I remember the first time I heard the word “Christianese.” It was my freshman year at Gordon College in my Introduction to Communication Theory class. My professor was explaining how as Christians we sometimes use terms that you wouldn’t understand if you didn’t grow up going to church. Phrases like “born again,” “Spirit-led,” or to “love on someone,” can sometimes be confusing, rather than inclusive. To those outside the church, it can make Christianity seem like a club with it’s own set of vocabulary and rituals, rather than a dynamic, compelling relationship with the lover of our souls.
I think what my professor was getting at is that we are two different cultures, Christians and non-Christians. You don’t have to travel to Africa or Asia to experience a different way of life, you may only need to travel down the hall, or across the office to find someone who views the world in a radically different way than you do.
When you become a Christian your worldview shifts. If you were an atheist, you realize that there is a God who has a plan, and life has meaning beyond what we experience with our five senses. Or if you were a Hindu, or Neo-pagan, you move from worshiping many gods to the true One as revealed in Christ. This is a powerful, dramatic and life-altering shift. However, as soon as that person joins a body of believers, they pick up cultural behaviors and attitudes that aren’t necessarily part of the Gospel message, and we learn to live from a script that contains both Biblical and non-Biblical habits.
This is what Frank Viola addresses in his newest book, Revise Us Again: Living from a Renewed Christian Script. In each of the 10 chapters he pinpoints a particular behavior or phrase that Christians often take for granted as part of our thinking, and examines it under the lens of Scripture.
I interviewed Frank recently to discuss Revise Us Again. I hope that you’ll take a few moments to listen to the interview, and more importantly take a little time to examine yourself and see where your life may need some revising.