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10 April 2010 @ 10:40 am
Questions: Am I understanding this phrase correctly?  
Question the First: I have heard the phrase, "We're going to have a come-to-Jesus talk". Based on the mostly fannish context in which I've seen it, I gather that it's a Firefly reference, and that it's not about literally coming to Jesus, but rather something more like, "You are going to sit down and I'm going to tell you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear".

Is that an accurate interpretation?

Question the Second: If I am in fact correctly interpreting the phrase, what would be a good Pagan equivalent? Because there are times it would be useful to have such a phrase, but given that I am neither Christian nor a Firefly fan, I'm just not really comfortable with it as it stands. It doesn't have to be a "come-to-Name talk", but that would be convenient, given that most people I deal with would recognize the source, even with a substitution.
Nannimuejohn on April 10th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
I've run across the phrase in print pre-Firefly and outside fandom, but can't really think of a Pagan equivalent. Time to balance your karma checkbook? Dunno.
Ayoub™ayoub on April 10th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
I've never heard that phrase on Firefly, but I might just not remember...

How about: "We're going to have a come-to-reality talk"

browngirl on April 10th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I like that.
Ayoub™ayoub on April 10th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)

Thank you :)
Annetxanne on April 10th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's what it means; no, I don't think there's a Pagan equivalent. The Pagan pantheon is just too decentralized, and you'd still have the problem of calling what you don't worship.

My HS band director used "come-to-Jesus moment" and "let me tell you how the cows eat the cabbage" indiscriminately. That one has the advantage of not naming Names.
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: iotterfatfred on April 10th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)

Yes, I've heard the phrase used pre-Firefly.

And I'm with Ayoub. Come to REALITY.
Skye: bluebonnetspagawne on April 10th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
Another one that is perhaps less obvious is "I'm gonna read to you from the book". I usually got that before a long lecture on my behavior.
Surrendering to the mysteryjenett on April 10th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
Definitely not Firefly-only - my former boss used it fairly regularly, albeit not with me :)
griffen on April 10th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
I just vary it based on who it's aimed at. For my Mormon mother-in-law, I'll say "come-to-Joseph-Smith talk," and for a friend who's silly enough, I'll say "come-to-Cthulhu talk."

Pagan equivalent? Maybe "Come to the Goddess" talk.
Stormy Weatherororo on April 10th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
"come-to-Cthulhu talk."

I'd love to use this, but there's exactly one person at my office who would get it, and they're the ones that need the talking most.
Dr. Ben Mack: Prominent User of the Internetepi_lj on April 10th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
I don't think I've ever heard that phrase before, and I'm a Firefly fan. On the other hand, I haven't memorized the series, so I could have just missed it. But it's not a big catchphrase of the show, certainly.

I like the come-to-reality suggestion as well, though.
Aravsfogarty on April 10th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
I have also not heard this in Firefly (although my memory sucks), but I have heard it in Houston. There are implications of not just telling "home truths" as it were, but also of doing so quite forcefully and not taking 'no' for an answer.
Barbrahirah on April 10th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure it originated with Firefly, as I've heard it used in contexts where it's very unlikely that the speaker is an SF fan.
Genetypographer on April 10th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
The phrase has been around longer than I've been alive... and I'm older than Joss Whedon, so I wouldn't call it a Firefly reference.

I suspect it may go all the way back to the evangelical tent revival movement of the 1880s (that is not a typo, I'm talking 19th Century), and at least as it was used in speech the meaning was usually more, "a turning point in which something I had emphatically disagreed with came to be something I endorsed."

siliconshaman on April 10th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Technically, it means getting a Hellfire&Damnation talking to...but as a line I don't think it was never actually used on the show. [although it does sound like something Rev Book would say.]

The problem is...paganism doesn't really do the whole hellfire thing.

Although, the phrase 'having a little one-to-one chat with the Deity.' kinda has the same implication, even if it is clunky. I kinda like the come-to-Cthulu chat though...

Edited at 2010-04-10 07:56 pm (UTC)
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on April 10th, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
A friend from my teenaged and early twenties years had a phrase similar in meaning that he liked to use: "Let me drop a little news on you."
thatwordgrrl on April 10th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
Absolutely NOT originating with Firefly -- tho' being a Southern Baptistism, it would be a phrase one would expect of Book (whose flavor of Christianity was clearly of the Southern Baptist variety).

I first heard the phrase via dedoc who, while now a Floridian, started out in California. And he's Hungarian/Irish Catholic.

Make of that what you will.

laurareylaurarey on April 10th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
Heeeheee....as a Southern girl, I've used that phrase several times in my life when someone was definitely NOT in reality and was irritating the hell out of me. "Gonna have to have a come-to-Jesus talk with that boy."

For me, it means that we're going to have to have a conversation that will force you to look at reality. It may be long and it may involve a lot of repetition on my part (sort of like a Baptist revival "answer the call" segment). :)

Steffirecat on April 10th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
How about "come to your senses talk"? (I can't think of an equivalent that references religion.)
fatcookfatcook on April 11th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
Well, I've always heard it as "We're going to have a come-to-God talk/meeting". And it is old, my grandfather used it and he was born in Nebraska in 1899.
My husband likes to use "We're gonna have a Come-to-Bryan talk" with a couple of his team members and it was used, on one very memorable incident, with my stepson.
Bill the bold bosthoonwcg on April 11th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC)
The term comes from long before Firefly. It's from the altar call in revival meetings, when the preacher calls out, "Those who are sinners and want to be saved, Come to Jesus! He will save you, just Come to Jesus!"

As a southern colloquialism, the term "Come to Jesus," has come to mean that some unpleasant but hopefully good things must be said. This is because the sinners had to confess their sins during that altar call. Redemption required repentance. In the present day the idea of repentance has been largely lost, and it often just means an ass-chewing.
amaebiamaebi on April 11th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
I'm adding onto Bill's because I like his best. And because I agree that a "come to Jesus talk" means a call to Conversion.

And for an old-pagan equivalent, how about "time to pull a Tiresias, my friend-- let me explain"?
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on April 12th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC)
"No. Is too complex. Let me sum up." :-)
Moosemoosl on April 11th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
Questions: Am I understanding this phrase correctly?
As others have said, the phrase is a tad over a century old. I have heard "TLM" (tough love moment) used in its place. In nursing, "redirect" is commonly used to mean forcibly dragging a patient back to consensual reality. Since Paganism is, by and large, about self-responsibility and creating your own reality, I'm not sure there is an eqivalent term.
freetrav on April 11th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
From your original posting and the comments following, I'd say that the phrase that I've heard that most closely catches the meaning would be "give/have/need a reality check", used in the most appropriate grammatical form for the context, e.g., "He needs a reality check.", "I've got to give him a reality check.", "Joe, it's reality check time.", et cetera. It doesn't really carry the oomph of the 'Come-to-Jesus' usage, though.

The biggest problem with that phrase, however, is that it's also used for requesting confirmation of an uncertain evaluation of something, e.g., "I think this should be blue - Joe, would you give me a reality check on that."
Aravsfogarty on April 11th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
I really like "home truths" as a replacement, although a different part of speech.
redneckgaijinredneckgaijin on April 12th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
The specific context I've always had for it is: "You have strayed very far from the One True Way, our tolerance point has been reached, and the time has come for you to be told exactly how much You Can Not Do That."

It's not just that bad things have to be addressed: it's that the target person's behavior will no longer be tolerated, and this talk represents their last chance to get right before there are Consequences.

And yes, it's pretty old, but it's come back into more popular usage in the past decade.