web site, was defined as "reality as determined by majority vote," as when astronomers voted Pluto off their list of planets last week. (source)

These two words kind of go hand-in-hand. Do you think we have a place in church leadership where words like this would fit in. I can think of a couple of personal examples. Especially from my youth pastor days. For example, when putting together a sermon directed at the kids I might come across a story that another preacher uses that I like. But it really isn't my story. Yet it has a certain "truthiness" ["truth unencumbered by the facts"] to it. So I use it.

Or maybe I just took the kids to a youth event that featured the worst Christian rap artist in the universe. I know it (because I'm forty-one and hate rap that doesn't sound like the Red Hot Chili Peppers), and the kids know it (because there are two many "Jesus per second" jammed into lyrics that hardly rhyme), but there is a certain "Wikiality" ["reality as determined by majority vote"] among the event's thirty-something youth event organizers who have, as a group, determined that they, themselves, are hip.

So, if I can get these two new words past SPELLCHECK, I'll post this on my blog (I still haven't been able to get "blog" through SPELLCHECK).

Do "truthiness" and "Wikiality" fit in your emergent (sorry, I couldn't resist) life in ministry?


Anonymous said...

So tell your spellchecker to ignore the words!

Carole Turner said...

I can't tell you how many times I have heard a preacher lie! They all do, they tell stories that aren't theirs, exagerate their own stories or make up complete lies to make a point. I still don't get how this is ok but maybe it falls under hyperbole. I just wonder if anyone ever calls them on it.