I grew up in church and have spent countless hours in a churchpew singing church songs with church people, but none of that makes sense to anyone outside the four walls of the physical location of a church building to the un”church“ed people. Are you confused yet?
In all of my readings and research, I have found the word church wasn’t originally used to describe anything with physical, locational, or structural bounds. Somehow the word ekklesia, which means the called out ones, was switched with another word, kuriakon, which means dedicated to the Lord (and was used often to describe a holy meeting place).
The church I want to talk about today is the networked kind, the body of believers, the ekklesia church, and our terminology. Why do we, as a community, a network of believers insist on shooting ourselves in the foot by using confusing terminology? We have our own language complete with cliches and codes, but it does no justice when we go to share the story of how Christ, a blameless God, came to earth in human form to take our sins upon himself so that we wouldn’t have to go to Hell for them. I call this language Christianese and I am as guilty as the next person for using it, but I recognize my fault and that my fault causes confusion to the nonbelievers, so I am making an effort to cease and desist.
When we use our Christianized and dignified Christianese, we are putting ourselves in the same boat with the very same religious leaders Jesus put in their rightful place. We have no business using words and phrases out of biblical context. If we aren’t careful we will become a stumbling block (Matt 18:5-7) for the “young” Christians who are still learning what it is to be set apart and we will become an instant turn off for those nonbelievers we encounter.
Stop speaking Christianese, church! Just stop…. Whatever you say, say it with conviction and choose your words wisely.
For a humorous look at Christianese or “Awkward Christian Terms” take a look at this video by Blimey Cow.