I was raised in upper-middle class America. I was raised attending church, albeit under false pretenses if anyone would have looked at our family through a microscope. My parents fought all the way to and from church. I hated Sundays for many years to come.
This entry is not about those experiences or the death of 'religion' for me, at a moment of my youth. It's about the lingo or language Christians use. My husband wasn't "saved" until we moved to Oklahoma in 2001. He would sometimes ask what a word meant or why I was using a specific word. I didn't even realize that there was a specific and often foreign language that I was using that was so out-of-touch and really bordering on exclusive with regards to the inability to reach the people that don't know about Jesus.
From my perspective, this is what I heard in church and what I 'grew up on', so it seemed only natural to mimic what I was hearing. I will admit that my salvation was more out of fear of 'fire' then in acceptance and understanding of the incredible LOVE Jesus has for me. I was also discouraged from asking questions in my childhood church, therefore to mimic was better than to question. What's troubling is the inability to truly define the things we mimic, or to fully understand them.
The small group I attend discussed one of these misconceptions this weekend. We were discussing what "discipling" meant and how it would look in the world today. I've got to be honest when I hear the word "DISCIPLE" I immediately think of the 12 with Jesus. I think of how they followed Jesus and sat and listened to Him and then took what He taught, out into the world. I never once thought about my own experience. In our discussion, it dawned on me that I don't have this kind of 'intimate' relationship with anyone, nor did I grow up with this understand of a disciple. It seemed very unattainable to me while sitting with these people, yet disciple is a word often "thrown-around" on Sunday or among Christians.
So my question is; how authentic is this word, if those of us who have been Christians for a long time have never experienced true discipleship? Who are the disciplers? Is there a online disciple matcher? Can I be a discipler without having been discipled? Is my experience skewed by my lack of experience? If "...go into all the world and make disciples..."is a part of our commission by Jesus, how do we make this 'real' in 2006, when many of us have never known or experienced discipling as Jesus teaches.
Other words I think about are: Fellowship, Agape' vs. Phileo Love, Body of Christ, Born-Again, Sabbath, Deliverance, Baptised in the Spirit, Eschatology, Evangelism, Gospel, Full-Gospel, Hermeneutics, Identity in Christ, Legalism, Rapture, Revival, Abraham's Bosom, Spiritual Warfare, and Tribulation....just to name a few. These words are thrown about in church and in Starbucks (especially in Oklahoma)...and yet how many of us could truly define these words and have a heartfelt understanding of what it means.
MY reality is; one of the people I work with had never heard about one of the basic stories in Genesis; I think it was Jacob and Esau. If our 'story' is not understood in the language we use, is it authentic enough to be carried out into a lost world? Another disturbing truth is when you read the Message Bible, it sometimes lacks the TRUE meaning in translation. How much was lost from the original text to just the KJV?
I sometimes think it's sad that the Bible never had "additions". The Bible is our history and our promise book, yet it sometimes feels very cold and sterile and VERY misunderstood and not a part of my experience. I am thankful that in MY experience I have the ability to learn from the Holy Spirit and His wisdom. I am thankful that through this wisdom, God has been able to help me understand the lessons He desires to teach me. I am hopeful that the teachers I have had have taught me lessons that I can pass on to others in an applicable, REAL way. I am hopeful that as Jesus brings people to me, to share with, that I would maintain and share His truth, with love, and that this truth would be REAL to the people I encounter.