ST, Harry Meredith, Zimmerman. Woodson, Perkins, Price, Bridwell, Williams.
If you work or live at the Methodist Children’s Home, you know exactly what the words above refer to. If you are somewhat familiar with our campus, you probably recognize them as names of buildings. If the nine words above made no sense to you at all, stay with me anyway.
As I walked down my driveway to fetch this morning’s paper, I said “hi” to a walker passing by my house. She didn’t look familiar, and after she returned my greeting, I learned why. “I’m lost,” she said,”does this road lead out of here?”
No, it doesn’t, so I told her it didn’t, and then I told her how to find her way back off the campus. As I walked back up my driveway, I realized how much about the campus we who live and/or work here take for granted.
Before a recent Waco District Clergy meeting that I hosted, I got a call from a clergy colleague. She was lost, again, on campus. I asked her to describe where she was. She said she saw a bunch of big red brick buildings, and she was standing in front of one of them. I started to rattle off names of the various buildings on campus (all of which are red brick), but quickly realized she didn’t know them by name.
All social groups have these little vocabulary lists that everyone inside understands and almost no one outside does. The only one that really concerns me right now, though, is the vocabulary we share as Christians.
Many followers of Jesus find it difficult to communicate their faith in ways that are both meaningful to them and intelligible to non Christians.
Can you talk about your faith (if you consider yourself Christian) without using words like sin, saved, repent, justified, holy, lost? If we would all learn to articulate our faith, or our understanding of our relationship with God through Jesus, without specifically religious words, we would find, I think, other people more ready to hear what we have to say.
I think we would also find that not every follower of Jesus means the same thing when they use words from our common lexicon of Christianity. Therefore, learning to express ourselves without any specifically religious language might be a good exercise all the way around.