There are certain adjectives we use in church which may or may not be precise or even honest. Some worship services include “special music” which may or may not be all that special. (Translation: a trumpet or harp might be added to the organ music. It’s special in that it’s not usually featured.)
Adjectives we often hear in the 21st Century to describe Church:
- Intentional as in Intentional Community – Translation: Relationships happen not because they just happen but deliberately and mindfully.
- Missional as in Missional Outreach – Translation: Instead of sending checks and relating to mission projects from a distance, we build relationships with our mission partners side by side.
- Authentic as in Authentic Relationships – Translation: The days are gone when we pretend that being a Christian = Having a Perfect-ish Life. We pray for and with each other about real life.
- Inclusive as in Inclusive Congregation – Translation: People you wouldn’t necessarily think would be welcomed are not only welcomed for worship but they are also welcomed in leadership. Note: watch out for this one. Who’s included in some congregations might differ from who’s included in others.
We need to be careful about our adjectives. I self-identify as an evangelical Christian in that I believe that Jesus is my Savior and following Jesus is the best way to live my life. But many others who call themselves evangelical would not include me in their fold.
I once sat on a plane beside a man who noticed my reading material. (It was Bruggemann’s Cadences of Home.) He asked me if I was a Christian and I said yes, and then he told me he went to a Bible-believing church. “What a coincidence,” I said. “I‘m part of a Bible-believing church too. It’s called the Presbyterian Church.” I didn’t mention that I was the pastor.
Was Super Tuesday really all that super? For the love of God, I pray that we will look back one day and decide it was.