Are you allergic to some words? Some jargon words make me go all twitchy and uncomfortable.

I love words and side myself with Eugene Peterson, who described himself as a ‘shepherd of words’ (as well as people). It doesn’t matter the field we’re in or circles we move in, jargon gets used, helpful shortcuts and breath-savers - but also potential roadblocks to outsiders.

For example: ‘BP’ - Medical shorthand for blood pressure; ‘Bang for buck’ – Business talk for getting value for money; ‘10-4’ - Radio speak for ‘Okay’ or ‘Understood’; ‘AWOL’ - Absent without leave (a good example of jargon crossing original context & culture into wider use); ‘LOL’ – social texting for ‘Laugh out loud’ (not to be confused with earlier uses of ‘LOL’ meaning ‘Lots of Love’). 

The word grating my gears right now is ‘INTIMATION’. In certain churches, we misuse and even abuse this word.

To be ‘intimate’ with someone or something is ‘to have a close knowledge of them’, while ‘to intimate’ something is ‘to state or make something known’.

My main reason for trying to ban ‘Intimation’ from our church’s vocabulary is because it is an antiquated word, which younger people don’t understand; so much better to say, “And here are this week’s notices (or announcements)” than, “And now for the Intimations” or ‘Intimidations’ as some ministers humorously refer to them.

‘INTIMATION’ suggests something intimate like “Happily, Maggie Dewar and Andy Park will marry on September 3 in St Andrew’s Parish Church” or “Sadly, John Schooler died on August 20 and his funeral will take place, etc…” not “There will be a nearly new sale…” or “The total raised at the talents auction was…”

There are times and places where revealing and vulnerable details can develop a closer bond between speaker (public or private) and audience to make people more receptive to their message. We all need and yearn for ‘intimacy’, a closeness with others who will love us unconditionally, warts and all, no matter what.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media can be excellent ways to connect with people, but it’s scary how such mediums are used to ‘intimate’ personal details, which would be better kept private between those concerned.

A lack of personal intimacy with people, who will listen and unconditionally love us, can perhaps force you to 'intimate’ in inappropriate ways, like the person who stood up in the middle of a restaurant to declare that they had just found out their wife was cheating on them and how gutted they were.

How sad when people do not have an appropriate audience to privately share such details with.

God is someone from whom we can hide nothing and with whom we can share anything; it’s an ‘infectious intimacy’ open for all, described well in Delirious’s:

‘What a friend I've found, closer than a brother

I have felt your touch more intimate than lovers.

What a hope I've found, more faithful than a mother

It would break my heart
to ever lose each other,

Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus, friend forever.’ (Martin Smith)