What’s In a Phrase?
Lately I’ve been noticing how many common idioms use the language of extraction, exploitation, coercion or hierarchy:
- Pipeline to Leadership
- Drill a Little Deeper
- Firehose of Information
- Canary in the Coalmine
- Changing of the Guard
- Burn the Candle at Both Ends
- Rank and File
Most – if not all – of our current social ills (war, the climate crisis, racism, immigration, economic inequality, for-profit healthcare, for-profit schools, mass incarceration) are a result of a worldview that looks at both people and planet as things to be used to profit those who have more power.
I’ve been encouraging myself to notice when I use these or similar terms and find a better phrase that is in alignment with our theological values of mutuality, creativity and interconnection.
- Nurturing Future Leaders
- Let’s Deepen our Understanding
- Learn from One Another
- Let’s check in on How We are All Doing
- Shared Leadership
- Take Time to Rest
You might remember this quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his Letter from Birmingham Jail”
“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All ... are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be...This is the inter-related structure of reality.”
Using the values mutuality, creativity and interconnection as touchstones in our faith will help us “extract” ourselves from extraction/exploitation language and move us closer to the Beloved Community.