Parts of Speech

AdjectivesAn adjective is a describing word.  A noun is a naming word.

No, this is not a child’s grammar lesson.  But sometimes we need an ecclesiological refresher.

Rob Bell wrote a while back that “Christian” is a poor adjective.  I would call it a misleading adjective.  Examples:  Christian Phone Book, Christian Hair Salon, Christian Band, Christian Author.

Christian” is a much better noun.  (Note:  Not necessarily referring to Christian Grey here.)

At our staff retreat yesterday, some of us came to the conclusion that “Church” is an excellent adjective.  Examples:  Church Building.  Church Staff.  Church Meeting.  Church Playground.

Church as a noun can be confusing.  This is a church.  This is a church building. “Going to church” could mean heading to a Bible study at Starbucks or heading to a food pantry to stock shelves.  But usually it means we are going to the building where our congregation gathers on Sundays.

One of the marks of a 21st Century Church is that the people do not merely “go” to church.  They are the church.  They are the church in Starbucks, in the food pantry, in the car, and in the office.

And now a note for Presbyterians (or any denomination without a bishop):  the word “Presbytery” is an excellent adjective, but a crazy-making noun.

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