The Words We Use

I have been thinking a lot lately about the words and phrases we as Christians use. I believe so many of the things we say really need to be looked at and really thought through. So many of them do not accurately capture who God is and the way He desires us to live our lives.

Here are some examples...

When something good happens in life we often say, God is good. Why is it that we only refer to God as good when things are going well, or when God blesses us in some sort of way? Is not God good all the time? I think we need to also be able to acknowledge and say that God is good even when life is at it's worst. When our life hits rock bottom, God is still good.

When we pray and ask God to work in some specific way and we see God do so, we often say, God answered my prayer. Does God only answer our prayer when we get the things we pray for? If we ask for God to heal, or provide or protect, and He chooses not to, does that mean He did not answer our prayer? I would say no. He did answer our prayer, just not the way we had hoped He would. God always answers our prayer.

When we come together as the church to worship we often say we gather to worship. If we are truly living out the words of Romans 12:1 we are always worshipping. Our very lives should be lived out in worship. Perhaps a better way to describe what we do corporately as the church is as we worship, we gather.

Also in regards to our worship gatherings, sadly we as the church often refer to the singing portion of a worship service as the "worship." Worship is so much more than singing. Our fellowship with one another is also worship, our attentiveness to the teaching of God's Word is worship, our prayers are worship, our serving is worship. Worship should not be reduced down to a segment of the service, or a segment of our life, rather it needs to be our life in total.

Even the term service when referring to our corporate worship time is a term that I think needs to be rethought. Service denotes being served and even entertained. I think a better term is gathering. When we gather for corporate worship we are in unision together worshipping as opposed to coming together to sit and be served and hope that the service meets our needs.

Just some thoughts that have been rumbling around in my head lately. I want to be more conscience of the words and language I use.

Are there others that you have thought of?


Aaron Geist said...

Those are some great examples Brian. We probably need to take the time to define the buzz words we use. First of all, starting off with what the Bible's intent is, then looking at the way we use the word.

You did that with worship. What about service. We should look at that word. Is it good? Is it bad? Does it accuratley portray what should be happening when we gather together?

Service has the conotations of serving...of course. But often times, in our church "services", we come to be served. In some cases...entertained.

What if we really came to a service in order to serve? Serve God, serve others, and not just serve ourselves?

I agree, we need to do some redefining.

The Thief said...

I've been working on some of the same definitions with my congregation - during prayer time, reminding that God does answer all of our prayers, and I always pray that we can better understand Him when He answers contrary to our wishes, and that all of our requests and praises are made in the context of having a good God.

There are all sorts of Christianese words that the average "church-goer" needs practical definitions for. "Righteous" is one of my favorites... most take it to mean "perfection" when it's really about having a right relationship with God.

'neice said...

I really watch all of that...even around those who speak "Christianese." I really resonated with the prayer part and am always pointing out that just because He didn't answer the way he/she wanted doesn't mean the preayer wasn't answered. Amazing how often you have to explain that...even to adults!

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