Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Inflation

When it comes to money, inflation is an increase in the amount of money in relation to the goods to be purchased so that the price of goods rises and the unit of money is worth less. In some nations, today, the inflation rate is so high (100% a year) that in a few years it takes thousands of dollars to buy what one dollar used to buy.

I do not wish to talk about money. Inflation occurs in other things.

It occurs in the definition of words. A word is used so frequently and so broadly that the word becomes meaningless and worthless. An example is the use of the word “like.” It may occur several times in a short-spoken paragraph. It has no definition whatsoever. It becomes a worthless word.

There are words that at one time described things that were old, rare, or beautiful or beyond comparison. An example is the word “classic.” It has become a common word. Today, it can describe a basketball tournament in Alaska, a can of Coca Cola, or a 30 year-old automobile.

Another word is “awesome.” It originated in 1598. It meant “expressive of awe” or “inspiring awe.” Later, it meant “extraordinary” or “better than usual.” Now it is used for the “usual” hoping that the use of the word will make the event “extraordinary.” Inflated words do not increase the value of the thing spoken. They decrease the value of the word.

The word Christian lost its value many years ago. To bring its value back, other words were added like “born again” and “Spirit filled.” They, in turn, have lost their value, because applying the words “born again” does not make a person “born again.” Applying the words “Spirit filled” does not make a person “Spirit filled.” Saying the words more often, further devalue them.

What is the solution? In currency inflation, there are several solutions.

We can:
1. increase the interest rate for borrowing money.
2. print less money
3. trade in real property.

In word inflation, we cannot increase the interest rate. People do not borrow words at interest.

However, we can use words less. Certainly, we can quit using important, valuable words for unimportant things in order to make the things seem more important. We might try using understatements.

We can trade in real property. That is, instead of talking about being “Spirit filled,” we could be Spirit filled.

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