Original Or Crispy? Who Can Say? Michael Duduit July 1, 2004 I remember when it was all so clear. Mom would say, “How about Kentucky Fried Chicken tonight?” and the kids would all say, “Hallelujah!” (Or thereabouts.) Then the Kentucky Fried Chicken people, apparently concerned about their roots, decided to abbreviate the name to KFC. That was OK, since many of us already abbreviated it to KFC. (That, or occasionally we’d alternate it with TGCP, which stood for “The Greasy Chicken Place.” Abbreviations can be remarkably helpful.) Now, however, it’s getting a bit too postmodern for me. Those advertising wizards at KFC have started producing commercials that refer to “kitchen fresh chicken.” I may not be all that quick, but even I am beginning to see a transition taking place. Fried chicken is now health food – pass the bucket! That’s the thing about postmodernism: words mean what you want them to mean. Throw away those old-fashioned ideas about truth and you end up with health-food chicken legs, submarine-sandwich diets, and airlines that will get you there on time. But back to those abbreviations. Apparently other companies also are getting rid of their names and living off letters. ESPN started out as the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network; of course, that’s also when they ran 12-hour curling marathons. Today it’s just ESPN. Perhaps they had to shorten the name to save money so they could pay for those NFL games. Right here in my backyard, there used to be The Nashville Network, or TNN. Then they sold out to another company, and it became The National Network. (Someone didn’t want to throw away all those T-shirts with the TNN logos.) Then someone else bought it – are you still with me? – and they just went with TNN. (Also known affectionately as “The KFC of TV.”) Alas, one final sale and TNN lost out to “Spike TV,” which is known as “The Network for Men” (or TNFM). Anyone from the age of 12 to 25 now communicates more through online Instant Messaging (IM) than by phone (though fathers of teenage daughters may find that hard to believe). And the IM folks have their own set of acronyms, from LOL (Laughing Out Loud) to ROTFL (Rolling on the Floor Laughing) to IMHO (In my Humble Opinion). Even us old coots can find the value of shorthand like THX (thanks), K (Okay), and CID (Consider It Done). The marketing people don’t have it all to themselves, though. Denominations have been in the abbreviation business for a long time. Use the term “SBC” around these parts and everyone knows you’re talking about the Southern Baptist Convention. A bit less populous – but definitely on the rise – is the AOG, or Assemblies of God. Move a bit to the left and you can connect with the UCC (United Church of Christ) or even the UU’s (Unitarian-Universalist). One could make the case that some of the mainline churches are declining in size because their abbreviations are too unwieldy. Think about it: PC-USA just doesn’t have the same zing as PCA. Perhaps it’s time for local churches to get in on the act. As a public service to church leaders everywhere, allow me to suggest a potential glossary of abbreviations that will help you get right to the point in your congregation: FBC = First Baptist Church SOFBC = Split Off First Baptist Church PYWHLWTS – People You Wish Had Left With the Split UMC = United Methodist Church UMCPGM = United Methodist Church Pro-Gay Ministers UMCAGM = United Methodist Church Anti-Gay Ministers PWM = Praise & Worship Music BW = Blended Worship HHW = Hip-Hop Worship TOIPTLA = The Organist is Playing Too Loud Again TP = Topical Preaching EP = Expository Preaching ACP = Application-Centered Preaching WTSNE? = Will This Sermon Never End? ___________________________Michael Duduit is Editor of Preaching magazine and President of American Ministry Resources. You can write to him at email@example.com, or visit his website at www.michaelduduit.com. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.