Everybody seems to be “reaching out”

Maybe it's just me, and perhaps a few of the other old fossils, the English majors, the "arts and humanities" types that our society keeps around as pitiful and withered relics of a bygone time when folks cared as much about the "why's" of life as the "how's," when asking questions about the direction of our journey in life seemed as important as knowing how to travel aimlessly but really quickly and with cool gadgets, when having warm hearts seemed as important as having swelled heads crammed full of information but with little room for wisdom . . .

Okay, enough of that. But I feel better. As members of an oppressed minority, most English majors these days need to vent occasionally.

As I was saying, maybe it's just me and a few other old fossils who think that language matters and is a window on whatever shriveled soul our society may have left, but have you noticed how many folks are "reaching out" these days?

The press doesn't just "call" for an interview with someone these days; no, they "reach out." The "60 Minutes" investigative reporter seeking his quarry may plan to throttle him and nail him to the wall with sharp questions, justly asked or not, but that will, of course, be after the reporter "reaches out."

You can't watch a newscast these days without hearing some local TV reporters parroting the same lingo as they "reach out" for interviews, mostly with regard to people who'd be happy as clams NOT to be reached.

Maybe "reaching out" is better, but it seems strange to me. Why don't they just call?

Maybe it's because our politically correct society is sensitive and kind. Once the Mafia might put out a "hit" on someone; maybe now they just "reach out." I don't really want to know, but I wonder if the IRS audits folks these days, or if now as part of a much kinder and gentler mindless bureaucracy, its agents just "reach out," too?

Am I mistaken or did "reaching out" once pretty much imply a religious sort of reaching?

"Reach out to Jesus," the song intones, because "He's reaching out to you."

Well, I believe that, and it's a very positive thing, yea, verily, part and parcel of the Good News.

I "googled" this subject and my heart was warmed as I was reminded that parents "reach out" to children and vice versa in familial affection, and that neighbors at times "reach out" to neighbors in need. Knowing that our state's legislature is in session, I felt a cold chill when I found a quotation about the government "reaching out" to its citizens.

But a bunch of the presently pervasive "reaching out" is not frightening, it just seems trite and a bit sanctimonious, and I don't know what to make of it.

In fairness, I should mention that I know a good many math and science folks who bless us all and who haven't cashed in their warm hearts for cold calculators.

Before closing this column, I just felt a need to reach out.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at

ckshel@aol.com

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