Monday, June 04, 2018

Thought for the Day

As delivered this morning (I was an emergency replacement) at BBC Radio Bristol's Breakfast with Emma Britton:

For a few years in a previous life I made a decent living re-writing organisations' publicity material into plain English. It struck me as amazing how few people ever asked someone from outside to do this. More than one person told me that there was no way I could ever understand their organisation because I was an outsider. After a while I smiled sweetly (I can do that with a run up) and asked 'So what chance have your customers got then?' Well it got me some work (beat) plus a few new enemies.

Yesterday, tapping into my previous life-skills, I drew a time-line on the wall of our church meeting room using a long strip of lining paper. And in five minutes I did the whole 2000 year back story of Jesus from Abraham to Bethlehem.

More than a few people told me they had understood something for the first time. Why? Because it was simple and visual.

Fact is everyone, and the church may be one of the worst offenders, ends up with a bit of insider language to use as a short cut - radio studios, the medical profession, TV shows, even auction houses and clock decorators. We all use fancy language which only insiders understand.

Yet when a problem comes along like an unpaid debt our language gets very simple - pay me what you owe. Kids get this. Number one child complaint in the whole world (all together now) 'It's not fair.'

So pay what you owe, figure out Jesus and try to be fair. Pretty basic thought for the day. Also (as someone once said):

Don't use a big word when a singularly unloquacious and diminutive linguistic expression will satisfactorily accomplish the contemporary necessity.

And having made it through that much-rehearsed final sentence I raised both hands in the air (which doesn't really work on the radio) and headed to the gym.

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