Call it like I see it


by Christine Berglund

Asarina Scandens is the “real” name of the purple-flowering vine that graces my arbor. In other gardens, it is simply known as “Snapdragon Vine.” Yes, it does resemble snapdragons, but the plant is entirely different.

Another name for this plant is “Chickabiddy.” I looked up the meaning of that term, and it means a “term of endearment.” I rather like that name, but prefer to use the more specific Latin name for the charming vine that now also covers half of my back deck.

Isn’t if funny how plants get their names? There must be a story or two to each plant. Someone may have simply insisted that this deep-throated floral wonder be called a snapdragon, although I don’t see the resemblance at all. To me, it looks more like the Torenia that I grew nearby, with the nickname “wishbone flower.”

How many of us are blunt and insistent on our descriptions, excusing ourselves with the phrase “I believe in being honest,” or “I call it like I see it?” This has often been used as a common justification to dismiss both reality and anyone else’s viewpoints.
God has absolute standards, and they are not validated nor invalidated by our opinions.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Isaiah 55:8 NASB).

When greeted by a particularly profuse flush of purple blooms, I might say, “Hello, Chickabiddy,” to my vines. (Off-beat people who talk to plants might be addressed in another column!) However, I’m never unaware that in order to discuss the care and culture of this plant, I must use its true botanical name.

When we discuss things that pertain to church life, we must not use confusing terms. I knew a preacher who referred to the foyer as a “narthex,” much to the confusion of the congregation. But is that as serious as the transliteration of the word “immerse” into “baptism?” And then we further obfuscate the meaning by adding different modes of “baptism,” such as sprinkling or pouring, or baptizing children who are too young to have faith.

What about the additional terms we hear in the religious world, such as “the Rapture,” or “Sinner’s Prayer?” Those are terms we haven’t heard from the Bible but were made up by someone who thought it looked or sounded right. He “called it like he saw it.”

We may have strong opinions about what is acceptable to God in worship or in our Christian walk, but are we overlaying the truth of God with a veneer of our own making?

It is important to have opinions, even strong ones. The danger lies when we make pronouncements without adequate knowledge. For instance, this Snapdragon Vine flower lacks the lower convex multilobed petal that creates the distinct “lower lip” of the true Snapdragon “Antirrhinum Majus.” When we know that, we won’t make the mistake of calling it something that it isn’t.

Abraham Lincoln once posed the question, “If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog? Five?” He then gave the true answer, “No, calling a tail a leg don’t make it a leg.” Honest Abe had a point.

We might expound on every type of matter with all sincerity and confidence and still be dead wrong.

During the Restoration movement in America, a phrase was coined; “Call Bible things by Bible names and do Bible things in Bible ways.”

Don’t let your pride in “how you see it” get in the way of the truth.

“Chickabiddy” means “dear.”

Hold the truth “dear” to you.

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