Too often we hear these words thrown around. Sometimes we find ourselves saying them, sometimes we hear them being said to us. The facts are that unfortunately too many people today throw these words out there with little knowledge of what they mean and where they come from. Sit down, strap in, and hold on as we take you on this journey down the slippery (often tricky) slope of interpreting something known as ”Christian-ese”.
The word Christian-ese is in fact a fictional word. If you try and look it up you will not come up with any solid definition. The reason is because this word has an ever changing definition in today’s culture. One day it could mean one thing and on the next something totally different. So as for today, I will define the word as follows: Christian-ese: Various words pertaining to an ever changing library of religious customs, words, & phrases that encompass the “Christian” religion that are often misquoted and overused without any regard to their origin or actual definition.
I think that about sums it up. Our hope is that by the end of this blog that you will either think twice before you spit out a bunch of flib flab jargon to someone who probably doesn’t know a dang thing about what you are saying or that you will be able to translate these words (or phrases) if they come up in casual conversation.
“Hedge of Protection”
Did you know that Satan’s arch nemesis is landscaping? Neither did I… Because it’s not. “Hedge of protection” came into use in modern day churchgoers vocabulary as a term to physically help them describe the type of protection that God can offer them. A “Hedge” is typically dense foliage of some kind often made of thorn bushes. A reference to this concept is described in the book of Job. Chapter 1 Verse 8… Satan is actually the one talking saying that God has protected Job with a hedge. Yep… a hedge.
“Have you done your devotions lately?” I hate it when people decide to bust this one out on me personally… It’s kinda like asking if I’ve had a colonoscopy… That’s none of your business! If you are asking if I seek out an alone time with God to pray and (or) read the bible then yes. Yes I have done my devotions. That word is so incredibly tricky yet odd at the same time because “devotions” are a very over used word in today’s church. Not only does it confine your relationship with Jesus to a box (which is bad…) or block of time (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you are very schedule oriented), but it often makes people who are asked feel as though they aren’t seeking God enough, or that they are not spending enough time in the church doing churchly things. Take care of your use of this word. It has the ability to oppress others into a place where they feel like they can’t do anything right.
Backsliding is a term that has developed to describe someone, anyone really, whom we know that has started to do things that we don’t personally agree with. Or that we don’t feel like God would be pleased with. Consider this word to be a form of interpersonal judgment to people who really need help either physically or spiritually. Instead of talking about this person in a negative light perhaps you should get over your personal issues with what they are doing and go and have a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea. Find out how they have been instead of starting a gossip snowball that starts tumbling out of control. If you ever find yourself on the flip side of a “Backsliding” conversation, you will come to see that it’s not a very nice place to be.
“Plead the Blood”
Pleading the blood over someone or something is quite like praying for a hedge of protection. “Is your nation, state, person, household, job, or well being in trouble? Then just apply a little bit of spiritual Neosporin to your situation and all will be well!” That is what this term implies. It is fact… Jesus died for us. He shed his blood. It was drained from his body. The bible says that the blood of Jesus can wash us and make us clean. Make us white as rice on a paper plate in a snow storm. Ok… that last bit isn’t actually in the bible, however the fact remains. Yes there is power in the blood of Jesus. Let’s not forget what Jesus said about it shall we? Matthew 6:7-8 “And when you pray do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” The blood of Jesus is definitely something that we should factor into our relationship with Jesus, however in my humble opinion, the phrase is not something that we absolutely should rely on in regular conversation or prayer for an individual situation. Pleading the blood of Jesus over a situation will by no means hurt, but my point is that the phrase can become something that we just throw in the mix to either help us feel like we are doing everything we can, or something we do because we don’t know the words to say to someone to help them in their situation.
Don’t fill in a slot in your vocabulary just because you don’t feel like you sound holy enough. Make the words you say mean something. Sometimes a short sentence can contain more meaning than a book that was written to describe the sentence. Speaking Christian-ese can sometimes make you sound weird to a non-Christian. These terms have meanings for Christians. People who are not savvy on the Christian lingo can feel a little alienated. So tread softly… and carry a thesaurus.
Derek, Sarah & David
The Nameless Movement