Sunday, August 21, 2005

Speaking in Tongues

A challenging part of conversation is our understanding and definition of the words that we use within a conversation.

For example, if I say the word Christian, depending on your experience, you may immediately think 'follower of Christ' or you might think 'judgmental, self-righteous jerk'.

How about the word church? 'Brick building, charismatic pastor, Sunday morning meeting' or 'the people of God throughout the earth'. Usually traditional church folks don't include believers outside of organized religion as legitimately being the church.

A recent one I've heard is about those who have left church. Are they 'malcontent church-hoppers' or 'sincere believers seeking a new way to express mission and community'? What I'm getting at is that because of our experiences we bring presuppositions into our conversations.

The word pastor is almost always used to mean 'the central leader figure of a religious organization'. But what if the central leader's gifting isn't pastoral? What if there are others in the organization who also pastor? Maybe the shepherding isn't supposed to rest on the shoulders of one man.

The 5-fold gifts bring a whole load of stereotypes-
Apostle - someone who wants to start a network
Prophet - traveling fortune-teller
Evangelist - we hope someone will reach the lost
Pastor - the guy who gets paid to be in charge
Teacher - teaches the adult Sunday School class

Or you might see the 5-fold as resident giftings within a group of believers rather than titles and offices bestowed to the most powerful.

How about the word elder, does your mind conjure up an image of the stubborn older guy who is always resisting change or an image of the compassionate wise person who serves others?

Mission? 'A two-week trip to Mexico' or 'how I live every day'.

I could go on and on. I haven't even started on the verbs.

Seems that even though we are all speaking English, we aren't all speaking the same language.


Pam Hogeweide said...

How about TITHE? (give dutifully your 10% or share joyfully what you have with others?)

What about WORSHIP? (sing a few songs each Sunday or loving Jesus everyday in our ordinary lives?)

Let's not forget DEVOTION...(a few minutes each day that includes a bible reading, or a way of life that is out of reach of the clock?)

And finally, what about CONFERENCE:
(an overpriced gathering of Christians
that includes "cutting-edge technology for transitioning to apostolic reformation and kingdom advancement"
or large meetings accessible for all economic brackets who want to build the kingdom of Jesus together?)

EG, I think I'm in danger of overposting on your blog since I'm on a "blog fast"! You know how when you deprive yourself in one area you tend to overdo it in another?

Hope you don't mind!


grace said...

Hi Pam, of course I don't mind.

These are great, and I hope anyone who reads my posts also reads your additional comments.

Have you heard about the new conference special discount?
3 Pharisees for the price of 1. :)

Your comments are always welcome.
Is you fast almost over?

Pam Hogeweide said...

that's funny!

I want to make a new bumper sticker: WWJC - What Would Jesus Charge?

:-) Pam

I will officially end my blog fast on Sept 6, the day after Labor Day.


eija said...

Words are fascinating. Understanding them depends on the culture, educational status, personality, life experience, religion, good(bad?) will - you name it!

A couple of years ago I wrote a poem that is kind of a tanget to your blog entry. I wrote it in Finnish (as I usually do... *grin*) but freely (quickly...) translated it goes something like this:

Your word doesn't mean
what my word does.
God's wisdom is a bridge
between different meanings of one word
from one human heart to another.

Blessings :)


grace said...

It's so nice to see you here.
You may have noticed that I have you linked on my blogroll. I always click in to enjoy your pictures when I'm "making the rounds."

I'm sorry I haven't left a comment, because I have been blessed with your pictures and captions.

Blessings to you too!

eija said...

Grace, thank you... *blush*

Yes, Emerging Grace is one of my "regulars". Not for long, but lately it has been. Enjoying your writings.

And don't feel pressured for commenting. I mean, I love reading the comments, but they aren't the reason I'm blogging :)


Robbymac said...

WWJD = What Would Jesus Deconstruct?

Sorry, couldn't resist! :)

grace said...

Good one Robby.

Are you getting all settled in?
It's nice to see you back posting again.