Cool Words

I have a pen in front of me that says “Liquid Gel Ink” on the side. Liquid Gel? What is that? Gel is kind of half way between liquid and solid. So is Liquid Gel half way between liquid and gel? I have this urge to cut the pen open and see what this mystery ink is, but I’m afraid of the mess I’ll have to clean up. Maybe after I use more of the ink out of the pen. Plus it’s kind of a good pen.

I think marketers reuse existing words to describe new inventions, when in reality they should get a new word. Take for instance gel pens. What is the difference between gel ink and regular ink? I supposed a quick internet search will reveal that answer, but it’s more fun to think about it bit first. When I think of gel, I think of something that is too thick to be used as ink, it wouldn’t flow out of the pen properly. So gel ink must be a very liquidy (there’s a new word for you) gel. Maybe a better description would be a thick liquid.

But there’s the problem. Thick liquid is not cool. In fact when I think of thick liquids most of them are gross. More like gunk than gel. Who wants gunk in their pen? On the other hand, gel is cool. Hair gel makes you look better. The gel in the wrist rest at your keyboard is helpful. Gel is good, maybe even cool. Gunk is decidedly uncool. So the marketer uses the term “liquid gel” – even though it’s probably not an accurate description – it’s a description we understand that might even be cool.

So where does this leave the person who is trying to communicate the truths of a loving God? Are we so busy trying to find cool descriptions that we miscommunicate? Do we use words that are technically accurate, but fail to make a connection or an impact? Maybe that’s why Jesus told so many stories. Stories capture our attention and make an impact. Stories definitely communicate in a way that a technical description never could.

How do you communicate the good news? Do you have great stories about God that you can tell? Not something that happened way back when, but current stories. It’s definitely worth pondering about…

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