Do You Speak Christian?

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There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

“Clobber passages”

“Witness wear”

“Cafeteria Christianity”

“Born-again virgin”

These terms that are used in various churches, but may not be familiar with the “unsaved.”

I’m not actually sure if I speak much Christianese, because I’ve gone to church on-and-off my whole life. (Apparently I’m a cradle Presbyterian—who knew?) I do use verbs such as “fellowship,” “bless,” and “witness,” but not liberally. And I try to avoid using words and phrases that might feel smug or self-righteous.

I don’t “love on” anyone. My friends are just that—friends—and not pre-Christians. To me “love on” feels insincere at best, (and at worst, it feels like what a cult might do to a newcomer.) If I love someone (platonically or otherwise), then of course I’m going to treat them kindly. And I do my best to find something to love about everyone, so I don’t need a clever phrase to describe treating someone with respect. (I want to make it clear that it’s the attitude I dislike, not the phrases themselves. If you honestly love on people, good on you!)

No matter how blessed I feel (and I feel very blessed!), I don’t say I’m “blessed with good health,” because I have friends who are struggling with cancer. One friend, who was very active in my church, died of cancer while she still had a school-aged son. It still hurts after three years.

So, why do I bring this up here? (I could simply stop using the phrases.) But there are people who use them so liberally that I feel uncomfortable. That’s not bad in itself, but I think they want people to know what good Christians they are, and I feel like it goes hand-in-hand with the insider/outsider mentality. These words can be shorthand for “I’m saved and you’re not” (Wink, wink), and I can’t handle that. I see it a lot in social media. Sometimes it feels like a way of separating people, especially if I’m pressured to “like and share” if I love Jesus. (What if I don’t? Oh, dear!)

Some of my non Christian friends say that, when they hear Christian-talk, they just move on. This applies to public forums as well as real life. The last thing I want to do is to push people away from God. So I’ll leave the Christian talk for my “koinonia.” (My church community.)

Anything that makes me feel like an insider and makes someone else feel like an outsider is a lousy witness.

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8 thoughts on “Do You Speak Christian?

  1. emspears

    Yes, so true indeed.
    …what annoys me the most I think is when you hear people say (or see posts on social media), as I believe you alluded to as part of this general idea, phrases like “love the sinner, hate the sin” that may be true on the surface (true literally) but usually their intentions are not good as they mean it in a judgmental (i.e., “fundy cliché” shall we say?) way, many times presumably to conveniently fit in with their right-wing theology or agenda… When I hear this tiresome, cheap catch phrase, I usually say I “Love the sinner, hate MY sin!”. Actions speak much louder than mere words and it seems that you hear this mostly from the brainwashed, selfish, self-righteous, conservative, FAUXNews-watching robot types that don’t do much of anything to actually follow Christ by helping people…. but, let me add that, in fairness, its not always the “Pharisee” types, but it can also be those with good hearts that are just misguided by blindly following whatever cult/tradition….
    Anyway, great point here, thanks for sharing!

    ps. I know we’re all tired of hearing and talking about the Kim Davis case, but I think, in general, we Christians should discuss more about the impact on our witness of failing to separate church and state….I’m sure some of us have many examples of what a horribly lousy witness it can be to want to use the government to force our beliefs on the general public (force by the government –the law– means that even at gunpoint or otherwise violently if it came to it). Why do the fundamentalist types seem to not understand this? We can prove and deeply explain how and why in many ways Jesus doesn’t want the GOVERNMENT to be a theocracy and how this relates to God’s design of free will (for the benefit of both the church and the state). This just never seemed like rocket science to me. You would think that these folks honestly (from the heart) answering the question WWJD (what would Jesus do?) would do the trick. SMH

    oh, I’m not sure if you’d be in the mood for a little side joke about Sarah Palin saying we should speak “American”? Considering the source in this case, we may not consider Americanese to be Christianese, huh? 🙂 …sorry if I sometimes tend to go a little off on some tangents. Thanks again, have a great day my friend!

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    1. One Candle Post author

      Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with you that it’s not always the “Pharisee types” who use this language. I have good friends who do. In fact, I have very good, loving, honest friends who are at the political far right. They truly believe they’re doing the right thing; it’s so ingrained in our church culture.
      As for “speak American,” I think you’re right! She didn’t make a mistake; I bet she was talking about the content of our speech, not the words. She might as well have said “speak White,” or “speak patriot.”

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  2. emspears

    yes, and I also have quite a few family and friends that are far right-wingers who have pure hearts and would give you the shirt off their back (and I love them all)…. I think you said it perfectly as I would agree that the problem is that it is indeed “so ingrained in our church culture” and these types perhaps don’t have a clue as to how wrong they are in their theological and/or political positions or ideology…sad. Hopefully, more and more people will start to wake up…

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  3. emspears

    Reblogged this on ericspearsblog and commented:
    Are we speaking Christianese or actually following Christ?
    Is there anything we’re saying or doing that’s making others feel like an outsider, and, if so, is that a good witness? Good thoughts here from One Candle and good discussion! Please join this discussion if you like! Thank you! Have a great day! 🙂

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