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Christianese: the good, the bad and the ugly

February 13, 2012

I wrote about cliches in movies.  My cliche radar is finely-tuned.  This time I turn it on the church.  In nothing but a loving manner, so don’t be offended.

My husband and I were reading a book for our life/small/cell group (whatever it’s called in your area – I’ve noticed the preferred terminology tends to be geographically-specific).   We couldn’t help but laugh at some of the terms and phrases  that have somehow worked their way into the churchy jargon of our era.  Here are our faves:

  • “Do Life” – Meaning:  to live life.  Used in a sentence:  “God gives us friends to do life with.”
  • “Love On” – Meaning: to love.  Used in a sentence:  “This is a great opportunity to love on the kids of our community.”  I would submit in certain contexts, this actually sounds kind of  inappropriate.
  • “Unpack” – Meaning:  to break down a topic or explain a big idea.  Used in a sentence: “God uses trials to transform you.  Let’s unpack this.”
  • “Looks Like” – Meaning: a way to put an abstract idea into a practical application.  Used in a sentence: “What would it look like for us to practice grace with our enemies?”
  • “Camping Out” – Meaning:  to linger on a term or subject for awhile. Used in a sentence: “‘…but have everlasting life.’ Everlasting.  Let’s camp out here for a minute.”

I kid because I love.  I’m genuinely interested in where these kinds of things originate.  How do they catch on in our community? Someone invents a silly term like “hedge of protection,” (yes, I know Job 1:10) and all of a sudden it’s a nation-wide phenomenon. It has become another language:  Read “Do You Speak Christian” on

These Christian catch prases are really innocuous.  The ones that I dislike are the ones that mislead.  The most egregious of them all is, after someone passes away, when people say, they “got their wings,” or “Jesus needed another angel.”  It’s bad theology.  I’ve even heard pastors say things like this.  We do not go to Heaven and become angels.  Angels were not ever human.  Can we all please stop saying this?

Can you think of Christian slang that you love or hate?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2012 11:07 pm

    I laughed out loud!

  2. February 16, 2012 5:23 am

    Kristen – I am awarding you the Liebster Blog award! I have truly enjoyed reading your insights and can’t wait to read more! Congrats!

    Stop by for more info!

    PS Christianese is too funny!

  3. February 17, 2012 11:57 pm

    Haha! I use “do life”, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard that in relation to Christianese! Is that where it came from??? Never heard “camping out” before. Funny!

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