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I have a problem...okay, I have many. But one particular affliction seems to strike me from any side at any moment. Again, I say the problem is mine...so I do not fault the messenger (or more accurately the offender). I've labeled this problem christianese. The most recent occurance referred to striving to be in the center of God's will (uh, yes we were praying). A worthy goal, to be sure. But what was likely once the theme of an evocative sermon series has now been in circulation long enough in the church to become a catch phrase. Personally, being in "the center of God's will" raises a lot of questions. Do I really want to be there? Is there room to stretch out a little if that is where I'm standing? Is it a personal will, or more corporate? Do I desire for me, or us, to be there? Is there only one center, or multiple? Is the view of the center better from one side or the other? Do democrats habitually reside left of center and republicans right? The only answer I've been able to come up with is I don't care. God's will has never seemed like something one could orient geographically. Either we are there or were not, right? No edges, now middle, no bulls eye. Can't I just thank God for his grace and offer him my life daily to do with as he pleases? Must I reduce God's great design to pinpoint accuracy?
This was just the most recent, so it is fresh in my mind. I have some other favoritos as well. You may have heard of the famous "Hedge of Protection." This usually accompanies "traveling mercies" in prayer for those loved ones about to undertake a journey to a far away place like say, Mexico, where they might be imbedding themselves in a potentially dangerous short term mission trip. Now, I've seen hedges, friends...they ain't that menacing. They don't appear to be the protective metaphor I think people are hoping for (Though, one time, when I was four, I rode my motorcycle into a giant blackberry bush, which is sort of like a hedge. It did stop me quite well.). If you pray for protection for me for some reason, which I will definitely need and appreciate, please use something more in line with the Great Wall of China or, better yet, a force field. I just want to give God's ability to protect a little more cred.
This leads me to proportionality. Another piece of christianese that makes me forget whatever is said after it is anything in "double portion." Do I want a double portion of garlic mashed potatoes with my steak? YES! Do I want a double portion of ColdStone ice cream? Bring it on and don't forget the caramel. Do I want a double portion of God's wonderful blessings. I guess I'd have to say no. I'm of the opinion God will give me what I need and his first portion will be sufficient for me. Or in other words, I want my cup to runeth over, but I'll let him decide how much it takes.
I guess my real issue is not the use of the terms amongst Christians. Though, if you say them around me, please know there is a good chance I will snicker. Rather, I fear we get so intrenched in our Christian vocab we become unintelligible to those we want to reach. I just don't want to start interpreting what we say vs. what we mean. People already have a hard enough time understanding us.
But just for discussion's sake: If I am in the center of God's will, am I surrounded by a double portion of a hedge of protection? Hmm...
This post really blessed me. But what God is really laying on your heart? What's he teaching you this week?
In His grip,
A fellow seeker
hi jon, very cool comments. as a fellow pilgrim i don't want the security blankets of christianese. i just want to serve god knowing that he loves me for that and will be with me as i stumble along the journey, kind of like the via delarosa. peace, howie.
This is the greatest video ever!!! We showed this in church one Sunday and the congregation almost killed our leadership team out of protest. We had a ball! Check it out...
Read Jesus Shaves recently and laughed my ass off, again. (Me Talk Pretty One Day) This post reminds me of that.
No Wendy, that makes you a chameleon...in the good way. Being appropriate to a particular audience is sensitive, not fraudulent. Besides, there is a big bold line between church-speak and christianese. Two aeronautical engineers discussing the fine points of jet propulsion would have a certain diction appropriate to their discussion. If I were to enter the discussion, they would have to say something like, "you know, the thing with the thing in the round thing that makes fire and makes the plane go real fast." I wouldn't expect to keep up on their level without them educating me from the basics upward. In the same way, having an in depth discussion with another Christian about the workings of the holy spirit or the consequences of dispensationalist theology are valid ways to grow in our faith...but those are a far cry from those pleasant-sounding phrases we often use which seem less than thought through.
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I am a bookbinder specializing in bibles. The above URL is my retail website. I also sell bibles wholesale.