Silly Words Series: #5 Awesome

What it supposedly means:

Oh, that’s interesting… cool even.

Why it’s silly:

How many of you have had this conversation?

“Hey, what have you been up to?”

“Oh, not much. Just hanging out with my best friend. We saw the new Marvel movie together yesterday.”

“Oh, awesome. Was it any good?”

What is wrong with this exchange? You’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “Well, I don’t know. It was pretty ordinary.”

That’s the problem. That conversation was completely and utterly mundane. There was absolutely nothing “awesome” about what those two people were talking about.

“Awesome” is not a word that should be used lightly, and yet our society insists on doing so. “Awesome” is supposed to denote that something is worthy of our awe. If we see something that is truly awesome, we shouldn’t be able to speak. Let me help you out by giving you a few examples of awesome things.

orion nebula

This is the Orion Nebula and it is truly awesome.

mount everest climbers

Climbing Mount Everest. Awesome.

Nativity 2

Jesus Christ. His birth, His death, His resurrection and everything in between… And if you’re not Christian, CHRISTMAS!!! You wouldn’t have that without my savior.

You see, these are things that really are awesome. I can’t see the Orion Nebula, or any picture from outer space for that matter, without thinking about how amazingly insignificant I am in a vast universe. I can’t imagine climbing Mount Everest without thinking about the incredible difficulty of such a climb and the feeling of utter elation the people who reach the top must feel. Finally, I can’t think about Christ without being humbled by the thought that I could never have done what He did and that without Him, I am worth nothing.

This is the true meaning of “awesome.” Let’s try to use it the right way, people.*

* In no way am I not guilty of misusing the word, but even when I do it, it bothers me. Just so you know.

Thank you all for reading the 5th installment of my Silly Words Series. My post tomorrow will be on… well, it’s a surprise and you’re going to have to come back tomorrow and find out. Yes, this is essentially my way of saying I have absolutely nothing planned. 🙂

See y’all tomorrow!

Advertisements

Silly Word Series: #4 Homophobia

I’ve been debating with myself a while whether or not to do this post. However, with the recent events in Arizona and with the Mozilla CEO “resigning,” I’ve decided that it’s time. I believe the veto of the religious freedom bill by Jan Brewer and the forced resignation of Brendan Eich provides the backdrop needed for this post’s subject. Without further ado…

What it supposedly means:
The hatred of gays just because they’re gay.

Why it’s silly:
With this word, the problem is, in part, how it is used. You see, the only time I’ve ever seen or heard this word used, it is as an insult to people who may or may not disagree with something a gay person has said or done. This word is used to demean anyone who has anything to say that might be contrary to what society says about homosexuals. This word is never used in the way that people might expect: denoting a fear of gays.

Let’s take a look at the second half of the word. Phobia, or an irrational fear of something. Some of you may be thinking, “Yeah, irrational. Of course homophobia is not rational.” However, I’m afraid more than a few may have missed the fear part. Usually, when a word ends in “phobia” that means that the word is a fear of something. For instance, we’ve all heard of arachnophobia, or the fear of arachnids, like spiders. There’s also the irrational fear of long words (which, ironically enough, is an incredibly long word), and that also ends in phobia. The problem with the term homophobia can be explained with a question. I want you to think really hard about this. Have you ever known of a person who has been called homophobic that is actually irrationally afraid of homosexuals?

Because I haven’t. In fact, even if you know such a person, they are probably less than .00001 percent of the population. In fact, I’ve been accused of being homophobic because I oppose gay marriage*. I do not in the least fear homosexuals, rationally or irrational. I don’t know anyone who does. If anything, I’m jealous of them. They are literally the most protected class in the United States.

Consider the case that prompted the religious freedom bill in Arizona. A Christian photographer declined to photograph a gay wedding, and then the courts forced him to go against his own beliefs to cater to the gays’. This is the kind of thing that could happen in almost no other circumstance in this country. If you are a Christian, you cannot force a Jewish bookstore to sell you the New Testament. If you are Jewish, you cannot force an atheist deli to sell you kosher meat. If you are atheist, you cannot (probably) force a Christian sign company to print “God is dead” signs. And yet, somehow, if you are gay, you can force a Christian to bake you a wedding cake, or photograph your wedding, or print you gay pride t-shirts. If I’m being honest, I would tell you that I would love that kind of special protection. However, I’m a lover of the Constitution, and I firmly believe that we all have a right to associate with whoever we feel like.

To recap, “homophobia” is a silly word, because it is used as an insult against people who do not actually irrationally or rationally fear gay people.
         So what do you think? Is homophobia the wrong word here?

*Understand, I don’t oppose equal rights as human beings for gay people. I only oppose gay marriage, and then only for religious reasons. I don’t think the government should be in the marriage business at all. Marriage is a holy ceremony, not a government authorized contract. If you’re interested in learning more about my views, click here. I, along with most Christians, also do not hate gay people. “Hate the sin; love the sinner,” as the saying goes. #TheMoreYouKnow.

Silly Words Series: #3 Tolerance

What it supposedly means:

            Everyone should be accepting of all ways of living and no one (especially Christians) should ever say anything bad about anything.

Why it’s silly:

Alright, first off, I’d like to say that there is nothing I dislike more than people who are of another faith (or lack thereof) and somehow feel that it is okay to demean another person’s religion. It is absolutely the rudest most uncivilized thing you can do to a person. To tell someone that you don’t share their faith and that that somehow gives you the right to belittle and harass them is unconscionable.

Now, the word “tolerance.” We see this word all the time. We’re constantly told that we should practice tolerance, as if doing this simple little thing will solve all of the world’s problems. Seriously, that’s how it’s sold. The problem in this case is that tolerance is the wrong word.

I don’t just want to tolerate people. If I’m tolerating someone, I’m only just bearing their presence. I tolerate the guy in front of me at the grocery store who hasn’t bathed in three weeks. I tolerate the obnoxious, whiney kid on the plane that has kept everyone up for the last five hours. I tolerate the couple in the roller coaster line who can’t stop making out. I never want to use the word ‘tolerance’ to describe my feelings for a person who simply holds a different view.

You may ask me, “If not ‘tolerance,’ then what?”

How about respect?

Let’s make the effort to not just tolerate someone with a different view. Let’s respect them. Because, when you respect someone, you are letting them know that, although you may not agree with him or her, that person still has value to you. Respecting people can go a long way toward beginning a real conversation.

Understand, just because you respect someone, that doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything (or anything) that they say. I’m a Christian, so I’m used to being told that I should practice tolerance. When people tell me this, they mean “Don’t tell me that what I am doing is wrong. I don’t want to hear your opinion.” Fine. Then don’t listen, because like it or not, I have opinions (a lot actually) and I will express them. Respectfully.

And that’s okay. I may not agree with, and I may not even like you, but I will always do my best to respect you. Trust me, that can get really hard when I’m constantly being called a racist, intolerant, bigot.* Then comes a big part of respect: forgiveness.

So, what do you think? Is respect a better word? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. One more thing about respecting people: Don’t call them names!

Silly Words Series: #2 Entitlement Program*

What it supposedly means:

A program to give free money away to poor people who absolutely need** it.

Why it’s silly:

First and foremost, let’s take a look at that first word: entitlement. What are people in the programs “entitled” to? Your money. They didn’t earn it, yet they are entitled to it. Yeah, that doesn’t make sense to me either.

I personally do not think that anyone should receive my money or anyone else’s without earning it. Another way to think about “entitlements” is to think about them in terms of “rights.” “Rights” is another frequently misused word with a meaning similar to “entitlement.” You see, you have a right to certain things. For instance, you have the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and property (in other words, to keep your own property). You also have the right to bear arms, but that is another post. You do not have the right to take things that are not yours (that’s called stealing). You do not have the right to birth control. You do not have the right have a house. In other words, you are not entitled to any of these things.

One of the problems with “entitlement programs” is that they gives people a sense of, well, entitlement. While you may not realize it, these programs are dangerous. They create a culture where it is perfectly okay for people to demand things that they have no right to. The programs foster laziness. If you’re going to get money whether you work or not, then why work? They do away with the idea that some things are earned. Mr. Franklin put it quite nicely.

franklin quote

Entitlement program is a phrase that is bandied about quite a bit these day, particularly by politicians who do not understand why it is a silly word. So, when you hear this word, try to remember what it really means and why it’s so dangerous.

 

* Yes, I know this is two words. If that bugs you, then you can think about this particular topic as a “Silly Phrase.”

** I use that word in sarcasm, but I do understand that people do occasionally need assistance.

Silly Words Series: #1 Slut-shaming

As a lover of writing, I run across a lot of words. Some of these words, though, are just plain silly. Therefore, I’ve decided to do a series called the Silly Words Series (oh yeah, I’m creative). These are words that have lost their meaning or maybe don’t mean what they should. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these words.

#1. Slut-shaming

What it supposedly means:

A derogatory term used to imply that someone should be ashamed of implying that a promiscuous woman/girl should be ashamed of her actions.

Why it’s silly:

I have to tell you, I am really tired of hearing this dumb term. The only time it is ever used is to criticize someone for standing up for what they believe in. I mean, when did principles become a bad thing? Why is it so bad for me to believe that people shouldn’t aim to show every possible bit of skin and then dance provocatively?

I actually hadn’t even heard of this word before the whole Miley Cyrus VMA (teddy bear molesting, foam finger assaulting, twerking) thing happened. I think nearly everyone’s gut reaction (including mine) was disgust after watching the performance for the first time. Many began to criticize Miley Syphilis—I mean Cyrus—for what she did on that stage.

But then, they came. The feminists and those who were proud of her for “embracing her sexuality.” They wanted to make sure to accuse anyone who thought that perhaps Miley could have been a little bit more, dare I say it, conservative, of slut-shaming. They thought that it was perfectly fine for a 20-year-old to grind her rump into the crotch of a grown man.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel too bad for saying that Miley should act more mature, that maybe she should act like a role model for the young girls who (unfortunately) still idolize her for her Hannah Montana days. I don’t think that that amounts to “slut-shaming.” I’m not trying to be rude, but is it possible that maybe she should be a little ashamed for acting like a… well, you know.

 

P.S. You’ll probably be happy to know that my Word processor doesn’t recognize “twerking” as a word.

P.P.S. I’m also not condoning what Robin Thicke did. Just because I didn’t mention him doesn’t mean I approve of his part in this. It just wasn’t my topic for this post.