Sunday, September 24, 2017
Grammar

‘Come to Jesus’ Really is a ‘Thing,’ The Dictionary Says

The phrase ‘come to Jesus,’ which has been around for some time, has now made its way to the dictionary, along with an alternate meaning for ‘thing.’

It’s official: ‘Come to Jesus’ is a legitimate phrase. (At least, if you definite “legitimate” as being in the dictionary. I don’t.)

The Oxford English Dictionary recently added the phrase.

It’s often used before words like moment or meeting, expresses a genuine, soul-searching discussion that will hopefully provoke a shift in thinking or plan of action. The hope of a “Come to Jesus meeting,” for example, is an honest exchange of ideas that eases tensions.

It’s inspired, of course, by Christian prayer to Jesus Christ in which the person praying confesses his or her sins.

The dictionary version isn’t so much about confessing sins as much as just opening dialog, although any such admission of guilt or failure in a powderkeg situation might go a long way in resolving a crisis faster and with fewer problems.

Another recent entry to the authoritative dictionary is an alternate meaning of the word thing.

I chuckle at a memory of an exchange between Captain James T. Kirk and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy from Star Trek: The Motion Picture:

Kirk: Bones, there’s a… thing… out there —
McCoy: Why is any object we don’t understand always called “a thing”?

In this case, the thing is a well-known object or entity. This definition refers to something that has gained some degree of fame, notoriety or status to the extent that people might be generally familiar with it. And get this: Vibe reports research into the earliest use of the particular phrasing led OED editors to realize it was originally used in Aaron Sorkin’s critically acclaimed drama The West Wing.

Somehow, I thought it would have been a bit older than that, but then again, I guess that show left the air 11 years ago, so maybe that’s about right.

Do you use either of these phrases?

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Patrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.