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Faith Ministry Stories

Express Yourself!

Posted by Pastor John Klawiter on

Talk to the hand! Wassup!

If you were alive in the 90’s, these phrases were not only familiar, but talking this way was “fly”.

For example, did Oral Roberts University bust your bracket last weekend? If the Golden Eagles were gonna party like it’s 1999, they would be gettin’ jiggy with it while jumping on center court pumping their arms towards the sky as if they were literally using a jack to hoist the ceiling.

And thus, the phrase and gesture of “raising the roof” was born. Saying that today would make you sound really cool… not!

I tend to think back to the 90’s with fond memories. I remember the good stuff. Sun-in to bleach my hair. However, many words and expressions we used in the 1990’s have not all stood the test of time. That’s ok. Being human means changing and adapting.

Today, I need to Google phrases I hear teenagers use. It’s like a 2nd language. I want to know what’s being said and make sure I don’t make a faux pas and say something inappropriate!

What expressions will we remember when we look back at this era?

These unprecedented times have given us terms like abundance of caution, pivot, and... unprecedented times. But we’ve also experienced protests and terms like cancel culture. During a global pandemic, social issues and equity disparities have all come to the forefront. Strong opinions on how to move forward are unavoidable. 

It’s not a coincidence that the origin of this pandemic, China, has now subjected people of Asian descent to bullying and racial profiling. Hate crimes are prevalent. Former NBA star Jeremy Lin was called “Coronavirus” by an opposing player recently.  

The son of a Southern Baptist lay leader allegedly killed 8 people by targeting Asian spas in Atlanta. An eyewitness said he overheard the suspect say "I will kill all Asians.” 1

Terms like “China-virus” create more unnecessary divide. When I’ve heard the term used, it’s loaded with blame towards China. In turn, Asians around the world bear the brunt of the racial undertones.  

There’s a lot of weariness and pandemic fatigue. Having constructive conversations about language is more challenging than ever with short fuses and deeply ingrained stereotypes of the “other”.     

The newest buzzword is resilience. I like that. Especially for the church, we need to be resilient as expectations are constantly changing.

Churches are not known for being fluid and adaptable. Sometimes, it feels impossible to keep up. But we need to talk about these challenging topics. Not to assign blame or dig deeper into our own trenches of belief but to learn and grow from our neighbor.

The goal is not for us all to become the same. The goal is to become aware that we are different. I am not threatened or lose anything because you have values, beliefs, or identity that is different than me.

I’m hopeful that this pandemic has planted seeds of change that will continue bearing fruit in the future.

Change is never easy. But change is important. I believe we’re resilient enough to make those changes together.

Adopting those changes on a large scale would be all that and a bag of chips. Sorry, 90’s, you can keep that one, too.    

Pastor John's monthly column will appear in the Forest Lake Times on March 25th. 


1  https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/03/18/atlanta-shootings-strike-fear-asian-american-community