I would like to propose an adjustment in Christian terminology. I mean, after all, approaching someone who isn’t Christian and hanging the title “Lost” around his or her neck isn’t really very inviting, is it?
As I drove down the highway past some set of car dealerships the other day, I once again noticed that we don’t call used cars used anymore. Now we call the “pre-owned.” The implication being that someone owned, rather than merely used them before. And we all know that with ownership one takes on some level of responsibility, right?
Reading this morning some articles about the Gosnell trial in Pennsylvania, I was plunged anew into the abortion debate in America. Here, too, I found adjusted terminology. The “unborn” are now the “preborn.” Apparently, in the battle over terminology, abortion opponents believe that the word “preborn” evokes more and stronger feelings of connection and empathy than does “unborn.”
This, of course, is just the latest step in the terminology battle regarding abortion. Surely you’ve noticed the tendency to refer to one’s own position as “pro-” something and the others as “against” something. Hence we have pro-choice v. anti-choice OR pro-life v. anti-life.
I wonder if non-Christians among us would take more kindly to being thought of as “pre-saved” or “pre-redeemed” than the word we have historically come to use regarding them: “lost,” “unsaved,”unregenerate,” etc. (Pre-regenerate has a certain ring to it…)
Car dealers and abortion supporters and foes are surely onto something; the words we use affect how we understand issues. Sometimes these words follow from a position, sometimes they draw us toward one position (or away from another).
Here’s my request for the day: are you willing to make your claims in a discussion using the terminology of someone with whom you disagree? Rather than battling over words, I believe that if we make an attempt to communicate with others using their words, we are far more likely to reach a place of understanding.