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Tag: Church Signs

How Christianity Sounds to Someone Not Initiated in “Christianese” 

justificationHave you ever wondered how Christianity sounds to people not initiated in “Christianese” — the special language Christians use to talk to one another about their faith? Evangelicals, in particular, have a complex vocabulary of words that only they use. When people unfamiliar with Evangelical Christianity hear or read these words they often scratch their heads and say, huh? As my wife and I travel the rural roads of Northwest Ohio, we come across church signs with all sorts of silly, stupid clichés. If the goal is to convey a certain message to unbelieving passersby, churches are miserably failing. Instead of using words that are easily understood by everyone, Evangelicals use code words or buzz words to get their message out. Christians will understand what they mean, but unbelievers won’t. Perhaps the real purpose of church signs is to say to Christian passersby, Hey, we are on your team! Praise Jesus!

The Dictionary of Christianese website has a list of jargon and clichés used by Christians to converse with one another. I have reproduced some of their list below, along with other words that came to mind as I was writing this post.

  • 10/40 Window
  • A going church for a coming savior
  • Agape love
  • Anointed
  • Apostate
  • Armor-bearer
  • Ask Jesus into your heart
  • At home with the Lord
  • Baby Christian
  • Backslider
  • Baptized with the Spirit
  • Bible belt
  • Body of Christ
  • Born again
  • But for the grace of God, there go I
  • Calminian
  • Carpet time
  • Cheap grace
  • Child of God
  • Child of Satan
  • Christianity is a relationship, not a religion
  • Covet prayers
  • Divine appointment
  • Drive-by evangelism
  • Evangelistically speaking
  • Everything happens for a reason
  • Family of God
  • Feel God’s presence
  • Filled with the Holy Ghost
  • Fire insurance
  • Food, fun, and fellowship
  • Friendliest church in town
  • Friendship evangelism
  • Frozen chosen
  • Give your life to Jesus
  • God is a perfect gentleman
  • God is good all the time
  • God is in our midst
  • God is my co-pilot
  • God never gives us more than we can handle
  • Godly Woman/Man
  • God’s in this place
  • Going out into the highways and hedges
  • Have you been in the Word
  • Have you talked to Jesus today
  • Heart for God
  • Hedge of protection
  • I see that hand
  • Is God speaking to your heart
  • Jesus is coming again
  • Jesus junk
  • Jesus loves you
  • Justified/Justification
  • Keep Christ in Christmas
  • Lie from the pit of Hell
  • Life verse
  • Living by faith
  • Lord willing
  • Lost
  • Love the sinner, hate the sin
  • Lukewarm Christian
  • Missional
  • Missionary Kid
  • Name it, claim it
  • New life in Christ
  • Not inspired version (NIV)
  • On fire Christian
  • Only one life, t’will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last
  • Praise report
  • Prayed up
  • Prayer breakfast
  • Preacher boy
  • Proverbs 31 woman
  • Put on the armor of God
  • Putting out a fleece
  • Reaching the lost
  • Redeemed by the blood
  • Redeem the time
  • Redeemed
  • Red-letter Christian
  • Reprobate
  • Saved by the blood
  • Sanctified
  • Sawdust trail
  • Saved
  • Sinner’s prayer
  • Smoking hot wife
  • Soulwinning
  • Speak the truth in love
  • Spirit led
  • Spiritual birthday
  • Spiritual warfare
  • Sword drill
  • Thank you for the blood
  • The blood, the book, and the blessed hope
  • The Holy Spirit is moving
  • The Lord has placed it on my heart
  • There’s power in the blood of the lamb
  • This is between you and God
  • Transformed life
  • Traveling mercies
  • TULIP (the five points of Calvinism)
  • Turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh
  • Under the blood
  • Unspoken prayer request
  • Walk with the Lord
  • Washed in/by the blood
  • Which dog are you feeding
  • Word from the Lord
  • Worldling
  • WWJD
  • You take the first step and God will help you take the rest

there's power in the blood of jesus

I could add more words, but I thought I would let readers add their own words in the comment section. What Christian jargon and clichés should be added to this list?

I frequently use Christianese in my writing because I know it is an effective way to communicate with doubting Evangelicals. When terms such as the ones above are used, those of us who used to be Evangelicals know exactly what someone is trying to say. Unbelievers, on the other hand, don’t understand these words. Bought by the blood? Who is blood, and who or what did he buy? Washed in the blood? Eww, gross. Justified? Left, center, right, or full? Do you believe in TULIP? What color? the Holy Spirit is moving! Was he constipated? Name it, claim it! Cool, BMW, please with a smoking hot wife!

Your turn.

Signs of Religious Persecution in Defiance County, Ohio

war against christianity

The overwhelming majority of Americans self identify as Christian. Here in rural NW Ohio, I suspect  there are few non-Christians. The number of public atheists I know number three. That’s right, three.  Christianity is on full display everywhere one looks. Churches on every street corner, Christian radio and TV stations, Christian book stores, Christian coffee houses, and business signs with the ichthys (fish) symbol, all testify to the fact that America is a Christian nation and rural NW Ohio is God’s Country.

Christians are free to start new churches and worship anyway they please. No matter how crazy their beliefs and practices are, there is no government or private agency  keeping them from practicing their form of crazy. From strict liturgical churches to snake handling Baptists, there is a flavor of Christianity for everyone. Christian sects, churches, religious institutions, and pastors are given special tax benefits, from real estate and sales tax exemption to the clergy housing allowance. Christian churches are considered by many to be dispensers of morality, and when bad things like a school shooting, tornado, flood, or hurricane hits a community, local Christian clergy are called in to calm fears and let everyone know God is still on the throne.

Someone visiting from another country would likely be amazed at the religiosity of Americans. I doubt they would see any signs of religious persecution, especially if they hail from a country where there’s real persecution. Thanks to fear mongering and lying  by Evangelical preachers, Catholic prelates and priests, Mormon bishops, Christian parachurch leaders, Christian college presidents and professors, Christian TV and radio programmers, and Fox News hosts, many Christians believe they are being persecuted by liberals, secularists, socialists,communists, abortionists, homosexuals, and atheists. The annual War on Christmas® has now morphed into the War on Christianity®.

There is not one shred of evidence to back up the claim that there is a concerted effort to persecute American Christians and keep them from worshiping their God. From my seat in the pew, I see government at every level bending over backwards to accommodate Christians. As a nation, we value religious freedom so highly that we grant sects, churches, and each Christian special privileges. There is no other nation on earth that has more religious freedom, yet many Christians still think they are being persecuted. Why is this?

Here’s my take. When people live in a country that values personal rights and freedom, especially religious freedom, they tend to see small accommodations or denials as frontal assaults on their rights and freedom. When groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), American Humanist Association (AHA), American Atheists (AA), or the ACLU demand that Christians abide by the Constitution and the separation of church and state, Christians see this as personal attack on their faith.

Let me give a local example of this. Recently, the ACLU of Ohio sent nearby Edon Northwest School District a letter about the school district’s core values statement found in the front of the student handbook:

core values edon northwest school district

Graphic from The Friendly Atheist

Here’s what the Toledo Blade had to say:

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a request today to a Williams County school district to stop what it calls its “sectarian policies and practices that violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

The letter to the Edon Northwest Local School district, which is near the Ohio-Indiana border, cites the school system’s student handbook, which references “Christian values,” and what the ACLU says is a practice of inviting ministers to pray at mandatory school assemblies. John Granger, interim superintendent who joined the district in January, said he has not witnessed some of the incidents referenced by the ACLU, but that if the allegations are true, the district should make changes.

”This has already been settled by the United States Supreme Court,“ Mr. Granger said. “I would make a recommendation to the board of education that if we are in violation of the law, we should stop.”

The district’s website includes a copy of the student handbook, and the first page lists the district’s “Core Values.”

As we strive to achieve our Vision and accomplish our Mission, we value…” the handbook states, with “Honesty and Christian values” as the second entry.

The ACLU letter claims ministers attended assemblies before the Thanksgiving and winter holidays, and that students need parent approval to opt out of the events.

“These reports also allege that the ministers pray aloud, ask the students to join in the prayer and recite homilies concerning upcoming holidays,” the letter states.

The ACLU in its letter, signed by ACLU of Ohio’s Legal Director Freda Levenson and staff attorney Drew Dennis, recognizes that Mr. Granger is new to the position and the started before his arrival in the district.

“We now take this opportunity to make you aware of the unconstitutionality of the described practices, and request that you investigate them and bring an end to them immediately,“ the letter states…

I have no doubt that local Christians are outraged over the ACLU’s demand that the Edon Northwest School District abide by the establishment clause and the separation of church and state.I am sure they see this as a sign of religious persecution. It’s not. This kind of stuff has been going on in rural schools since the days I roamed the halls of Farmer Elementary in the 1960’s. The difference now is that groups like  FFRF, ACLU, AHA, AA, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) are paying attention to what is going on in the schools and government and are willing to litigate any violation of the Constitution.

Today, Polly took me on a short nineteen mile drive on Route 18 between Defiance and Hicksville. The following pictures succinctly illustrate the religious climate in rural NW Ohio. They tell the story far better than I could.

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The Faith4Freedom signs litter the rural NW Ohio landscape. According to their defunct Facebook page, 20,000 of these signs were printed and distributed in Ohio and Michigan. This is primarily a Catholic endeavor. Based on the lack of activity on their Facebook page, Twitter account, and a no longer available website, I assume that local Catholics have lost their religious freedom and are living in nearby catacombs. Once the black anti-Christ, Barack Hussein Obama, is divinely removed from office, they will no longer fear persecution and return to the safety of Facebook, Twitter, and the internet.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser