It’s Monday Grace!
Years ago our church brought in a consultant to help us evaluate our traditions and practices so we could grow. In general, it was a time-consuming, but worthless, exercise. We learned a few things, but not much to help.
One thing I remember was a private talk I had with the consultant. He said that I was a good preacher, but I would never be a great preacher because I spoke too plainly. In other words, my words were too simple and the concepts too easily understood. Apparently, to be a great preacher, one has to speak far enough above the crowd that the people explain their confusion by assuming that the preacher has a higher intellect.
I know preachers like that. I have read books and articles by so-called theologians and teachers that require a person to keep a dictionary open. Instead of using simple words and concepts, these teachers bring in the jargon and details so that their readers will be impressed by their superiority.
One man I will not name has a reputation for being very smart and using big words to prove it. Yet, when I have asked his admirers to explain what he was saying, they can’t. They have no idea what he is trying to communicate, but they explain that it’s because he is so much smarter than they are.
No. If you can’t communicate in a way that allows your reader or listener to understand, you are not a good communicator. If people walk away impressed by what you said but unable to explain it to others, you have not done your job. Yes, there is a risk of appearing simple when you take big concepts and share them in a way others can easily grasp, but the job of the communicator is not to impress. The job of the communicator is to communicate.
I have to be aware of how easy it is to slip into Christian jargon even when trying to share the good news of God’s grace. It might sound spiritual to use certain words or phrases. It might even be so normal that you don’t realize what you are doing. But it doesn’t necessarily communicate.
For example, if you ask the person on the street if he/she is “saved,” you may not be connecting with anything in their hearts or minds. Saved from what? As Christianity increasingly is pushed further back in our culture, our words will have to come from outside the limited Christian community. If we want to communicate, that is. If we just want to sound spiritual or elite, then jargon is a good way to do it.
With that in mind, I want to address certain phrases and concepts I use. I know that most of those who read this blog are believers with church backgrounds. I also know that those backgrounds differ. Even within the church community, we might not mean the same thing when we use certain words and phrases.
I am also aware that some concepts are hard to understand. So, as I go through these, I may or may not accomplish my purpose of communicating what I believe to be truth. I invite readers to ask questions along the way. Don’t try to fix what I say, but you are welcome to disagree and tell me why. My purpose is to reduce confusion, not increase it.
And, if you have a concept commonly taught in your church or community that has puzzled you, please feel free to send it along to me. I’ll try to answer it with a post. Be patient, because I can’t answer them all at once. Some I might not be able to answer at all, but I will either try or just tell you that I don’t know the answer. You can contact me through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. I might answer your comment in the comment section. Please be patient.
I have a list of concepts that need some explanation, in my opinion. I am quite willing to interrupt my schedule for your question. One a week will be enough to give us a basic understanding and words of encouragement. And, encouragement is the most important part of this. I believe that the truth of the gospel is a wonderful blessing for all of us.
I would appreciate your prayers as I do this. I am not thinking of it as a theology class or as a presentation of my doctrine. Instead, I just want to take familiar statements and make them plain. Since these will all be concepts that pertain to grace, Monday Grace will be the perfect place to work through them.
Walk with me as we consider the things of life under grace.
Many of the concepts we will be considering are covered indirectly in this devotional book. 30 days of encouraging articles to present and support the message of God’s grace to you and me. A link should be tied to the picture, otherwise you can find it under my name on Amazon.