Also known as “the only thing post modernists seem to have gotten right.” I’m not saying that everything else the Post Moderns say about life and church and art are without value or merit, just that I don’t care about anything else. Those involved with the post modern church tend to say that language is too dependent on the individual circumstances for it to be an effective tool of communication.
For example: As a relatively new Christian I wanted to understand the concept of fasting and pursued it for my own spiritual development. Fasting was a good thing. Another person however, may have been forced to fast as a young child against his/her will. Fasting is therefore a bad thing. In this example should I meet such a person and talk about fasting we’ll end up talking about two very different things.
A similar thing happened recently when discussing the difference between spirituality and religion here and here. For the most part we’re talking about two different things, based on our own definitions
I could start talking about the gift of prophecy and people would start freaking out, but if I say “I was praying and God spoke to my heart…” well that’s normal.
In a broader Body of Christ example, I could talk about the Body or the Bride and Christians will understand what I’m saying but if I say these things to someone outside the church they won’t have a clue what I mean. And then if I clarify and say “I mean the church,” that could bring up all kinds of baggage that I may or may not appreciate and understand.
This is the problem of Language. Every word and phrase is loaded so that the person saying it understands one thing, but there’s no guarantee anyone else does. Since the nascent days of postmodernism people have been discussing this issue and doing away with “Christianese” (all those fun words and phrases like eschatology, exegesis, substitution atonement, and my personal favorite ‘bathed in the blood’) and while the language does need to change to become more accessible, it also raises the question of Christian identity.
Can we change our language without changing our faith? And if it doesn’t change the faith, how long before we simply have a new vocabulary of Christianese?
I wish I had an answer but I don’t (breaking one of the rules for 31DBBB). Your thoughts and comments are appreciated on this one.