We all have “that” Christian in our church. Regular church-folk find such Christian-ese tolerable. And for the unchurched, they are the reason why Christians seem weird. How’s your Christian-ese?
1. Do Life
I don’t want to sound like a grammar-Nazi but what does it really mean to “do life”? Did some Christian just make it up either as a way to propose to their significant other or to friendzone someone? Ps. apologies to anyone at a “Life Church” …
By echo, I’m not talking about the small second-hand Toyota car that the pastor is struggling to afford because the church isn’t paying him enough. Nor am I referring to the smart Amazon speaker that wannabe cool churches are installing in every room. In fact, I am referring to the often-used echoing of someone else’s prayer point, it’s not just enough to agree with them…we must “echo” them…
3. Be Salty
There are three types of salty people. The usual salty person is annoyed or jealous after being subjected to criticism. Christians are salty, not in sense of frustration but rather, are the helping ingredient to help save lives by showing them the way towards Jesus. And then there’s Lot’s wife…
4. How is your heart?
Did I just walk into a hospital? How come everyone is suddenly a cardiologist? Yet before when we share a meal of fried chicken and pizza together on a Friday night, someone asks God to bless the food to our bodies?
5. Not of this world
For a non-Christian seeing a car with a “NOTW” bumper sticker, you might be surprised to find that it is actually a human driving (unless it’s a Tesla of course). The Bible does tell us to be set apart from the ways of the living like non-believers, but are we supposed to be alienated and out of touch with what’s happening around us that we struggle to reach out?
6. Lay hands on you
Some people are touchy-feely, and some people are not. The laying of hands does have its Old Testament origins. And in the New Testament Jesus laid hands on the sick and healed them. I once heard someone about to be prayed upon in front of the church say that they hoped all the touching would be above the belt (much to the disdain of his girlfriend). Perhaps in 2020 with the #MeToo movement and coronavirus, the laying of hands is something that churchy folk need to re-examine moving forward?
7. Light Up/On Fire
You might want to explain to your non-Christian friend visiting a church for the first time that when the worship leader introduces the guest speaker and says that they are “on fire for the Gospel” – it’s not a call for Bible book burning. Good to see the passion for the Word of God, but perhaps we should all learn more about the Holy Spirit and Pentecost…
8. Quiet Time
“Oh, how dare you interrupt me, this is my quiet time… I’m talking with God” might be an over-exaggeration into daily devotions. But to the untrained eye, talking during quiet time is an oxymoron that Christians don’t explain well. Quiet time should be one of the most active and loud parts of the day as we engage deeply with God.
9. Small group
“Would you like to join my small group?” is something that you might hear a hospitable Bible study leader or a keen single Christian saying… Sometimes we call it cell group, ISCF group, alpha course group, home group, Bible buddies… Anything to compete with the creative Friday youth group name of T.G.I.F. right?
Christians are one of the most, if not the most persecuted group on earth. We are always trying to find our place in society. But very often we can leave people’s heads scratching to figure out whether we are talking about our faith struggles or referring to an actual physical fight. “Wrestilng” – the go-to Christian Instagram devotional caption keyword about life’s up and downs…
Bonus: encouraging people to read the BIBLE because it is an acronym
· Basic Insights for Biblical Living Everyday
· Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
· Basic Instructions Before Living Eternally
· Be Inspirational, Befriend and Love Everyone
· Belief, Inspiration, Baptism, Life Everlasting
· Believer's Instruction Before Leaving Earth
· Best Instructions Before Leaving Earth
· Best Investment Before Leaving Earth
· Blessed Information Bringing Life Eternal
Jesus spoke using words that were understandable to the people of the time and did not use language to create an elite group of people. For the preachers out there, it might be a good idea to explain what these phrases mean throughout the church service given that Christian literacy is declining by the day. And for each one us as followers of Jesus, we ought not to be creating a community that is awkwardly pushing people away.
Roydon Ng is a Christian writer and Baptist seminary graduate from Western Sydney.
Roydon’s previous articles are available at: https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/roydon-ng.html