lost language

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I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but the quaint restaurant had only four or five tables with people finishing their late dinners. I had worked late and was eating alone which is very rare for me.

My wife and youngest were out of town and the two big girls were doing their own thing. I went as much to see my buddy Brad, who runs the place, as I was in need of something to eat.

In between chats I clearly heard some interesting conversations. The party of four just to my left were having fun visiting and catching up with neighbors. Well, three were doing the catching and one was doing the pitching. Have you ever heard a conversation where one person seems to be dominating it?

I’m not sure what her real name was, but her husband’s name was Greg. My guess is that she was the only one in the world that referred to him as Gregory. As she carried the conversation giving her trapped audience a play by play, chapter by chapter, accounting of her “Gregory’s” life, I was taken by her accent.

I’m not sure what the accent is called, I think it used to be called “Yuppy”? But I thought the language was pretty much extinct? A lost language. Not so…

As Muffy spoke, thoughts of Thurston Howell The 3rd came to mind. The reader might know the voice better as Jim Backus who was also the voice of Mr. McGoo, but the accent was from when Backus played the millionaire on Gilligan’s Island.

For the younger reader, it might be better remembered from the role of Winthorp, from the movie Trading Places, played by Dan Aykroyd that calls to mind the accent in question.

As Muffy continued to share Gregory’s silly escapades while, at Stanford, her words grew like balloons in sound at the ends of each word. I had my ear tuned, in order to hear mother of all words in the almost lost art of Yuppy speak. That perfect and favorite word for them is “gauche.”

As I recall, gauche covers just about anything or anybody they don’t like or aren’t like them.

Like many of us, we tend to be drawn to people we have things in common with. If we happen to excel at a particular task or subject, we will naturally put more emphasis on it.

In truth, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying a gift given to us by God and working to develop the gift. The problem occurs I think when what we have or what we do with those gifts comes to define our lives.

The shallow lives of many of those people are defined by their culture. The culture of success and sophistication become the thing the yuppies’ worship. In fairness to the culture of people who like to take twice as long to pronounce their words, I wonder if we as Christians act so differently?

Sure we understand our gifts were provided by God to all of us. We also grasp that He gave us free will in order to acknowledge Him and use our choice of discipline and perseverance in order to hone our gifts.

The problem I see in the modern church is the majority of us are speaking our religious talk and somehow exclude the lost from our exclusive world. Like the yupsters, we don’t invite them into our inner circle until they’ve somehow earned enough culture of Christianity and the sophistication to be sworn in.

For those of us inside our privileged club already know that this kind of attitude and action break the foundational bylaws of our Christian Club. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

It starts with grace… I just need to be reminded once in a while…

Lest I be considered “gauche” by the only One who really matters…