mind your language

Regular bloggists here will know that I love language, and I am fascinated by the way it evolves. I have even attempted to introduce new words and concepts into the English language (bloggist, bloggage, technoloiterate, for example) but so far to no avail. I wonder what it is about a new word that enables it to make the transition from local use to global acceptance (you know it has ‘made it’ when it is accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary, or it stops being underlined in red by computer spellcheckers).

Recently, however, a new phrase has come along that jars with me. It grates. Something about it just feels a bit slippery – almost as if it is the result of ‘spin’. The phrase in question is ‘pre-loved’. If you have not come across it before it is now being used to replace ‘second hand’. It comes alongside ‘vintage’ and ‘recycled’ as a euphemism that is trying to overcome the snobbish stigma that seems to have emerged about ‘second hand’ goods. Does something as simple as changing ‘second hand’ to ‘pre-loved’ change our attitude towards it?

And then, reflecting further on this, I wondered whether we are, in fact, pre-loved. Not in the sense of us being reincarnated, but the sense within the Bible that God knew us and loved us even before we were born.

Psalm 139 includes these words:

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

And Jeremiah 1 begins with:

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

So perhaps before I get too concerned about things being pre-loved I should accept that I am pre-loved myself! How does that make you feel?

Be blessed, be a blessing

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