Community News

The KIS of Life by Rev Chris Sparks

“Political Correctness gone mad!”

How often have we heard – or used – this phrase in exasperation. It seems that social engineering is a growth industry that seeks to overturn and demonise much familiar language and well-known sayings.

Proponents of this see danger in everything and feel compelled to right every perceived wrong – no matter how tenuous the connection or innocent the expression. As a result, society is fast becoming over-sensitised and communication over-complex as we seek to accommodate these self-styled architects of verbal perfection.

Our kids are not immune. Someone (with too much time on their hands) has compiled a list of PC alternatives for common phrases and expressions applicable to our children and grandchildren.

So, your child’s bedroom isn’t cluttered and untidy; it’s “passage-restrictive.”

Kids don’t get into trouble anymore. They merely hit “social speed bumps.”

You mustn’t say a student is lazy. He’s “energetically declined.”

Your child is not shy. He’s “conversationally selective.”

She doesn’t talk a lot. She’s just “abundantly verbal.”

Tom’s homework isn’t missing; it’s just having an “out-of-notebook experience.”

That child isn’t sleeping in class; he’s “rationing consciousness.”

Jimmy doesn’t have smelly gym socks; he has “odour-retentive athletic footwear.”

Debbie wasn’t passing notes in class. She was “participating in the discreet exchange of penned meditations.”

Those boys are not being sent to the principal’s office. They’re “going on a mandatory field trip to the administrative building.”

Ah yes! While many of us may laugh or smile at the absurdity of this trend, many elements of the PC fad have managed to beat a path into everyday parlance and infect the bureaucratic machines of governments.

But there seems to be one area that has largely escaped the interfering attention of the PC brigade. While striving to re-engineer society and its language so as to not offend anyone, the entire Christian community has been spared. It’s still okay to offend God – and the sensibilities of those who love and serve him. But that’s alright because God’s shoulders are broad. He continues to love us, and his people are still doing their best to follow his example.

Whilst ‘political correctness’ is a modern concept, the imposition of its agenda mirrors that of the spiritual hierarchy of Jesus’ day. They had also devised a complex bureaucratic jungle of verbiage dressed up as rules, regulations and rigid interpretations. Like modern-day PC advocates, theirs was a way of exercising control that kept people on tenterhooks – anxious and fearful of the repercussions if they said or did the wrong thing.

But when Jesus appeared on the scene, He shook the cage of the ruling elite. He wandered around, mixing and conversing with ordinary people on the street, talking to them in plain language, encouraging, teaching, healing and sharing the simple message of God’s unremitting love for his people.

It didn’t endear him to the Authorities of course. But the people received his simple message of love and hope and clung to his life-giving words. They recognized his authority as from God and contrasted this with the oppressive regime of their self-appointed spiritual masters. They loved the simplicity of his message for Jesus spoke clearly and naturally – explaining spiritual truths in terms they could understand and using everyday stories they could identify with. And although he did speak theologically, it was an understandable theology: “Love the Lord your God” he said, “with all your heart, soul mind and strength. And love each other as you love yourself. On these two commands hang all of God’s expectations!”

Keeping it simple (KIS) is liberating and challenging.

It’s also the Way, the Truth and the Life