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Have you ever heard so many new terms invading the vernacular these days? I’m sure the dictionary publishers are pulling their hair out by the roots, trying to keep up.

I’ve always been somewhat of an avid observer of some of the latest terms and jargon that infiltrate our language. Kids in the ’50s said, “Like wow, daddio! He’s a real cool cat.” In the ’60s it was “Right on, man!” and “Far out.”

In the ’90s and 2000s, it was “as if” or “whatever.” Hollywood has been (and still is) a driving force in shaping our vernacular. It seems that today the political world – and COVID-19 – have introduced a few terms into our world of words. Like for example, “social distancing,” “sanitize.”

May I challenge you to, some day when you don’t have a lot on your mind, to count the times you hear, either on TV or someone in person say, “tested positive.” I’ve already heard it three times on the news since I sat down to write this article. Today we are having “in person” school, “in person” church services.

We now have “drive-up” restaurants, “drive-up” grocery shopping. School classes and even Sunday school classes have had Zoom meetings – as do corporate boards and committees.

My wife Carolyn and I always travel to east Texas in October for her big family reunion. But this year, they decided to have it by Zoom. Only problem with that was, there was no potluck dinner unless we ate a corn dog while watching the computer screen.

Oh and that reminds me of another term that has exploded onto the scene: “live streaming.” Did you know that COVID-19 (which in itself is another one of those terms bombarding us today) has single-handedly made almost every pastor/priest/rabbi in the nation an instant televangelist? Self included.

For three months, I preached from my desk in my study – wearing shorts – but with a coat and tie for the camera. For three months, pastors, who stand behind their pulpits, have preached to a bunch of empty pews – but we beam it out on our website, YouTube and Facebook.

I noticed that Facebook displays the number of views, which means some may listen to the sermon in its entirety, or they might click onto it for a moment and then go to some other site. But it was fun to say, “We had 785 people in worship last week.” That was a far cry from the usual 75 to 80.

But honestly, the most overused and, to me, the most annoying term I hear is the word “re-imagining.” I heard some political pundit talking a few months ago about “re-imagining” the Alamo. Re-imagining the Alamo? Are they going to convert it to a bowling alley or a skating rink?

There has been a lot of talk (disturbing talk as far as I’m concerned) about re-imagining law enforcement. For example, if there a violent domestic squabble at a house, it has been discussed that perhaps they could send counselors instead of cops. If things get violently out of hand, they can just scream, “Please stop and let me read to you from my psychology book!” That will certainly go a long way in making us safe.

I think “re-imagining” is code for “we are going to fundamentally transform something.” There have been great efforts throughout the generations to fundamentally transform political, economic, cultural and religious systems.

Sometimes people made the ultimate sacrifice to “re-imagine” a system. William Tyndale, the renowned Bible translator from England in the 16th century, upended the religious world when he translated the scripture into English. He was executed for his services, but the religious world was forever changed. I think you could say he “re-imagined” the presentation of the gospel.

As for me? I’m still stuck in the “cool cat” generation. Like wow, daddio!

Paul Gauntt is a frequent guest columnist to the Waxahachie Sun. He is the author of “Highway 84,” which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and wherever books are sold. Contact him at pop.gauntt@gmail.com.

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