Pigs fly, donkeys talk, christians belch

Ok, this is probably going to get me in trouble…

When we are trying to attract the world to Jesus, why must we use language that is guaranteed to drive them away?

Just as an example — I do not know the writer, nor have I read the blog– the title of a blog came across my screen the other day entitled, Gospel of Jesus Christ, Gift of Eternal Life. This is the name of the blog, not an article on the blog.

Maybe it is intended for Christians, disciples, believers or all three. If so, ok; at least they’ll understand the terminology.

If it is intended to attract the unchurched or dechurched, well, it did the opposite.

Why is this necessary? Why is the “right” terminology so important that we drive away the very audience that would benefit from what we’ve discovered? What happened to “becoming all things to all men” in order to give them a fair and honest opportunity to evaluate our claims.

Don’t we want them to accept the incredible life that we have?

Please don’t lump me in with the heretical, left wing, non-evangelical, liberal camp. I was once a dechurcher; my experience taught me that instead of loving me back into the fold, my brethren would rather cast me out of the camp, brand me as unclean and stone me.

That really didn’t go very far in making my heart go pitapater to go back. The truth is that it drove me into 15 years of wandering in the wilderness.

We don’t need to candycoat, speak in unknown church tongues, nor condemn. We have the Word of Life. It is amazing what it can do.

7 responses to “Pigs fly, donkeys talk, christians belch

  1. I agree to a point. I think language and terminology in a blog or by an organization/church, etc, is determined by purpose & audience. The name “Burger King” probably won’t attracted vegetarian/health conscious people. However, they aren’t trying to bring in those kind of people. In the same vein, the blog you mentioned surely wouldn’t attract my attention as a relevant read, but I know my grandparents would be all over it.

    Now, in some cases, the “right” terminology, I believe, is essential, especially when it comes to foundational truths of Christianity. Should we “spice up” terms for the trinity or for the name of Jesus or for any other things just so that younger/newer Christians feel more comfortable? I think changing the culture of a church is very appropriate and teaching in a way that applies to the specific congregation’s lives is essential, but I think changing terminology (which changes connotation and assumptions, whether good, bad, or factual) can be superfluous and sometimes irresponsible. I think we should focus on changing the culture of churches, not the semantics of language associated with our faith.

  2. I agree. “Spicing up” certain terms is unacceptable. That is not my point; it is in the presentation of those very terms that are so important and the vocabulary that is used to convey them. What good are they if the vocabulary and the presentation nullifies their very concept?

    A simple tool that helps us to perceive what is happening is to try to define the words we are using. How do you define “grace,” for example without using “biblical” terminology. The non-believer doesn’t understand the vocabulary.

    Great comments! Thanks for taking the time to express your input.

  3. patrickandchristy

    What bothered you so much about this title? Not that I agree or don’t agree, just curious.

    This is one of those posts that a part of me understands what is being said but another part of me is confused about what you’re saying. Can you expand for me Joe?

    I spent a few hours last night talking to, witnessing to, ministering to my friend that my recent post was about. I tried my best to let the Holy Spirit speak through me so it was simple and there was understanding. I believe that’s the biggest issue with all the words and terminology we’re using to witness and minister to this world. They’re OUR words. It’s how WE choose to speak of God, Jesus and our faith. I know I’m guilty but have found that if I can get out of the way, then the Holy Spirit can do what He needs to do.

  4. patrickandchristy

    But….if God gives it to you in a specific way, manner, wording or vocabulary, then that’s how we have to give it. I know this is true for me. God will put something on my heart and I’ll sit and write it as I feel He is giving it to me. However, there are many times I will try to reword it 14 different ways so it appeals to more people or doesn’t “offend” someone but when I try to do that, I hit a wall. I can’t move past that point in the post. Everything I say is mixed up and completely not want He wants me to say. I eventually go back to how I sensed He wanted me to write it and then it flows and it’s done. Can’t tell you how many I’ve started and had to put on a shelf because I tried to change how God was giving it to me. And I feel that when that person, whether Christian or not, that
    the message is intended for reads it, then it hits its mark, regardless of the specific wording or vocabulary.

    Obviously, our words can have negative consequences but if we are allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us and be the one convicting the person, the words are irrelevant.

  5. patrickandchristy

    People are tired of us talking about God and this Jesus person. They just want us to show them God, Jesus.

  6. “[Y]ou may not be content to call things by their common names; you may be ambitious to show superiority over others and display your learning or, rather, your pedantry and lack of learning. For instance, you may not want to call a spade a spade. You may prefer to call it a spatulous device for abrading the surface of the soil. Better, however, to stick to the old familiar, simple name that your grandfather called it. It has stood the test of time, and old friends are always good friends.

    To use a big word or a foreign word when a small one and a familiar one will answer the same purpose, is a sign of ignorance. Great scholars and writers and polite speakers use simple words.”
    — Joseph Devlin , How to Speak and Write Correctly

  7. Though you’ve maligned me, you’re either missing or are not capable of seeing the point.

    Actually, you’re making my point. Return to the simple vocabulary; the fences we’ve erected around the fences of religious vocabulary is keeping folks for seeing and knowing Jesus. We do not need a religious code language that only the elite know. That, Khad, is the ultimate display of superiority over others.

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