Non-Religious Christian Spirituality

christianese made easy

In my message Sunday, I let slip that I’d just passed my tenth anniversary as a pastor, and that at mile markers along the way, you tend to take some time to parse the journey a bit. It occurred to me to wonder whether I had been “called” to ministry or just chose it for myself and whether it really mattered. And throwing around terms like being called or annointed or gifted or led caused me to want to riff on the peculiar way we Christians use language, which is now being called “Christianese…a language used in the Christian subculture and understood easily only by other practicing Christians.”

What these terms and phrases mean to us versus what they may actually describe of the mechanics of God’s involvement with humankind is for another time. Right now I just want to have some fun. Sharing the following list of Christianese translations Sunday, I got so many people asking for them, I’m putting them all right here. They’re just pulled from the internet and anonymously written as far as I can tell, so can’t even give credit…

As a public service, here are some common phrases used in the church, along with their English-language equivalents:

Christianese: “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
Translation: “I’m totally clueless.”

Christianese: “If it be God’s will.”
Translation: “I really don’t think God is going to answer this one.

Christianese: “Lord willing . . .”
Translation: “You may think I’ll be there, but I won’t.”

Christianese: “Let’s have a word of prayer.”
Translation: “I am going to pray for a long, long, long time.”

Christianese: “That’s not my spiritual gift.”
Translation: “Find someone else.”

Christianese: “Fellowship”
Translation: “Organized gluttony.”

Christianese: “You just have to put it in God’s hands.”
Translation: “Don’t expect me to help you.”

Christianese: “I don’t feel led.”
Translation: “Can’t make me.”

Christianese: “God led me to do something else.”
Translation: I slept in instead of going to church.

Christianese: “God really helped me with this test.”
Translation: “I didn’t study but I guessed good, so I’m giving God credit in the hope that He helps me again.”

Christianese: “She has such a sweet spirit!”
Translation: “What an airhead!”

Christianese: “Bless his/her heart.”
Translation: “What an idiot.”

Christianese: “I have a ‘check’ in my spirit about him.”
Translation: “I can’t stand that jerk!”

Christianese: “I’ll be praying for you.”
Translation: “There’s an outside chance I may remember this conversation later today.”

Christianese: “I’ll pray about it.”
Translation: “Not a chance.”

Christianese: “Let us pray”
Translation: “I’m going to pretend to talk to God now, but I’m really preaching at you.”

Christianese: “Prayer requests”
Translation: “Gossip”

Christianese: “In conclusion . . . ”
Translation: “I’ll be done in another hour or so.”

Christianese: “God wants to prosper you!”
Translation: “Give me all your money.”

Christianese: I’m waiting for God to open some doors.
Translation: I’m living in my parent’s basement.

God bless the internet.


2 responses

  1. Chris Spindler

    Now that was funny!

    July 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    • It’s good to laugh at ourselves now and then, no?

      July 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

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