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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Tricky Churchy Words - a Few Definitions

Apocalyptic:  A genre of literature for the dispossessed, appropriated by the wealthy.

Apologetics - Giving answers to questions nobody's asking.

Celtic Tradition - A contradiction in terms.

Creed - A group of propositions, read out with varying degrees of conviction.

Evangelical - A group of people united around a love of chunky sweaters, with a tendency to smiling unnervingly often.

Evangelism - Telling people who don't have a concept of "sin" that they can be saved from sin, by a process they don't understand called "repentance", which brings into play something they won't have heard of called "redemption" and thereby unlocks a state of being they won't know about called "atonement".

Exegesis - Working out what we'd like to get out of the Bible (see Old Testament Law).

Hermeneutics of Suspicion - A German with a doubting attitude.

Incarnation - A long, strange word we use to obscure the most exciting truth in history.

Intelligent Design - Not something that would have ended up with humankind, that's for sure.

Liturgy- The tracks that keep the worship-train moving in the right direction.

Modern Worship - Singing songs in a musical style popular c 1967.

Old Testament Ceremonial Law - The bits we don't want to believe in any more.

Old Testament Moral Law - The bits we do want to believe in. Except the punishments that are to be applied. We don't want to keep those. Well, maybe some people in Tennessee might.

Orthodoxy - What We believe.

Outreach - Dividing the community into "us" and "them", and then trying to do something about the division.

Penal Substitution - What some people think is the only way of explaining something which should be looked at in lots of different ways.

Perichoresis - In its modern expression, a way of explaining the Trinity - which many church people don't understand - by reference to dancing - which is something else that many church people don't understand.

Regeneration- More exciting than the one Dr Who experiences, but not normally so outwardly.

Reincarnation - Not to be confused with "Resurrection".

Renewal - The church experiencing the unity of the Spirit, in a series of events that can often cause division.

Resurrection - Not going to heaven when you die, because it's already come down here.

Righteous - Like Us.

Sermon - A talk which ministers must assume will be boring, so they try to make as short as possible -despite the fact that people actually want to hear what they have to say,

Spontaneous Worship - You wouldn't turn up with a bunch of bricks to build a church, kick off without a plan, and assume Divine guidance would ensure the building didn't fall down. That's all I'm saying.

Theology - Something that is only for the clergy, with no connection to real life. Apparently.

Transubstantiation - Far more reasonable than most people imagine. Not in any way incompatible with chemistry.


  1. Brilliant, funny and helpful!

  2. Blow, I thought Perichoresis was the word for the smell of the earth when the first rain comes after a drought. Now what was that word?
    Oh why bother, I'm not likely to need it, now a word for the relief of the first sun after constant rain, that would be useful.

  3. It can be googled! The word is petrichor.


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