Oh my, this is funny.
Being “post-evangelical” means moving away from a culture, and cultures have their languages, cliches, and insider ways of communicating. Conforming to these verbal standards marks one as an insider and makes others feel reassured that we’re all on the same team.
But after awhile, it can sound so lame. And it can set you apart somehow as not a fellow human being. It turns out to be remarkably un-neighborly.
Since becoming a chaplain, I’ve realized more and more the need to find a simple, more human vocabulary and style — to listen and speak in ways that reveal I’m truly hearing what is being said and presented to me, in a manner that communicates interest, concern, kinship, and love, no matter who it is that I’m engaging in conversation. Usually now, when I use specific theological language, I try to frame it well within the context of the specific conversation I am having, and I make sure to check to verify that my conversation partner is understanding the terms and concepts I’m using.
I am perfectly OK with using “Christian” language — as Megan Hill has made a case for in this article. However, I think Megan misses a basic point of the video in her critique: the language being spoken, for the most part, is not biblical or theological. Instead, it represents forms of utterance that are wholly tied to modern cultural forms of evangelicalism. I would argue that much of the language doesn’t represent the message of Scripture or the reality of the Gospel at all. It’s just evangelical shop-talk.
Can we please just learn to talk like human beings and neighbors?