A Week of Christianese: Beating a Dead Horse

Communication is a horse I have beat to death. But as I have been bucked off horses too many times to trust them, I’m giving it another go. But this week, with a guest.

I’ve said before (and will say again), I’ve worked pretty hard to gut a little thing called Christianese from my speech, writing and music, which is especially difficult for a little boy who grew up going to church and had a 90% faith based education. While any sort of jargon is understandable, and sometimes helpful in expediting  the transfer of ideas, it has a treacherous edge.

It makes us lazy and closed off.

When you summarize entire concepts into specialized phrases you are, in a sense, ending the discussion about them, putting a bow on top, clapping the dust off your hands; the work of exploration is essentially over.

And it’s silly, especially when someone like Clive Staples Lewis died only 50 years ago. There is a reason you won’t find Christianese among the best writers attempting to follow Jesus (and no I don’t mean Beverly Lewis). Christian Jargon is quite frankly useless when it comes to communicating and evaluating ideas of any kind.

So this week, after several years of hacking away at Christianese like jungle vines, I’m bringing it back in all its laughable and awkward glory. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a “Week of Christianese.”

And now, an introduction.

Tim Stewart of Austin, Texas, is the man behind a little site called dictionaryofchristianese.com, which is fairly self explanatory. In academic fashion, he is documenting such tasty bits as my personal favorite: “Making Purple”


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As one who has worked so hard to remove Christianese from my own vocab, I found myself curious as to why anyone would want to document it. But as I’ve learned, Tim cares about communication as much as I do, and so I’ve asked him to share this week about what he’s doing and why.

Stay tuned.