The other day I answered a question with a question. When this brought a curious look I offered that I was feeling rather Rabbinical. This furthered the dilemma, “Rabbinical?” Yes, relating to a Rabbi, just as Priestly is to Priest . . . then offering Rabbi’s are known for answering questions with a question. It lead to more conversation about religious leadership, but was also a stark reminder of the church’s propensity to use words that are difficult to know or understand without being immersed in the church.
Incarnational, sacrament, ecumenical and more. I spent half of seminary looking up words my classmates were using to ask far more intelligent questions.
I make an effort to use “church” word carefully. I try to incorporate them into the sermon, or other places where they could be explained. Yet, I know that I don’t always succeed in this. The words themselves have value. While they can sometimes be eliminated or replaced, language specific to our church does help us to convey specific meanings. While I hope we can be purposeful with language, I don’t think removing church words entirely is helpful either.
I thought perhaps it would be helpful to be more proactive. I could post words and explanations to Twitter and Facebook with #funnychurchwords or something similar. Requests could be made in response, but the overall affect would be getting the information in bits and pieces, so that we’re not trying to remember it all at once.
Vast online resources allow everyone access to look these words up on their own too. A lot could be said about any one of them, but I hope the tagged posts will build our collective understanding too.