Please Stop Saying That: It's Bishop, Thank You.
• This is the fifth of a series of things that we hear at church on a regular basis that I wish people would stop saying. They are not big, honkin', scary things, just little expressions that you hear frequently that just don't quite work. (Grammatically or doctrinally) The introduction to this series is here. The first post is here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here.
"Hey 'Bish', how's it going?" It happened all the time, and I cringed every time. One of my pet-peeves. I always let it slide, but in my mind I would say,
"Bish? The title is 'Bishop', thank you very much".
Not because I was an egomaniac - I had felt this way long before I was ever called to be a bishop - but out of the respect for the calling.
Little thing? Perhaps. But it bugs me when people refer to their bishop as "Bish". I have come to the conclusion that there are two types of people who do this:
1) Good-hearted people who mean absolutely no disrespect, and are just trying to be extra friendly, or playful, by sounding more casual. Totally understandable - especially if you are good friends with the man, or trying to be. It is weird to be screaming at referees on Saturday night, only to be referring to him by title on Sunday morning.
2) Less good-hearted people who seek to mock, or diminish the title or the man holding it. I kid you not. I did a quick Google search (so that you don't have to), and found the term "bish" on many 'ex-mormon' sites, always used in a condescending manner.
The other thing I found is that 'bish' is also a casual abbreviation of a profanity that most of us associate with Joy Behar.
So, to those good-hearted people who are trying to be friendly, I would suggest that you use the title correctly. Also, I know that not every bishop is adored, but even if we don't necessarily like the man, we should still respect the title.
Also, another tiny detail, then a story...
"Let's ask Bishop what he thinks". WRONG
"Let's ask the Bishop what he thinks." RIGHT
"Let's ask Bishop Jones what he thinks." RIGHT.
Remember, 'Bishop' is not his first name, it is his title. (yes, I know this is nit-picking, but I'm on a roll.) Of course everyone knows someone whose last name was Bishop. Bishop Bishop is still funny. As is Elder Elder, or even Elder Young.
A few years back, James E. Faust gave a great talk entitled "Called and Chosen". (link here) In it, he told a story that I think serves as a great reminder as to how we should consider the men that are serving in positions of leadership. Here is the story, and any of you serving in ward councils or bishoprics might want to remember this as you plan activities that put demands on your bishop.