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Bolz-Weber on “Meaningless Church Jargon”

Bolz-Weber on “Meaningless Church Jargon”

The words we use have diverse meanings to people inside, outside, and on the margins of the church.

Nadia Bolz-Weber, founder of the House for All Sinners and Saints, offers some thoughts about what church jargon means to her and communicates to others: on Patheos:

Earlier this morning, I saw a tweet from @JesusofNazareth316: Blessed are they who stop using the word “‪#missional“, which caused me to post something on Twitter and Facebook asking people what their favorite church jargon is – mine being “Missional Imagination”. The response was unbelievable and also quite interesting.

I realized upon reading the #meaninglesschurchjargon tweets that the responses tended to fall into several categories

1. Mainline Protestant church consultant/bad seminary class lingo. (“Missional imagination”; congregations as “centers for evangelical mission”; pastors as “transformational leaders”; referring to members as “giving units”; and churches “doing life together”) this language has a commonality with corporate jargon and like corporate jargon, refers to the culture and practices related to an organization.

IDEA: Let’s make sure that in seminary classrooms and at church conferences and in congregational life when we use a term or a phrase, that it points to an actual thing, or person or event and is not just a string of words that sound like something meaningful but in fact, lack real meaning. There is a reason that my computer does not recognize the word Missional. Try it at home. Go ahead. Type that shit and see.

Often, I struggle to faithfully “code switch” in a variety of settings including seminary, secular settings, and my parish St. Mark’s, Capitol Hill, where atheists, agnostics, more “traditional” Episcopalians, and people from different faith traditions come together around the open table. What does church jargon look like for you?

More from Twitter #meaninglesschurchjargon

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Henny Haigh Grossoehme

I heartily agree -- "missional" is one of the dumbest words the Church has concocted. What's wrong with "missionary?"

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