Thursday, February 15, 2007

Does your church speak "Christianese"?

I just read a really good article about Christianese? Do you know what this means? Christianese is the language Christians speak when they get together. They say things like:

Have you been washed in the blood? (sounds violent)
How are you doing brother? (are we family?)
Let's get together and fellowship! (interpretation: let's eat!)

Some of us have been in the church way too long, and we have forgotten that when a person shows up to our church they don't know our language - Christianese. So we wind up confusing them! Take a minute and read this next paragraph and I'll be right back:

Videns autem turbas ascendit in montem et cum sedisset accesserunt ad eum discipuli eius et aperiens os suum doce bat eos dicens beati pauperes spiritu quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum beati mites quoniam ipsi possidebunt terram beati qui lugent quoniam ipsi consolabuntur beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt iustitiam quoniam ipsi saturabuntur beati misericordes quia ipsi misericordiam consequently beati mwido cordequoniam ipsi Deum videbunt beati pacific!

Whattayathink about that? Unless you are fluent in Latin (I'm not) then you are as confused as I am. Just think about what it must be for the new person coming into our church!

So, are we speaking the language of the people? or Christianese? Since I spend a lot of time these days interacting with seekers I have been especially sensitve to this issue. I never want to confuse someone when it comes to the truth claims of Jesus Christ.

In Brad Powell's book Change Your Church for Good...The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping Brad says this:

In order to work right, the church must be relevant. It must communicate God’s truth and hope in the language of the culture in which it’s situated. Unfortunately, many consider cultural relevance a compromise for the church. Though they may be sincerely motivated, they’re wrong.

This has become a passion for me. And if you ever catch me speaking Christianese I would appreciate it if you would remind me! Amen! uh, I mean, cool! Tye out.


Ryan Rediger said...

Tye, I think you are on to something here. I just posted a blog today and fear I may have spoken in Christaneese, and i see where it could be confusing. Check it out at and see what you think.


Anonymous said...

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

Does it matter what we say to an unsaved/unchurched person?
It seems to me that God would first have to give them ears to hear. So biblically, me speaking christianease dosn't really matter. What matters is Jesus needs to move in their hearts first, giving them ears to hear.
Didn't Jeremiah say that no one seeks God?

That seems to make more sense to me then your "Christianease book".

Tye Male said...

Dear anonymous,

It absoulutely matters what we say to our unsaved/unchurched friends. It is very true that God does the seeking and not us, yet I also know that Jesus went out of his way to eliminate barriers that would keep people from accepting his message.

Many times people have commented that they were surprized I was a pastor because I seemed so normal. Through these relationships I have been able to "let my light shine before men that they might see my good works and glorify my father."