Walking the line between nerd and cool.


Tim is interested in hearing more about my sister’s short comment about our kitties.  It might appear again, so here’s a quick primer for everyone else as well…

  • It comes from the Zeitz family, at least as far as I’m concerned.  That would be my Mom’s family.  How it got started there is unclear to me.  Perhaps Mom will tell us in the comments…
  • It’s spelled M – U – H. 
  • Sometimes it is spelled and said together: “M – U – H, Muh!”
  • Sometimes it’s on you: “Muh on Jason!”
  • Sometimes you are one: “Jason is a Muh!”
  • Sometimes it’s both: “Muh on Jason, Jason is a Muh!”
  • It’s not mean.
  • Jaime thinks it means “Sucks to be you,” but she’s an outsider, not raised in the Muh tradition.  She’s learning though.  Around 10 years of exposure and she’s starting to get it down.  I think she still secretly thinks she’s right about the meaning, but she plays along.
  • It works when you don’t know what else to say about a situation, but it’s best to know your audience and whether they can take the “Muh” at that time.

Now you know a bit more about my family “Muh” tradition and could probably survive a Zeitz family party. 

You also might now have a sense for what an unbeliever feels when they walk into our church with so many strange phrases, symbols and traditions that we just “know” because we grew up in the family.  Maybe this is why Paul went to people in their culture to share the Gospel with them.  Maybe we should speak their language instead of expecting them to know ours.


6 responses

  1. Joe Z

    Hmm, good comment on the phrases and traditions. I would elaborate but I have to meet someone in the Narthex to talk about the paraments stored in the Sacristy. We also had a brief discussion on Maundy Thursday about the Lectionary. Wonder what the Synod thinks about this? Am I being led by the Spirit in all this?

    Less jargon = more welcoming… 😉

    April 16, 2008 at 10:52 am

  2. Kathy

    I say Muh on Joe!

    April 16, 2008 at 11:51 am

  3. I’d say less meaningless jargon is a good thing. I didn’t give up my family “Muh” tradition, I just realize that I have to bring others into it and help them understand.

    For the church, some of our jargon can be thrown out while other terms/ideas/concepts are too important and so we keep them but help new people understand what it means and why we have it. Symbols are helpful for understanding the faith, but difficult for a new person to “get.” We should keep them, but we need to disciple the new people into understanding them in a way that doesn’t make them feel like an outsider.

    April 16, 2008 at 1:32 pm

  4. Alicia Zimmerman

    As far as “meaningless jargon” is concerned, most would say that you could use other more widely accepted words instead of a word only your family knows. It started in your little circle, was unknown by everyone else, and now you want to spread YOUR word to others?? I feel like that’s elitist and haughty. I think it should be the other way around if you are going to be “welcoming.” It still annoys me that the Lutheran and Catholic churches (who knows, maybe there are others) have all these special names for stuff and those who don’t know those names feel less “involved” in the religion. That shouldn’t be. I think if Jesus were on earth as a man NOW, he’d have one of those “what do you think is more important” lessons to keep the focus where it needs to be–on Him and doing His work–not some bizarre words that alienate believers and non-believers alike.

    April 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm

  5. Thanks for the comments everyone!

    Lutheran and Catholic churches don’t have a monopoly on “churchy” words. All churches have their “churchy” words. Words from your own tradition (be it church, family, work, whatever) don’t sound strange, but someone who has never been to church can walk into any church/worship place (Christian or otherwise) and encounter words unfamiliar to them. There are lots of problems with removing all churchy words from the church:

    First, if we try to remove all words that are unfamiliar to anyone, we’ll be left with no words to communicate deep thoughts and concepts. We simply can’t lose words like Trinity or Baptism. These are words we should keep. Words like Propitiatory could easily fall (and thankfully has!) from common usage.

    Second, some words can’t be reduced to a more common one and retain the full force of their meaning. Redeemed, for example, is often replaced with saved. It does include the idea of being saved, but it’s more than that too. Redeemed carries the meaning of having a price paid to secure release, as in the case of a convicted criminal. Saved implies that God could rescue us without paying a price, but redeemed more accurately reflects that God DID pay a price for us, namely the death of his son.

    Should we talk about how God saves us among new and unbelievers? Certainly. Would I expect them to know what redeemed means? Not necessarily. Should we teach them what redeemed means? Definitely. In the process of teaching, we have an opportunity to more clearly explain our relationship with our Savior. That deeper understanding will hopefully lead to a renewed or deepened gratitude for God’s great grace (another word we can’t lose!) toward us.

    I’d be very grateful to someone who saved me from certain death. I’d be even more grateful if I knew they gave up their son to do it.

    April 16, 2008 at 8:24 pm

  6. Pingback: Steve & Eydie are on YouTube??!?! « The Change…

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