The way we use words matters. It reveals what we are thinking and who we are.

            Clearly language changes over the years.  The way we speak now is in many ways different from the way we spoke ten years ago – or less.

            But what is a particular matter of concern for me is that language is often used in ways which diminish the meaning and power of words.

            Have you noticed how many things are now said to be ‘stunning’?  Not only the views we are assured we will experience on our holidays, but also the new housing development, the most recent offer from the supermarket and seemingly endless other things that are said to be ‘stunning’?

            The trouble is that when we want to describe something which is truly remarkable and has truly amazed us, the word ‘stunning’ has lost its power by unthinking overuse.

            Nothing it seems can any longer be said just to be ‘good’ – it has to be ‘great’.  Certainly some music, some ideas, some actions are truly ’great’ but if we don’t just describe other things as simply ‘good’ but call everything ‘great’, what word can we use to refer to something that is truly exceptional, is truly great?

            The meaning of the word has been diminished.  I was told by a bank clerk on the phone to ‘Have a great day!’  What ??

            Language usage that diminishes the power of a word is careless and in the long run damaging.  It’s good to tell a child that their work is ‘good’ or even ‘very good’ but tell them the work is ‘terrific’ ‘fantastic’ unless it is truly exceptional, and we give the child a wrong sense of true value.

            These I think are important things but there are many other modern usages that don’t really matter but which are a potential cause of irritation (and it’s not good to irritate people!).  One usage that irritates me is the response to a simple request that tells me it is ‘No problem!’  I enjoyed the scene in a TV play where a character went into a pub and asked for a pint of beer and when told ‘No problem!’ replied ‘I didn’t foresee that there would be a problem!’  Good for him!

            Personally I quite like to be called ‘mate’ in a casual encounter but a friend of mine (in his seventies) finds it irritating and is inclined to say when addressed as ‘mate’ :’I don’t know you; you don’t know me; and I’m old enough to be your grandfather.  I am not your mate.’  A bit harsh but I see his point – inappropriate intimacy.

            Have you noticed the tendency for people in interview situations on TV to begin every answer with ‘So…’?  It’s a modern American usage replacing the more usual English ‘Well…’  Neither means anything – it’s just a way of hesitating before giving an answer. I had never noticed it until someone told me how irritating she found it – but now I do notice it! 

                                                                                       Geoffrey Bamford

 

If you were I wonder if, like me, you found the Remembrance at the war memorial followed by the Eucharist a good experience?   And I wonder if you felt that, along with some 130 others, you were participating in a genuinely community event? 

And if you were, I wonder how you react to the recent news that many local Anglican parish churches are in danger of being closed because of declining attendance at weekly services and a lack of finance to support their upkeep as well as the shortage of clergy numbers here in the north?

If a church which matters to even a small part of a community has to close, the loss to that community as a whole is, perhaps, incalculable.  Does it matter? And if it does how can we best try to ensure that parish churches do not have to close?  

130 people came to the Remembrance service.  Do you feel that if you don’t turn up at Sunday worship – occasionally or regularly – you are depriving not only yourself but others of the continuing existence of a place where community can be experienced and celebrated – not only weekly but at times of celebration for weddings and Baptisms – and at times of sorrow at funerals or times of local or national grief? 

The church where I was brought up in Lancashire closed last summer just after the 150th anniversary of its founding.  Though over 50 years ago and in a different county, I feel a real sense of loss.

Any thoughts?

                                                                                          Geoff Bamford

 

God won't ask what kind of car you drove;

He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

God won't ask the square footage of your house,

He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet,

He'll ask how many people you helped to clothe.

God won’t ask which diet you were on;

He’ll ask how many hungry people you helped to feed.

God won't ask what your highest salary was;

He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

God won't ask what your job title was;

He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

God won't ask how many friends you had on Facebook;

He'll ask how many people to whom you were a real friend.

God won't ask in what neighbourhood you lived;

He'll ask how you treated your neighbours.

God won't ask about the colour of your skin;

He'll ask about the content of your character.

God won't ask why it took you so long to seek Him;

He'll lovingly take you into his Kingdom, not leave you at the gates of Hell.

 

     Santa’s Grotto                                          222.50

     Plants                                                      546.50

     Decorations Workshop (Helen Green)          458.00

     Café                                                      1338.45

     Crafts (Frances Short)                               179.11

     Raffle                                                     1073.00

     Crafts on stage                                          41.00

     Mulled wine                                             177.50

     Cakes & Preserves                                    899.68

     Stall rentals                                              476.00

                                                                5,411.74

In addition the three African Charities took in excess of £500.

The 2017 total was £4,355.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who helped and supported.

A timely reminder to our readers: beware of potholes!

 

In winter when I drive my car

I all too often feel a jar –

That awful, cracking, grinding jolt

Which brings my vehicle to a halt.

I sit, and try to comprehend

What’s brought my journey to an end?

Then words and phrases can’t console –

For I have gone and hit a hole!

A hole I didn’t see or seek

It wasn’t there at all last week!

It’s full of water, just a puddle

But now it’s caused an awful muddle.

I’ve bust an axle, blown a tyre

Such menaces as do conspire

To leave us drivers sad and lost

They’re all the work of Mister Frost!

He comes by dark – he works at night

His wicked deeds are out of sight.

He works those tricks which drivers dread

When we are all asleep in bed,

All snuggled in against the cold,

While he’s about dark deeds untold.

So hearken to my dismal ode –

Jack’s made a pothole in the road!

                                                                     Nigel Beeton