Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Diction of Christian

Last night I watched a news story on the Dallas CBS 11 News by Carol Cavazos titled, "Don't Assume Everyone can Speak 'Christianese'".  All in all, her story was fairly trivial, and really didn't include anything too surprising.  I went to bed thinking that this was basically a fluff piece to pander to the religious apologists and I had just wasted several minutes of my life watching it.  But after sleeping on it, I decided this morning that I only have myself to blame because I suppose I expected far too much from this kind of local news segment.  So I'll cut Carol some slack, she only had a few minutes in a 30 minute newscast.

However, I think what disappointed me the most was the lack of academic perspective on the subject.  Is it too much to ask to include someone besides an evangelical Christian?  Cavazos even included a, "worship leader" from the Dallas House of Prayer named Jerrod Morgan.  After watching this guy, it appears that one doesn't need much in the way of religious credentials to get your 15 minutes of fame in Dallas.  But I suppose having good old Jerrod deliver his testimony - by playing his guitar to the camera - gave him enough Holy-Man Cred to be included in Cavazos' story.

Anyway, after a bit of research, I found a similar piece that CNN published to their website in July, 2011 titled, "Do You Speak Christian?".  This CNN article is far more professional and does give the reader a broader perspective.  And I'd recommend the CNN article over the CBS 11 article if you're looking for more substance.  This article covers far more topics, such as: how modern Christians connect using these terms, the many misconceptions found in "christianese", as well as how politicians are using these religious expressions to get themselves elected.

Now, I get it that groups of people like to have a particular lingo used to separate themselves from everyone else.  It makes everyone in the group feel special, or feel like an insider, or feel like one of the "chosen".  But from a secular perspective, the phrases in this insider Christian lingo are either barbaric, cannibalistic, or outright disgusting:
"Washed in the blood..."
"The blood of the Lamb..."
"Eat of His body, drink of His blood..."
"Salvation through the blood of the Lamb..."
It's images like these that should be offensive to any civilized person living in a First World country.  What is it with these people and blood?  You want me to eat and drink what?  And why would any sane person want their every day conversations, or dialogues with colleagues for that matter, to contain this kind of imagery?  I believe that questions like these give an indication why most people, including many religious leaders, are starting to recognize that very issue, and have begun to distance themselves from this kind of Christian slang.

From the article:
"Don Closson, of Plano based Probe Ministries, has an explanation. Closson researches the Bible as it relates to current culture.
'We've seen a purge from academia. We've seen a purge from the media to a great extent, unless it’s making fun of it,' Closson said."
In two sentences, Don manages to bring up a valid point and then whine about being mistreated.  Typical.  I will agree with Don that as our society progressed, this kind of rhetoric faded simply because we've moved beyond barbaric religious practices.  I will also agree that using Christianese in your sermons or in casual conversation makes you an easy target for ridicule.  The days of pastors delivering a weekly speech that's filled with blind assertions are fading fast, simply because people are using the internet to check if a person is telling the truth.  Secularists refer to that as fact-checking.  And I say, get used to it!

So, if you really want a good giggle this morning, take a few minutes and scroll down to the bottom of the CBS DFW article and read the comments.  After I read some of them, I'd say there are three certainties to life: death, taxes, and Christians being offended.

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