Just because there is plenty of other limp jargon out there…..
I did think about stopping talking about jargon during Holy Week but then I thought if jargon is merely words that people use unwittingly to express a whole lexicon of meaning in a single word/words, lets apply it to today. Ok, how about ‘After Jesus had shared the bread and wine, he said ‘I commend this practice to you’.
He never did, did he? The actions of this day are forceful verbs; words that mean something and imply some hard committment. This is my last example of Methodist jargon (and I wonder what other denominations use this almost meaningless, ‘soft’ word) and it is a word that I have little clue as to what it means when it is used:-
‘I commend this practice to you’
‘This report is commended for your reading’
‘Let me commend to you’.
I mean, no one actually uses this word in normal speech do they? I can understand someone saying ‘This practice speaks to me; have a go in your own life’ or ‘There is some important stuff in this report; read it’ or even ‘Try this out.’ All of those phrases have a bit of force to them (ok I use ‘stuff’ as jargon. But that word is endearing; just like me) and have a bit of ‘go’ to them. I might not like what you are asking me to do, but at least your use of words engenders a reaction.
But ‘commend’? The word is bland; if it were a colour it would be beige- if it were coffee it would be Mellow Bird’s (coffee for people who don’t like the taste of coffee… ok my tongue is firmly in my cheek), if it were music it would be ‘Micheal Bolton’s Greatest Hits on the panpipes’. Pleasant, inoffensive lexical wallpaper, but ultimately meaning or signifying nothing.
Whenever I hear it, I blanche (usually as a good introvert, inwardly) and whenever I read it it says to me ‘I honestly have no feelings of any depth about this practice/report/ book/instruction but thought I better use some verb; feel free to ignore it at your leisure’. I could say that I think of the user ‘and when did you last speak to someone outside the church bubble and have to gain a hearing?’; but as a good ordained person I do not think such base and uncharitable thoughts.
If you are in the habit of using this verb as you can’t think of another one to use- well then I commend this blog posting to you.