While teaching business communication a few weeks ago, we stumbled upon strategic ambiguity. Imagine that you fired an employee for being a terrible, lazy, underhanded worker.
Then, you’re asked for a letter for potential employers. You might write something like this, from Communicating at Work by Adler and Elmhorst.
I am pleased to say John Doe is a former employee of mine. He left this job just as he came, fired with enthusiasm. I can recommend John Doe to you with no qualifications whatsoever.
That’s the phrase, “with no qualifications,” that caught my interest. This type of strategery (teehee) is funny because it operates on a level built on knowledge of how words can be interpreted differently depending on context. My favorite example of this is here:
I’m fascinated by words/phrases that simultaneously mean opposite things. As Tamara Out Loud pointed out this week, “peruse” is one such word. Though the smarty pants that decide such things were still rejecting the second (erroneous) definition of peruse, “to browse or read through in a leisurely way,” people still use it. They don’t care much for what egg-heads at the OED think about their word usage.
Let me say, for a minute, that I’m glad God takes me with no qualifications. I am not qualified to gain his love. I’ve hurt him, I have not loved, not followed, not obeyed. I have remained stagnant in my faith, through periods of my life, have not grown, have failed.
God loves us with no qualifications. He would never say “I would love you more if you lost weight.” “If you make a mistake, I will love you less.” I have never found any place in my worn green leather Bible where it says how to make God love you more than he has since before you were born. You will locate no Scriptures that say God will stop loving you because you mess up. Instead, we read of grace. He loves us instantly, intently, unconditionally and unremittingly.
It’s more often that I place qualifications upon myself. I figure God won’t hear my prayers anymore if I haven’t prayed in a while. I assume that I have to be perfect to come to him or he won’t listen. I assign myself the weight of trying to meet the qualifications. And when I do that, I don’t meet the minimum requirements.
What are your favorite dual-purpose words/phrases? What qualifications do you place on yourself or others for following Christ?