Entries for the Relevant Church Dictionary

There’s a few ways to know when you’re in the middle of a sub-culture – that is, a culture inside another culture. When there is a sort of dress code, you know you’re in a sub-culture. When there are certain accepted practices you know you’re in a sub-culture. And when there is an offshoot of language, you know you’re in a sub-culture.

And there’s a sub-culture inside the Christian sub-culture right now. I don’t know what to call it, so we’ll just go with the “relevant Christian” sub-culture.

Exhibit A: Dress.
I offer up as exhibit A black glasses, neatly disheveled hair, jeans with holes, and snaps on shirts.

Exhibit B: Practices
For exhibit B, I offer drinking coffee, excessive guitar solos, and re-naming stuff.

Exhibit C: Language
Let’s camp out here. In this sub-culture (which I am a part of, by the way) we have developed our own language to talk about things that used to go by other names. So just for the sake of clarity, here’s a short glossary of terms that would be helpful to navigate inside this sub-culture for the average dude.

“Journey” = Life
Ex: “Let’s all take some time to examine our personal journeys up to this point.”

“Transformation” = Change
Ex: “How has Jesus caused experiential transformation in your journey?”

“Community” = Friends
Ex: “I want to really make some community in this community… er… town.”

“Gathering” = Church Service

Ex: “Would you consider coming to our gathering on Sunday? We have holes in our jeans!”

“Experience” = Anything that happens that might possibly have some spiritual implication

Ex: “My coffee spilling experience this morning reminded me of the transformative nature of God’s redemptive progression in my journey.”

“Intimacy” = Candles / Forced Confession

Ex. “Let’s light some intimacy in this room. Anybody look at porn this week?”

Did I miss any?

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  • Greg Mazunik says:

    How about:

    “Unpack” = Explain
    Ex: “Now this passage from Ephesians could be transformational in your journey, so let me unpack what Paul’s trying to say…”

  • Michael K. says:

    Yes, Greg! Thanks for “adding to the conversation.”

  • Erin says:

    I snorted oj up my nose when I read the Intimacy/Forced Confession. You, good sir, are a delight.

  • Leo says:

    What’s wrong with coffee? Why you picking on coffee? Next, you will be picking on my idea of a Christian Coffee Shop, serving only the finest coffee that Jesus would have experienced in a gathering of a community fellowship where we will unpack our journey and seek transformation…


  • Michael K. says:

    Let me guess… Holy Grounds?

  • TheDeeZone says:

    “relevant” = cool or trendy

  • Becky says:

    Ex: I want to invest in your journey.

  • Christopher Lake says:

    “Share” and “stories,” as in “No one is going to be ‘preaching’ at this gathering of our community– we’re going to share our stories.”

    “Preaching,” in the “relevant” discourse above, is meant as a negative thing– and only a narrow-minded, fundamentalist Christian like me would disagree with such a notion, right? 🙂

  • Christopher Lake says:

    Of course, the above is the case in the more *liberal* “relevant” churches! I should have made that clear!

  • Rod Carroll says:

    It’s hard to ignore or overlook something when it is standing right in front of you. Thanks for pointing these out as you did. I must admit, I have probably used this language more than I care to share. We love our little sub-cultures don’t we.

  • liturgicsjay says:

    Is postmodern a valid submission in this dialogue?

  • Michael K. says:

    If that’s part of your story…

  • Jordan Lloyd says:

    instead of coming together we tend to “converge”

  • Drew says:

    “I want to share with you all the story of my life journey.” – I actually heard this sentence last month, which led me to the conclusion that we need to alter our policies on church discipline to include slapping people. Okay, maybe that is a little harsh, but I am definitely aware of and annoyed by this sub-culture. This post was very funny because of how true it is. Also, the more I backtrack and read, the more I am enjoying your blog.

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