A few weeks ago, I was explaining how to do word study in my Exegetical Methods class in the seminary. In the prosess, I also highlighted some of the fallacies of word study and the need to be aware of our assumptions especially when it comes to compound words.
As an illustration, I gave the example of a series of compound words such as homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, and transsexual that have one thing in common - all of them clearly describe the sexual orientation of a particular individual. However, not every compound word that ends with "sexual" carries the force of describing one's sexual orientation. To emphasise this point, I highlighted that the word "metrosexual" does not really describe a person's sexual orientation.
Then I received blank looks from those in the class. One student asked, "What is metrosexual? Is this a new word? Never heard of this before."
Opps...Wrong example to use...
But being cheeky as usual, I then gave a brief definition of a metrosexual as "an urban male that is in touch with his feminine side. He is one that is conscious of the latest male fashion, pays particular attention to his appearance, allocates a large portion of his budget for cosmetics, be a part of the gym and fitness culture, goes for spa, facial, and even hair removal, whether facial or elsewhere."
Opps...Not a very "appropriate" or "spiritual" definition to be given in a class in seminary!
One has to be there to witness the response I received, and the looks in the faces of some of the students. I would not want to imagine what went through their minds or what they think of me.
Someone in the class then commented something like this (which I freely paraphrase), "I do not know there is a male cosmetic section in the department store. You mean they sell male cosmetic nowadays?"
I think I can almost hear Steven Curtis Chapman, "I am speechless...."
Postscript: I wonder as ministers and future ministers of the gospel, how can we effectively reach out to our young people if we are simply not in touch with the contemporary culture? So, is it any wonder that in some urban churches, we are fast losing our youth and young adults simply because we are no longer relevant, or perhaps, we are not interested in what they are interested in, or we are not making any serious effort in moving with the times? Something for me to ponder...