One Careless Acronym: OM*G

22 08 2011

This is the day of being succinct; because of our posting, tweeting, texting habits the things we say become more and more abbreviated. So much of what we say now has been condensed to single letters and acronyms; I need not illustrate do I? Let’s just say, if you don’t know what TTYL, LOL, BTW, TBH means and if you don’t tend to key “u” instead of “you” then this might not be the most relevant post for you.

There are some less tasteful acronyms. I wonder, do people even think about what they write half the time? What they put in print; there forever? I get how we can say things carelessly – words slip off our tongue because we don’t grab a hold of them quickly enough; but writing? Writing you have to consciously type letters one by one and then, in most cases, hit send. It has the potential to save us a lot of trouble and prevent a lot of offense, but people being what people are: we aren’t that smart.

So there’s the pretty common OMG (Oh My God). Growing up, if I would have said OMG there would have followed a moment of horrified silence by 90% of the people I knew. I myself would have felt the gravity of using God’s name “in vain,” meaning carelessly, without respect and honor. In my own young heart I would have felt grieved if I had said it; like I had hurt a good friend.

I am surprised at how deep this goes with me still. It catches me when I hear it; especially from those of us who know better. When did we become ok with OMG becoming part of our vernacular? I don’t know if my kids are saying it in the background, but if they slip up and say it within ear-shot of me, it is one of the few times something fierce rises up in me and I respond with a fair bit of horsepower. I can’t respond to everyone around me, but I can surely avoid the disrespect from my own.

I know we could talk about how close we come to saying it in other ways, using substitute words, which are just a notch away from the real thing. I don’t know really where to go with that. But as far as it is up to me, I really work hard to not let “the real thing,” the everyday OMG, become commonplace to me.

So now let me get to the thing that just pounded me last night and is still with me this morning. It isn’t like I haven’t seen it before and heard it the odd time but for some reason I was just gripped by the great disrespect, the absolute thoughtlessness, the irreverent and profane nature of this acronym: OM*G. I put the asterisk in there because the actual letter is pretty appalling if you think about it.

If you think about it.

What really, really bothers me – if I think about it — is that I know most people are writing this without giving it one, single, solitary thought. It’s just an acronym. It is OMG with some finesse and “God” is nothing to them one way or the other. I am more than bothered about that; bothered that they can use an incredibly crude word and place it next to the name of One who is pure love.

And I am bothered that I and my community have not represented Him well enough so that an acronym like OM*G would not be generally offensive to more people, people who don’t even know God but know there is something about Him they wouldn’t want to dishonor.

OM*G is a repugnant acronym in light of the faithfulness of God to a wayward world. It is mud in the eye of the One who relentlessly pursues those who refuse Him, like a Father waiting for His child’s return long after they have said they want no part of Him.

OM*G puts God on the same level as the small “g” gods made of metal and wood, plaster and paper; the ones we fashion and imagine their biographies; where gods are fickle and unappeasable, unbalanced and unpredictable, selfish, incestuous, adulterous.

OM*G does not describe in any way The God, The Creator of All whose lavish love is available to all who would receive it. I feel so grieved about that acronym. It is one of the insults Christ knew He would be scarred by as He willingly became defenseless against it, carrying it and many others to the cross to crucify it there and provide a way for us to be forgiven of it. He would see those words before we ever wrote them and say, “Forgive them; they know not what they do.”

I don’t really have much more to say about it. It’s just nagging at me, the fact that someone could write that, post that, and we just read it as part of a sentence.

“We speak with ruined tongues.” — (Bright Eyes)

— Teresa Klassen

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