Monday, February 06, 2006


The perky 24-year-old woman (a different one) with flawless complexion and artful eye makeup stood in front of our group of new employees two weeks ago dressed in a business suit that would make every career woman turned suburban mom proud, with it's tasteful tweed comnibed with subtle grosgrain ribbon accents. She asked us, "What do you think when you hear the words, Christian Comitments?" The capital letters were audible.

After the obligatory embarassed pause (it was the first presentation of the morning and of course we weren't expected to actually have to participate this early), people began responding and it became clear to me that the words, Christian Commitments did mean something to most of the people there. I, on the other hand, knew that commitments were things one has promised to do and that the word Christian is a proper discriptor that can fundtion either as an adjective or adverb (depending on the word it is modifying) that idicates that something is associated in some way with a psuedo-historical man named Jesus, who was called the Christ. But the simple sum of these words was obviously less that the definition from which these people were working.

So, since I am occasionally possessed by the Imp of the Perverse, I raised my hand. (Let's pause a moment while we wait for my mother to sigh inwardly as she fears for my job.) "Can we back up a little bit? It sounds to me like the phrase already has an understood definition and I don't really know Churchspeak. Can you translate first before we interpret?" the girl was only slightly thrown since her Powerpoint presentation, when it finally booted up, was going to address just this question. So I apologized for presenting the trasition question too early, everyone laughed and I hoped the Imp of the Perverse had been distracted some little bit of wildlife struggling to accomplish a task without opposable thumbs in the tree outside the window.

Now, it's possible that I misrepresented myself a little when I said that Chruchspeak was unknown to me. I can fellowship with the best of them. I have agreed with people that I am saved. Heck, I've even seen the light. But I don't like it when I talk like that. It is jargon and the nature of jargon is exclusionary. The nature of the gospel, however, (gospel means "good news") is the absolute opposite of exclusionary. Jesus loves everyone. He is the epitome of inclusionary. The holy Spirit works in everyone's life. There is nothing anyone can do to make God love us more or love us less, not even if we call him by another name or deny his existence altogether. So, I believe that the language of Christians, if they truly believe that all people are equal in the eyes of God, should be the language of the people. There should be no phrases that have special meansing only to Christians or to the anthropologists that study Christians. Besides, jargon is a characteristic of cliques and I don't want to be painted with the same brush as someone who became a Christian because she wanted the popular kids to like her.

Now, the good thing that came from my visit from the Imp of the Perverse is the conversation that I had at the break after the presentation. In the women’s restroom, another new employee approached me and thanked me for asking that particular question. At least one or two other women at the sinks spoke up also and we had a short conversation of agreement along the same lines as my previous paragraph. This is important because it is yet another experience in a recent trend of interacting with Christians that seem to resemble me in their lifestyles and doctrines, which is pretty much the first time this has happened in my life. Since there have been two or three of these interactions in the past few weeks, I am finding some of the walls that I’ve built up between myself and other Christians have begun to crumble a little. I hope the Crusaders don’t come charging over the fallen bricks once I let some of the guards go home for the harvest.

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