1/12/16 DJ about 25
Ted Cruz recently told an audience in Iowa that he needs the “body of Christ” to “rise up” and help his campaign there. A bewildered CNN reporter had no idea that “body of Christ” was a reference to the Church and that he wanted Christians to “rise up” and take action on the campaign trail and at the polls. She stated “I don’t know anyone who takes their religion seriously who would think that Jesus should rise from the grave and resurrect himself to serve Ted Cruz”! As Christians, we need to watch the way we speak, because we live in a culture that is increasingly secular and clueless when it comes to distinctly Christian terms, not to mention basic Bible references. And that is what we should expect from people who have little exposure to church or to the Bible.
A deeper problem with language, though, is with church phrases that have lost their original meaning to Christians, either through over-familiarity, ignorance or deliberate misuse. Yesterday, a 20-something young man named “DJ” told me he grew up in a church family, his uncle is a pastor, and he just tries to “stay in the word” when it comes to his relationship with God. At first I praised his good sense, but after talking a while I realized he has no idea what “staying in the word” meant. I’m pretty sure he knew that “word” is a reference to the Bible, but what about the verb “stay”? It’s an action word. It means you actually do something with the Bible. You read it. You meditate upon it. You pray about it. You follow it. DJ gave no indication he did any of these things. So what about other verbs? Verbs like “repent” and “believe” the good news, or “obey” my commands, or “feed” the hungry and “clothe” the naked, or “go” and “make” disciples. These words are not symbolic, or ideals that aren’t intended to be carried out. Non-Christians see the hypocrisy in that. Our children see it too. Really, truly, actually, daily, let’s “stay” in the word by “being” doers of the word and not hearers only.