Interpretative Labeling

Looking West down Howard Avenue at Lameuse Str...

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Southerners are their own group when it comes to talking. No one can talk quite like a Southerner, especially a Northern actor playing a Southerner, and that’s not even beginning to touch any actor not from New Orleans playing someone from Nawlins. In addition to just our drawl and accents, we have two more bad linguistic points.

One, we believe it to be our right to mispronounce ANYTHING, except you’d better not mispronounce our names/labels. In my home town of Biloxi (it’s Bill-uh-xe, not Bill-ox-e) we had Reynoir (pardon my french pronuciation attempt, rin-waa) which we pronounce rain-are, Caillavett (kaileevette) or Ki-vet, and used to have both Beauvoir (Bo-vo-ah) and Buena Vista (bu-ee-na vees-ta) meaning beautiful view that are massacred into Bovore and Beuna Vista. The picture here is looking down what is now known as the Vieux Marche (pronounced view mar-shay, though not in its native french), and another oddity is Point Cadet (pronounced Point Caddy). I can speak these much better then I can ever type them.

The second is our phrases, such as naked (pronounced nekkid) as a jaybird (nude), flat-out (meaning as fast as you can), ’bout as much chance as a kerosene cat in hell with gasoline drawers on (not going to happen), and others. In fact, I was 14 before I found out that damn Yankee was two words.

Our churches are no different. During the War Between the States the Baptists and Methodists split. Afterwards the Methodists rejoined, giving us the United Methodists, but we Baptists, ever the free-spirited, remain split. Interestingly though, both Baptists and Southern Baptists tend to agree on a few linguistic choices. Once we outgrow our sanctuary and build a newer bigger building we call the old sanctuary the “Fellowship Hall.” Oftentimes it is surrounded or borders our Family Life Building (Recreation Hall), which in turn contains our MPR or Multi-Purpose Room (gym). We have an altar (stairs to the stage) at the front of the sanctuary, and we share (gossip) in Sunday School. Well, not share as much as we ask prayer for others because they are…(list gossip-worthy transgressions here). While we don’t subscribe to concept of transmogrification, we do believe in partial transmogrification because we use grape juice (wine) when we have the Lord’s Supper (Communion). I’m not entirely serious when I say that the Baptist word for sprinkler is Methodist, but a more serious definition is that we call dance interpretative movement.

That is a little simplistic of course, because as Baptist we feel dance is wrong, but interpretive movement is fine. Problem is, it’s the same thing. And while anyone who is not a believer may look at this point (or this whole post) and say that it is a perfect example of the non-logic and therefore proof (though the two are not the same thing) of the errors in organized religions, I present that this is merely one of those “small points” rather than a larger truth that churches can argue over. Certain concepts are not to be argued over, but the finer distinctions between denominations (like dance) are open game.

Jesus never said not to dance, but our modern-day legalism believes dancing can lead to sinning with the whole ‘vertical expression of a horizontal desire’ reasoning. It’s a gateway activity. While I don’t kid myself into thinking that the Baptist church will one day accept with open arms dance, calling it anything other than interpretive movement, or even remove it from the list of don’ts, it does seem to gain traction as an activity each year. It remains one of those areas open for argument, or discussion if you prefer. Not quite on the level with the full immersion versus sprinkling concept, but open nonetheless.



Filed under Parallel Points

5 responses to “Interpretative Labeling

  1. Pingback: Redundant Repetition | The Hole on the End of the Bible Belt

  2. Pingback: Cut It Short | The Hole on the End of the Bible Belt

  3. I remember just after I joined the Baptist church, you taught me how to “speak Baptist.” You hit on most of what you told me, but the one that always cracks people up is “Baptists don’t gossip; they share prayer requests.”

  4. I grew up in the Methodist church and never knew why it was called “United”. Thanks for the mini-history lesson. As for our brand of “talk”, I think it was Jeff Foxworthy who said that the difference between “naked” and “nekkid” is that “naked” means you have no clothes on and “nekkid” means no clothes on but you’re up to something. And even though I’m an honorary Yankee, “fixin’ to” will never leave my vocabulary! Keep right on writing and moving creatively 🙂

    • To be honest, I never completely checked out the person that told me that. Well, other than asking around and never finding a Southern Methodist church.

      In the phrase naked as a jaybird something is going on. It can be an everyday phrase, but usually comes in the middle of a prayer request or other “sharing” opportunity.

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