I Don’t Mind Sounding Unspiritual

I don’t use much religious language.

It is not that I have little interest in the things of God. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. I want people to understand everything they can about God. So, I use analogies and metaphors to explain profound truths. I speak in an everyday language to help people comprehend profound spiritual truth.

I have concrete reasons for the way I speak about Christianity.

1. People in the Bible Used Everyday Language. Jesus is the best possible example of this type of teaching. He helped people understand the kingdom of God by talking about seeds and soil, a pearl of great price, and a dragnet. The rest of the Bible follows his cue in their teaching. Most of the big religious words we know today were familiar words to the first-century believer. Ideas like atonement were rooted in the Jewish culture and painted an image like me saying “Thanksgiving.”

2. Big Religious Words Repel Non-Believers. Imagine you go to a doctor’s office, and he does a thorough exam. He comes in and sits down with you and starts using huge medical terms. He doesn’t explain them; he just assumes you will figure it out on your own. He leaves, and you have a page of notes and questions and feel no closer to a cure. Would you return to that doctor? He is smart and knows his stuff. He might have even given you the correct diagnosis, but is it helpful if you have no idea what he was saying? Now flip that story over. I may hear someone describe their life and tell me about their need for spiritual enlightenment. I can tell them they need to be saved by the blood and sanctified by the Spirit. I can give them all kind of big religious words, and it may not help them at all on their walk with God one bit. Sadly, it might actually repel people as they think Christianity is out of touch with reality.

3. Most Believers Cannot Explain Big Religious Words Because They Don’t Understand Them. The New Testament writers used numerous everyday images to help them explain the deep truth of the cross. We should do the same with our words, but first, we must know what we are talking about. As a believer, you should seek to understand words like atonement, justification, and redemption and then put those concepts into your own words. My best understanding of the cross has come through personal stories and descriptions that helped me see the work of God in a more precise way.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because I overheard a conversation between a believer and an unbeliever. The Christian used words and phrases that were confusing to the other person. When the discussion was over, I felt like I should grab the lady and say, “Do you want to know what the other lady just said and how it applies to you?”

I may not speak much about “the blood” or the “Holy Spirit” or “sanctification” on a daily basis. It is not because I do not believe in them, it is because I want everyone to understand them, so I use ordinary language. True spirituality is about making God present in the everyday, not sounding like a religious expert.

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