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Leave it out of the vocabulary

January 14, 2009

Over the last few days I have had several conversations about words that businesses are asking employees to leave out of their vocabulary. A business moving into a high rise with two different upper sections does not want them referred to as “tower” due to the terrorist act against the Twin Towers. A furniture and interior design store does not want employees referring to colors as olive or rust as it can remind people of the colors and design used in the 1960’s. What if the church or Christians removed words from our vocabulary?

I once attended a church which held values including redemption and sacrifice. To someone who does not understand Christian terminology those words are hard to understand, or even scary. Someone once told me that she had a very hard time understanding why the church she visited had a dead man hanging on the wall and they ate flesh and drank blood to remember him. Do the words crucifix and communion make any more sense? Can you define these terms: sanctification, atonement, penance, Spirit-filled, Post Modern, believer, evangelical, theology, ecumenical, liturgy? We often use these terms but do not fully understand them and those who do not have church experience do not understand them at all.

If I was to remove words I think I would even remove words such as sin, salvation, and commandment because these terms are so poorly understood and misconstrued. For example we think of sin very lightly and only name those things that leave us comfortable and commandments become orders or rules rather than words that lovingly guide us toward the best life possible.

If we are using terms only at church or in Christian circles maybe we need to rethink using them and instead use language that is common in everyday language. Otherwise how do we expect people to understand us?

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