i was having a conversation with a friend the other day and they asked me if someone was a “believer”.
that set the cogs turning in my head. they were asking me if this person was a Christ follower, but used a church insider word. i thought, everyone “believes” in something. then i thought how arrogant to call ourselves believers when most of the time we struggle with trusting and believing the truth of what God has even revealed of Himself in the bible. we don’t even believe enough to apply it. and then we have the audacity to call people who aren’t in relationship with God “lost”. they may be more “found” than we think.
i love soccer. when i come across other soccer fans the language changes. we shift to “footballspeak”. cleats become boots. field becomes pitch. game becomes match. teams become clubs or sides. we use terms like touch, chance, cross, brace, and nutmeg. and we understand each other, but someone who is not privy to the language would be confused or think we were being exclusionary, and we are. we know the beautiful game and unless you are interested in knowing, we are not letting you in. it’s often the same way in our churches.
so our language creates a barrier for people rather than invite them in. now i know not everyone uses these words, but “churchspeak” is very common. i’ve sought for years to come up with synonyms to help better express who i am and what my life with Jesus looks like. i still find myself being cliche quite often. even my favorite analogy of sons and daughters who dwell in the kingdom of God is a stretch for some people as i invite them to experience life with me.
so how would you describe this life? what words would you use? how do we let people know they are included in this life? how do we tell this story of extreme love without being cliche or exclusive?