When Christians Talk In Coded Language
This realization came twice in a row when my uncle visited us and had a conversation with my mother and when I visited my friends working in a Christian mission organization I used to work for.
Back home, I went to the same church with my mother. During my stay in that church for about 6 years, “words and phrases” where introduced to us to describe things and situations quickly. I left the church because I left home to work. I am now attending another church which, not surprisingly, uses other form of church language.
Last Christmas my mother visited me and stayed for a few months. My uncle, who lives in the same island knew that my mother was here, came for a visit. I heard them talked about the church and the different teachings they were taught.
I was strangely amused by the words and phrases used by my mother to explain church and faith issues to my uncle. Although, I am not new to those words, I need to catch up decoding them, maybe because I don’t use most of those words anymore. I wondered if my uncle understood them.Last week, I visited my friends who work in a Christian organization. We talked about how the organization is growing and entering a new phase. To my surprise, many of the words used by my friends were stranger to me. How long have I been out in the loop? The only way I could understand what they were talking about was to go back to the context of what we were talking about. It worked for me because I know the organization very well. What about other people? Is this the new generation’s example of “speaking in tongues?”
I am reminded where in church do we often use jargon especially that our church is inviting non-Christians to join church service. The songs we sang; the way our pastor talked in the pulpit; the personal experiences of church members as they told other members; and the way we prayed are full of jargon. Could this be one of the reasons why non-Christians and even new Christians felt uncomfortable inside the church?
There is nothing wrong in using Christian shorthand as long as the person you are talking to is familiar with it. It makes the conversation short and saves time. But let us always remember that not all Christians can understand Christian jargons.
The worst part of Christian language is when Christians themselves can’t understand them. The solution, don’t talk to stranger.