Friday, November 16, 2012

Damn Christianese

We have got to change the way we talk. People get hung up on words like "damn", "shit" and "hell" but they don't stutter or pause to think of the destructive nature that lies within their Christianese.

For years I went around frivolously using the words "missionary", "mission-field", "missions", and "ministry." I was proud when I was finally in line to be cast under their definition and I was heartbroken when I saw the aftermath of their use.

"Names are an important key to what a society values. Anthropologists recognize naming as 'one of the chief methods for imposing order on perception.'" (David S. Slawson) The problem with these names and titles we, as a Christian society, have created is that they are an attempt to define and describe the work and life of the bearer and segregates it all (the bearer and his life and work) into a category of value. In other words, 'The "missionary's" work is valuable, but the baker's is not as least not in the Kingdom or the church.'

We, as a Church, may believe that everyone is a "missionary" and every area of life a potential "mission-field", but that's not what we are communicating. The titles are still exclusive, the lands are still exotic, the work still glamorous.

I wrestled with this facade because I got to the land that had been dubbed "the mission-field" and I found myself left with a universal duty to live intentionally. That was all I could do and that's all I did do; I tried to lead a normal life with intention. The only difference, I felt, that separated me from the intentional baker was my location. But I eventually realized that there was more that separated me from the baker and it was what I called myself and what I allowed myself to be called; a passivity that left bakers, teachers, waitresses, fishermen, construction workers, and so many others feeling less valuable to the cause we call the Kingdom.

And here in lies the word's greatest weakness: They can't define the work and life of the bearer. Only, and I mean only, the bearer can do that.

"What is in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet" (William Shakespeare). It is the aroma of the flower that sets it apart, not the name that we give it. It is valuable because of what it is at its core, because of its essence, not because of its title or name.

"Missionary" cannot define what you do or who you are. "Missions" and "Ministry" are not verbs. And "Mission-field" is a land as mythical as Narnia. However 'words may have meaning but names have power.' And these names have the power to divide, degrade, impair and damage not only the hearer, but the bearer; potentially puffing him up with a pride that only rends him useless.

Who are YOU? What are YOU bringing to the table? How has God created YOU? What are YOU passionate about? How has God made YOU to love YOUR neighbor? C.S. Lewis said, "Each person is created to see a different facet of God's beauty- someting no one else can see in quite the same way." How are you displaying that beauty in your life?

"Missionary" was a name Jesus never used; Christian was sufficient. Brother was sufficient. Friend was sufficient. Names which invited, comforted, and empowered both the hearer and the bearer. So damn this Christianese. Damn it to hell, where this destructive language was surely first conspired. Imagine the triumph that must be felt when a son of God (this includes women) settles for a cheap infected title that leaves his brothers and sisters damaged, divided and defeated.

You may have been trying to be a rose your whole life, "only" to find that you are a daisy. I implore you, focus on the aroma of your life and leave the naming to Adam.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me

I've been posting some semi serious posts lately so I'm going to change it up a bit with 10 things you probably didn't know about me.

  1. I prefer oven pizza you cook in your own home than pizza you order. I think it tastes heaps better.
  2. I say the word "about" like a Canadian because when I was a teenager I thought how they said it was cool so for about a year I intentionally said "aboot" and now I say it involuntarily.
  3. I sing out of the left side of my face, when I get really into it, because I have little to no feeling on the right side of my chin/cheek due to getting my wisdom teeth out.
  4. The person I wanted to be like when I was growing up was Lara Croft.
  5. My favorite smell in the world is when you can smell fire in the distance.
  6. I love going into antique shops and cool thrift stores.
  7. All growing up I had a secret desire to want to be a butcher. For some reason they fascinated me and I thought it would be fun to handle all that meat.
  8. I love alley ways. There is something beautiful about them to me that catch my eye every time I see one.
  9. I can play the harmonica. I taught myself this year.
  10. I hate raw parsley. I discovered this in Australia when it was put in just about everything. There have always been foods I wasn't crazy about but this is the first food that I absolutely despise and I will pick it out of whatever it is in.