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.)


Royal Tailor And Capital Kings To Kick Off Spring U-Church Series

Lee University’s U-Church will offer another diverse series of concerts this semester, providing students the opportunity to worship together in a unique chapel format. The line-up includes Royal Tailor featuring Capital Kings this month, Kari Jobe in February, a student-led “Evening of Worship” in March, and Jon Foreman in April. Opening the season this Sunday will be Royal ... (click for more)

Kids Pajama Party Fund Raiser At Hixson United Methodist Jan. 30

Hixson United Methodist Church is hosting a "Frozen Fun with Friends" pajama party including dinner. The cost is $10 for first child, $5 for each additional child.  The event is Friday, Jan. 30 from 6-9:30 p.m. All kids ages infant to 10 years old are invited.  This is a "fun" raiser for HUMCDC.  RSVP required to lanagreen@hixsonumc.org by Jan. 25. (click for more)

Investigators Found Trail Of Blood, Beer Bottles Near Site Of Slaying Of Riverman

An investigator said a trail of blood and beer bottles was near where the lifeless body of 46-year-old Donald Rogers was found in an aluminum fishing boat on April 24, 2012. Detective Robin Langford said when he arrived at the site by boat docks off Johnson Road the body was still in the boat. He said the victim's head and arms were over the side of the boat. Chance Loftis, ... (click for more)

Man Stabbed In Domestic Dispute On Sunrise Lane Saturday Morning

A man was stabbed Saturday morning on Sunrise Lane.   At approximately  11:41  a.m., the Chattanooga Police Department responded to a reported stabbing at 309 Sunrise Lane.  Officers located a 45-year-old black male suffering from a non life-threatening stab wound. The victim was transported to a local hospital for his injury.   The ... (click for more)

Obama Doesn't Want You To Save For College

Over the past few decades, federal aid for post-secondary education has decreased and transitioned largely from grants to guaranteed student loans.   At the same time, the cost of college has far exceeded the cost of inflation creating a situation in which college has become less affordable and causing students to pile up debt that is at an all-time high.   This debt ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Great Peace Pipe

There is a serious rift between our state legislators and Erlanger Hospital that has me worried. If I worry about something, it doubles the power of the worry. My problem? I am convinced we have the best collection of people at the State Legislature in Nashville we’ve ever had – I adore each of them. I am also blessed to believe Erlanger is back on track and, after a sensational ... (click for more)