Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What The Hell Language Are You Talking?

  It's one of those rainy days today.  Woke up at 5am with what felt like a pickaxe buried in my temple.  I have no idea what it was, perhaps the pressure change from the clouds coming in.  At any rate, I lay there for an hour trying to get some more sleep before having to get up.  Finally at 6am I just got up and got ready and took my pills before breakfast.  I almost never take meds on an empty stomach but this one was wickedly bad.

   It alleviated my pain for almost 3 hours but the bear of a migraine is rolling back in.. sigh..

  Lets hope it doesn't interfere too much with my work today.

  Made a wonderful supper of Saag Paneer last night.  I have a few recipes I learned from Glory of India last year and I make them from time to time at home.  We love Indian food and it's always fun doing some different ethnic dishes at home.  Steak and Potatoes is only original for so long before it gets... old.

  Not that we have Steak and potatoes every night but you know what I mean.

The Evils of Religious Language

  Nothing drives me crazier than people using dressed up religious language to communicate to people.  It's as ridiculous as those people who dress up their dog in outfits and think it's cute.  It's not.  The dog isn't amused, and most of us who are sane pity the poor animal.

  When I was a teenager in the early 90s my best friend at the time, and I, had a secret language when we wanted to talk about the girls in our youth group.  We would name them each after a type of Ice Cream.  On girl was Tiger, another was Mint Chocolate Chip, another was Strawberry and so on.

  As you can imagine, we thought we were being really cool, talking about them right in front of them.  And as I can imagine... we sounded like complete morons.

  We never got to date these girls.

  I wonder why.

  Now we have a more insidious subsitution for words going on today.  It's called Christianese.  Rather than saying exactly what we mean, people who use this language attempt to elevate the perception of who they are by the language they use.  Pharisee much?

  Instead of saying "This is what the Bible says..."  They use words like, "You're not being spiritual enough." leaving the receiver of their words be in utter bafflement as to what that means.

  When I was in a cult called the International Churches of Christ some years ago, I was hotly pursuing the affections of a particular sister.  Well... as hotly as "kingdom dating" would allow.  Before we were given permission to actually go "steady" with a girl we had to talk to our "discipler" and the grand poobah our "evangelist".

  Discipler = Guy who gives you permission to wipe your butt and whatever else you may choose to do in the lord.

  Evangelist = Big wig who runs the church inflated with his own sense of self importance and gets regular phone calls from god to update him on the status of his members in the church.

  Anyways. I pursued this chick for 3 years, and the answer I always got drove me insane.  "You have to be more spiritual Travis."  So I'd ask what that means, the answers I always got varied from, "Keep your nose clean and your head down." or "Invite more people to Church." or "It's not a state of doing, it's a matter of being."

  With such a ephemeral and transient state of language, you can imagine how maddening it can be to decypher christianese.

Colosians 4:5-6
5 In wisdom be walking toward those outside, reclaiming the era,
6 your word being always with grace, seasoned with salt, perceiving how you must answer each one.

  When we speak we need to be understood.  We need to be clear to people.  What is grace?  What does it mean to be gracious?  In the dictionary it's; charming, appealing, a sense of propriety or rightness.

   Without being dishonest or manipulative, I believe our speech should be all of these things. Nothing is clumsy, dishonest, or more manipulative than someone speaking in large, religious, spiritual overtones.

   "Oh God spoke to me today and I really felt that he was leading me to..."

  Are you serious?  Maybe you just had bad sushi.  That movement you felt was to go to the bathroom and stay there for a while before you clear the room with your toxic stench.  Honestly.  The first thing I think of when someone says "God spoke to me..."

  I get a sense of holy shit, this guy is full of crap, before he says anything further.  Is this how you want people to communicate with you?

  Seasoned with salt - You know what salt does?  It preserves   It adds flavor, increases thirst and desire for more.

  When you dump a load of religious bafflegab on someone, you are not seasoning with salt, you're seasoning with manure.  No one wants to dig through a manure pile to find a hamburger and fries.  Nor does anyone want teaching from someone who's filled with the pride of religious speech.

  One last one;

1 Timothy 1:13
13 Have a pattern of sound words, which you hear from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

  Do you know what something is, when it is to be sound?  It means without defect.  This is to be our pattern.  It's a consistent practice that we use in our life.  In other words, it's something we always do.  When something is unsound, you can no longer trust it.  For example, if you're constantly walking across a bridge every day that creaks, groans and sways we would call that "unsound" you would not trust it with your child on it, much less your own self.  You would not walk a horse or a drive a car across that bridge.  To do so, you would be taking your life in your own hands.

  Why would you trust your hearing to such unsound words?  Why would you inflict these things on others?

   Learn to communicate in a way that everyone can understand what you're saying by appealing to the lowest common denominator in your speech.  When using words only understood by your closest church buddies... You might as well be talking about Ice Cream flavors for all anyone else can understand.

Travis Penner

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