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The Danger of Christianese

The Danger of Christianese

How our church language can do more to exclude people than draw them to Jesus.
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I spent my first few weeks as a college freshmen overwhelmed by the subculture of fraternity and sorority life. It seemed like the minute I stretched my sheets over my vinyl dorm-room mattress, sorority rush began. The whole system was literally Greek ...

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Old Lady in Africa

December 22, 2012  6:22am

Thanks for another reminder. All we (don't) need in today's secular society is a special language to make us seem more irrelevent. I cringe when I hear or read things like "I covet your prayers," one of the sillier of our hackneyed phrases. Even this author couldn't resist using the verb "strive" several times. When was the last you heard or read that word used by someone who wasn't speaking to Christians? Back in the day we used to say, "Get real!" Our words should make people know we care enough about them to want to honestly communicate the joy and love of Jesus in their language, not ours.

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December 01, 2012  3:13pm

Great article! I remember wondering what in the world "praying in the spirit" meant.

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November 22, 2012  10:12pm

Reading this article was all I needed this morning...I really dislike jargons but I do hear them so much from other Christians that sometimes I even blame myself for not liking them (maybe less spiritual?) - I feel different form others...

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November 21, 2012  10:52am

One expression not mentioned in this article, is the practice of believers referring to each other as Brother Paul, or Brother Smith. This is particularly off-putting when, in some cases, "Brother Smith" is an old family friend we have known for over forty years as "Jim"...I like to be called by my name at church, just as I am in the real world, and frankly, as I am known to God. When I bring an unbeliever with me to a church function, and they suddenly hear me referred to in this odd way, it makes them wonder what other weird things go on here. Jesus knows His sheep, too, and calls them by name. Christians, let's get rid of the over-religiousness and stick to the simple grace of using our friends' names. To use a made up title seems stilted, and in some cases diminishes the sheer beauty of years of intimate, honest friendship. True brothers and sisters know they are brothers and sisters in Christ, and don't need the jargon or the unnatural titles when speaking to and of each other.

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Rebecca Anne Aarup

November 21, 2012  9:46am

Thank you for writing this article. I was practically born in the pews of a church, so I've heard this type of language all my life. During a MAJOR season of rebellion I married a non-believer. I have to really watch how I talk to my husband. Many times he has told me he doesn't understand church (which is why he won't go) and he feels stupid because he doesn't understand the words. Being in this marital situation has really taught me a lot about how unbelievers see Christians. I know many believers who sound like they came straight from the 1600's in their verbage because they love the old greats like Spurgeon. That is fine except we have to always remember that type of language will fly straight over the head of an unbeliever. Thank you so much for writing this article, it really needed to be addressed.

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