James’s Blog: Natural Words and Spiritual Words.

Sometimes I’ll talk to someone about how things are going, and they’ll say something like:

“When she was out walking the dog, Sheila noticed that the family a couple of doors down was selling their car. So, we bought it for a good price. It turned out to be really convenient.”

So far, so good. Two normal human beings having a normal human conversation. However, what perplexes me is that in certain company the above phrase becomes the following:

“Thankfully, the Lord provided a replacement at an almost miraculous price. It was a real answer to prayer!”

It’s not the language that I have a problem with, it’s the inconsistency. There are people who rarely talk about ‘answers to prayer’ or use phrases like ‘The Lord provided…’ except when they’re writing a prayer letter. It’s like there’s an unspoken rule that when you’re reporting to a group of Christians, you need to run everything through an English to Christianese translator first. Notice how in the second, the poor dog isn’t holy enough to get a mention.

There shouldn’t be a dichotomy between our day-to-day persona and who we are when we’re being a ‘Christian’. We were not made to be two different people. It’s not healthy for us, and it’s not particularly honouring to God. It’s not right that we spend most of our lives communicating like reasonable human beings, and then in certain circumstances become scary religious androids.

Cornerstone had a saying – “Let your natural life be spiritual and your spiritual life natural.” Like most organisations, Cornerstone was not immune to using buzzwords, but I found that many members of Cornerstone did have a very natural way of talking about their faith, without needing to resort to Christian keywords or jargon. There was something concrete about the way they talked. Something down-to-earth. Something fair dinkum.

Some people are normal most of the time, but whey they talk about their faith they make such an effort to sound ‘spiritual’ that they become insubstantial, like a phantom that you could just push your hand through, if you know what I mean. Faith is not supposed to be that kind of ‘spiritual’. It’s supposed to be mundane, in the original sense of the word, so routine, so solid that when the world runs face-first into it, it’s the world that is left with a headache.

One thought on “James’s Blog: Natural Words and Spiritual Words.

  • January 5, 2017 at 11:04 pm
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    James that did make me smile ALOT!!!!
    We all have to be careful of this! Not innocent, totally!
    We have friends when you ring and say,
    “Have you had a good morning?”
    They/she will answer “yes we have just finished breakfast, after our quiet time” or “we are just about to pray together can I ring you back!!!” Or we went for a lovely walk…the sunset was lovely….adding “how awseome
    Is our God” yeh yeh yeh!!! We know you are super Christians!!!!
    Thanks for that! Thought provoking indeed.
    Fiona:)

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