Monday, May 28, 2012

Word hunting

Last month I attended a large church gathering, a meeting that we in The Episcopal Church call a Provincial Synod.  While there, one of the participants got "dinged" in a comment from the Presiding Bishop for referring to "The National Church."  Sure, I get it: our Church includes those from many other countries, and this is evident especially in settings such as The General Convention -- even though the GC meets in the United States. 

What to call the church instead puzzles me, in part because for years I've filled out applications and grant requests which asked me to list activities in my home church, diocese, province, and -- yes -- national church.  So renaming it is fine, but I'm not coming up with anything better than "wider church."  For now, that's what I'm using on the latest bio I've been asked to send to our province.  But surely there's something more creative.  I've also heard "broader church," but I don't like that any better.  "Broader" also has elicited ridiculous comments about "broads" in the church.  Obviously, I don't find that funny.  I am, though, open to suggestions for another word.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On speaking clearly

Those of us who regularly speak in public -- whether preaching, facilitating a class or group, or making announcements -- should know the importance of clear speech and pronunciation. I think I know this, and certainly learned to be zealous about diction as a singer. So it comes as a surprise when I speak over the phone with my elderly, hard-of-hearing parents, and they cannot understand me.

Me: (after trying to communicate a sentence three times) Maybe you should try your other ear.
Dad: What?
Me: Maybe you should put the phone to your other ear.
Dad: I can't make it out. What?
Dad: Get the phone every other year??

Yes, this is a more complicated issue. My dear folks do not believe that they have a hearing problem. The problem, they say, lies in the bad phone connection, or is caused by the cheap phone from Radio Shack.

Last night, I stopped for an ice cream cone after a long, long day at church. I asked for the ice cream to be served on a PLAIN CONE. I spoke plainly -- or so I thought. The delightful young woman looked confused and asked, "Um, you wanted that on a ... PINE CONE?"

Okay, readers. Please be kind enough to tell me (if you are among those with whom I interact in person) when you do not understand what I have just spoken aloud. Thank you. (Very much.)