Sunday, January 31, 2010


“We must learn the language of our audience,” [C S] Lewis wrote. “You must translate every bit of your theology into the vernacular. I have come to the conclusion that if you cannot translate your thoughts into uneducated language, then your thoughts are confused.”

On his blog, Mike Wendland quotes Lewis in a post called 'Let's watch our Christianese.' (Blogger's spellchecker doesn't think that's a word - or didn't until I informed it that it was.)

Mike talks about how our Christian jargon/language is often misinterpreted by those outside the church. We may be saying something with good sense - to us - they hear 'born again' as 'fundamentalist/cultist/religious extremist' or 'love offering' as possibly involving an orgy.

Personally I hate being asked to 'please be seated.' Who talks like that in real life? And there are heaps of other jargon phrases that many churches use, perhaps with the intention of sounding more liturgical. Let's move these archaic expressions on - or at the very least
explain them to those who might be visiting.

We had one of our leaders 'explain' Communion the weekend before last - I suspect that more than 50% of our congregation had their eyes and ears opened as a result. Regular explanations like that are worth doing, and perhaps more useful than telling the people who've been attending for 20 or 30 years that they need to remember that Christ died for our sins, the sort of thing we actually know - because we've heard it several thousand times....

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