Five Lesser Known Southern Expressions

You may have never heard or understood these five lesser known southern tendencies related to our (superior) command of the English language.

  1. In the South, you don’t just go to “THE grocery store,” but you go to “THE Bi-Lo” or “the THE Piggly Wiggly” or “THE Publix.”
  2. In the South, you presume the person you’re talking with has the astonishingly accurate ability to finish your thoughts for you. For example, “So after I dropped the kids off at school, I went to the Bi-Lo and bought fruit AND ALL.”
  3. In the South, instead of saying, “I was once able” you say “I used-ta-could.” For example, “After the accident, I can’t play tennis any more … but I used-ta-could.”
  4. In the South, you equate a time of material or circumstantial abundance with the height of cotton plants. For example, “Once Jimmy John closed that deal with the catfish farmer, we were in high cotton!”
  5. Finally, in the South, you occasionally interchange vowel sounds in two-word phrases for comedic effect. For example, instead of “It’s hotter than blue blazes in here,” you say, “It’s hotter than blay bluzes in here.”

What are some of your favorite things about language in the South?

A Peek Inside My 1 Year-Old Daughter’s Mind

At various times throughout the day, I’m quite certain my now 1 year-old little girl thinks any one or all of these things … because I, like so few men when it comes to women, can read her mind ;-)

  • No, parents: a cup of whole milk yogurt, an entire banana, and a pint of blueberries is NOT enough for breakfast!
  • I’ll be taking those glasses off of your face now, thank you.
  • That Jono … he’s crazy. I like him.
  • Open your mouth so I can rummage around in there.
  • I know my diapers can be be bad, but they are nothing compared to your sweaty head after you workout.
  • No matter what you want me to do, you KNOW it has to be my idea if I’m going to do it, so just chill out.
  • Meat, people. I want meat. I cut teeth for a reason, you know.
  • Where’s that other guy … you know, the sensitive, absent-minded one who loves to insure my happiness at all costs? TREY?!
  • Anything you can do I can do … eventually.
  • No one understands me better than the person I am able to convince to see my side of things.
  • So help me, if you put me in that car seat again, I will go ballistic on you.
  • Of course I want to take a bath! Where else can a girl relax and go poop?!
  • Do you honestly expect me to sleep without my green blanket? I didn’t think so.

Here and Back Again: Reflections on being a Foster Parent

Southern Fried Faith:

It was about this time 3 years ago that we said “Goodbye!” to Lulu and Jo-Jo in the parking of Target in Lexington, SC. We still proudly display our family portrait taken at Lake Murray Baptist Church with those incredible girls. We love them, miss them, and are reminded to pray for them and for foster kids everywhere.

Originally posted on Southern Fried Faith:

At noon on a Thursday in mid-May 2010, we received a phone call that our foster care license was active.  With significant limitations placed on the agency with regard to the kinds of kids we could take, I was extremely skeptical that we would ever receive a placement.

At 3:30 that same afternoon, we received another phone call asking us to pick up two African-American/Hispanic sisters, ages 2 and 3.

446 days later, we now know they will be returning home very shortly.

They are leaving as quickly as they came.  They were here, but now they are back again. It’s a new reality worthy of a few reflections.

First, blaming foster kids for how God is using them to refine you is a pretty horrible way to be a foster parent.  At the peak of my frustration as a foster parent, I was an angry, bitter, mean dad…

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Sometimes It’s Easier to Believe We Are Better Than Other People Than to Believe the Gospel

I don’t have a file cabinet in my office at the moment, so inside of a cardboard file box in my home is file labeled “notes of encouragement.” There are dozens if not hundreds of cards and letters that I received over the last 15 years or so of church ministry. Every now and then, I will pull those notes out and read them again in order to be encouraged or inspired during difficult times.

I don’t have a folder for all the notes and letters I received from people expressing anger, frustration or bitterness. I eventually trashed those. If they were sent anonymously, I didn’t read them at all. If they were signed, and if church members wrote them, I tried my level best to deal with the issues in a biblical fashion. Because sinners and unbelievers were involved (including me), results varied. Some conflicts were resolved beautifully in a way that truly glorified Jesus. Others, like the following conflict, ended sadly.

Less than two months into one pastorate, I received a relatively long, typewritten letter from a member that detailed all of the reasons three of the other ministers on staff should have been fired. The allegations were not broad or generic, but specific and detailed. With the letter in hand, I met individually with each staff member and went through his or her version of events. Each of them agreed to meet with the accuser, so I took my notes and the letter back in to my office and called the church member.

The conversation that ensued was not a pleasant one. This person had no interest in resolving the issues, nor did they desire to live in biblical community with church leaders. The purpose in writing was to equip me with the “truth” so that I could do their bidding. This individual was aggressive in writing the letter to me, defensive when confronted, dodged every attempt I made to reconcile, and pretended like nothing happened for a few weeks before leaving the church.

We have all been there. Sometimes it’s easier to believe that we are better than other people than it is to believe the gospel.

Read more in Southern Fried Faith.

Five Insights into Idolatry

Great stuff here from J. D. Greear.

1. An idol is anything that promises a life of security and joy apart from God.

In Acts 19, Artemis is described as the “protector” and “prosperer” of Ephesus. With her, the Ephesians believed, they were guaranteed security and joy. This false hope is precisely what makes an idol an idol. Idols are not usually bad things, but good things that have become ultimate things—things you believe guarantee you joy and security.

What is that in your life? About what do you think, “As long as I have this, I’ll have happy”? What do you so desperately need that you can’t imagine a fulfilled life without it?

What makes these idols so dangerous is that they are nearly always goodthings. I have seen the good of desiring marriage become a false god. I’ve seen the good of wanting to provide become the idol of always needing to achieve one more financial benchmark. The problem isn’t the money or the marriage. The problem comes when we trust in those things to satisfy.

2. Idols engage the deepest emotions in our hearts.

When idols are challenged, people get violent. That’s what happens in Acts 19, when Artemis’ prowess is threatened. And it’s what happens in our lives when something we love is threatened, because many of our deepest emotions are connected to idols. Some of my deepest emotions are connected to worshipping the idol of success.

What is that in your life? About what do you think, “If I ever lost this, I’d never survive”? What possible loss makes you not only frightened, butdespairing?

The irony here is that idolizing something ultimately keeps you from being able to enjoy it at all. You panic and fret about losing something so vital that you can never rest. For instance, many of the wealthiest people are the most paranoid about their money. Gaining more of an idol only heightens that sense of fear, because nothing other than God can sustain the weight of your soul.

3. Idols need to be protected.

One of the craftsmen in Ephesus, Demetrius, was making a fortune on Artemis statues, coffee mugs, and bobble-head dolls. He wasn’t about to stand idly by while Paul undermined his entire financial enterprise with his “Gods made with hands are not really gods” message. So he gathered up an impromptu group of thugs to force Paul out of town.

Don’t miss the humor in this: Artemis was the protector of Ephesus. Yet when Demetrius’ skin was in the game—his cash flow—he immediately jumped up to defend her. That’s the absurdity of idolatry: what is supposed to protect usbecomes something we fiercely protect.

What is that in your life? What do you feel obsessive about protecting in your life?

Charles Spurgeon said the Word of God is like a caged lion. If someone threatens the lion, you don’t have to step in and defend the lion; you just let it loose and it will protect itself. The God of the Word can protect himself, but our false gods always need to be protected.

4. Idols demand sacrifices to keep them happy.

The whole system in Ephesus was built on appeasing Artemis and keeping her happy. That was no accident: idols will always make you sacrifice for them.If business is your idol, you’ll sacrifice your integrity to climb the ladder of success. If acceptance is your idol, you’ll sacrifice your honesty and lie to get affirmation. If romance is your idol, you’ll walk out on your spouse as soon as the “spark” seems to fade.

But an idol is like a fire. It never says, “That’s enough.” Instead, it just keeps asking for more. The altar of idolatry is terrifyingly insatiable: the more you sacrifice for an idol, the more it will demand.

What is that in your life? What part of yourself have you sacrificed on the altar of an idol? Where do you feel that “pull” to keep cutting corners or making excuses? Don’t fool yourself into thinking that this sacrifice will be the last one.

5. The gospel overcomes our idolatry.[2]

The idol of money says to us, “If you don’t do enough to obtain me, I’ll make you miserable.” The idol of family says, “If you lose me, life won’t be worth living.” The idol of comfort says, again and again, “Sacrifice your honesty, your integrity, your closest relationships, for me.

Idols are harsh taskmasters. If you fail them, they make you pay. But in the gospel Jesus says to us, “You did fail me. But instead of destroying you, I’ll let myself be destroyed for you. Instead of demanding a sacrifice, I will become a sacrifice for you.” In Jesus, unlike idols, we find the only God that—when we obtain him—will satisfy us, and—when we fail him—will forgive us.