Bob Tamasy: Redundancy And Repetition: A Repeating Theme

Sunday, April 28, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Visiting a writers’ networking website, I was intrigued by a post about redundancy in communications. After all, I’ve told myself a million times, over and over, “Don’t repeat yourself. I say it again, do not repeat!”

Various writers chimed in, offering their pet peeves about redundant phrases. For instance, “past history.” Unless you own a time machine or dabble in quantum mechanics in your spare time, you’re not likely to encounter any “future history.” Another was “plan in advance.” When was the last time you did any planning after the fact?

One writer complained about “serious danger.” I’ve always had a preference for not-so-serious danger. Then there’s the ever-popular “total annihilation.” When can you remember worrying about the threat of “partial annihilation”? “Trained professional” is a term that stuck in someone’s craw. This might be debatable, but I’ve always found myself very suspicious of “untrained professionals.”

Someone wondered why describe things as “absolutely perfect,” unless somehow they could be “absolutely imperfect.” And then there’s the term we’ve probably all used at one time or another, “exactly right.” I suppose that’s better than being “inexactly right” or “exactly wrong.” Am I right? Of should I say, “perfectly correct”?

The news media are fond of informing us about the latest “terrible tragedy” – I think that’s so we don’t confuse it with a not-so-bad tragedy. A writer commented on the person that “sprinted fast,” obviously not someone prone to sprinting slowly. Another person, obviously in a cooperative mood, complained about “joint cooperation” and “mutual cooperation.” I’ve never seen “divided cooperation” accomplish much.

Have you ever been the target of an “unexpected surprise”? Obviously, if you had expected it, you wouldn’t have been surprised. Some people say, given the turmoil in society, it’s time to “rise up.” That does sound more effective than rising downward. Maybe what we need to do then is “revert back” – because reverting forward doesn’t seem to be working very well.

I put forth the redundant “general consensus,” unless you’re seeking to distinguish it from Admiral Consensus or Colonel Consensus or even Corporal Consensus. Generally speaking, that is.

But there is one commonly used term that many people fail to regard as redundant: “Born-again Christian.” As I understand it, you can’t be one without being the other.

It’s kind of like saying you’re a female woman, or that you have a canine dog, or you drive an automobile car. (Actually, NASCAR stands in part for Stock Car Auto Racing, but that’s another matter.)

In the original translations of the Bible, the term “Christian” is used only three times, and two of those were by people wondering what to call those “Christ ones” or, as some would term it today, “Jesus freaks.” In Acts 11:26 it says, “The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Then in Acts 26:28, non-believing King Agrippa, interrogating the apostle Paul, observed, “Do you think in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

The apostle Peter does tell his fellow believers, “…if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed…” (1 Peter 4:16). But even then he was acknowledging the threat of enduring persecution for what they professed.

However, the term “born again” is integral to being a follower of Christ. In John 3:3, Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Later in the passage Jesus explained this referred to “everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:7).

Peter also used the term when he assured followers of Christ “you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

Not to get theological, but the Bible teaches to be “born again” is to be a “Christian,” if you choose to use that term. And to be a Christian, in the biblical sense, requires being born again.

So unless you’re fond of talking about insect bugs, feline cats or airplane jets, it might make sense to jettison the redundant term, “born-again Christian."

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.)


Brainerd UMC Hots Birmingham Southern College Concert Choir And Hilltop Singers

The Birmingham Southern College Concert Choir and Hilltop Singers, under the direction of Dr. Lester Seigel will present a concert at Brainerd United Methodist Church at  7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12 .  The concert will feature works by Eric Whitacre, Joseph Haydn, Samuel Barber, Robert Morris, Ernest Bloch, Alice Parker, Robert Shaw, Thomas LaVoy, Daniel Seigel ... (click for more)

BBQ Dinner/Gospel Benefit Is Friday, March 6

There will be a BBQ dinner and gospel concert benefit dinner on Friday, March 6 at New Heights Baptist , 158 Ooltewah Ringgold Road in Ringgold from 4:30-6:30 p.m.  BBQ plates for $5. Gospel Singing starts at 6 p.m., featuring The Hullender Family, Aimee Garner and Rightpath bluegrass.  All proceeds to benefit Charles (Chuck) Waters who was recently diagnosed ... (click for more)

Signal Council, Residents Concerned About Unsafe Driving En Route To Schools

The town council of Signal Mountain is dealing with a traffic problem caused by increased traffic to and from Signal Mountain Middle High School and Nolan Elementary. Mayor Dick Gee said, “This is a tough issue that we wouldn’t have to deal with if everyone would drive responsibly.” The main concern is for safety and in November the council agreed to try to fix the problem by ... (click for more)

88-Year-Old Woman In Bradley County Severely Burned After Going Back In Burning House For Pets

Two people were injured in a house fire in Bradley County on Friday.   Shortly before noon, Bradley County EMS responded to a reported house fire on Hancock Road.   Two ambulances and a shift commander responded. Initial reports were that there were two people injured. When EMS crews arrived, Bradley County firefighters were performing resuscitative ... (click for more)

We Ought To Pay Our Own Way

The government is too big. It has never been bigger - by any measure. It spends more money than any other single actor in our society. From Blue Rhinos to providing telecommunications services, our government knows no bounds. We’ve gone from a free enterprise system to a public enterprise system.  I'm not an artist. I'm not terribly tech savvy. The part of government that ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Secret Train Ride

It was during Christmas of 2003 when Bennett Levin and his wife found themselves talking and worrying about the wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Military Hospital in Bethesda, Md., and at the nearby Bethesda Naval Hospital. Their wish was that they could do something meaningful, something really grand, for the soldiers who had lost limbs, their eyesight, and far worse. As ... (click for more)