The Secret Language of Professional Christians
What is this secret language of elite Christians that I fail to understand or master? Do I fail to master it because I am half Korean and never learned it growing up? Does one need a white, Americanized mother to learn it? Or is it simply because I grew up in a violent household? Is that why I neither understand nor even know how to obtain the knowledge of this secret language? I truly don’t know the answers to these questions. But the longer I live, the more baffled I become.
I know that I love God and Jesus with all my heart, mind and soul. I know that I lay myself bare for their sakes. I know how imperfect and frankly, how embarrassing I am to myself when I do this. All my imperfections are laid obvious and plain for the world to see- I am often laughed at or criticized for them on this blog. They are even being brought up in my court case! Yes, I am a fool for Christ. But these elite Christian are never fools. They speak with a special vocabulary- it is slick, it never yells, it never stumbles, it always has verses memorized and ready to shoot at the hip, and most importantly, it is always spoken in a special Christian tone. Yes, that tone is what I lack most of all. When I hear it, mostly on church radio and at the pulpit (especially with guest speakers), I am laid low. I feel like I am the junk yard dog of all Christians. I am no professional, that’s for sure. I will never, ever, speak like those marvelous shiny women. Ever.
What would my husband think or do if he came home one day and I was talking in that
tone, I wonder? I think he would take my temperature. But seriously, what is that language? And why is it so highly sought after in the Christian world? Every woman who is praised in the church world sounds like that. Even toned, and with a full church vocabulary. Words like, ‘I had to check my love tank’, ‘engage with that’, ‘disengage with that’, ‘I need to affirm this in him’, ‘speak encouragement into my husband,’ ‘prayer is on my heart’, ‘I need to love intentionally’, ‘it’s part of our sin-nature’, ‘lay down the planks to build the bridge’, ‘he really received it from me’, ‘pour it out of my heart’, ‘Christ centered, Godly marriage, ‘we no longer love on purpose’… well, you’re getting the point. For me, to parrot those kinds of phrases is demeaning to me and to Christ. It’s like joining a club or something. Not because the words and phrases aren’t useful- but because they are used over and over again among the professional Christian crowd. It is a special language that only they know. It is less than genuine. It also speaks to a deep insecurity- almost as if to say, “If I won’t speak the language of this club, then they will reject me. I won’t really be considered a genuine member.” So those who are weaker will adopt it to belong.
I hate being bullied. Even subconsciously. So I refuse to use a single phrase they use.
And I fear that the truth is this: I am not included as a ‘genuine’ or ‘good’ or ‘Godly’ Christian by these people. Especially as a woman. I don’t get invited to their get-togethers. My work online is not considered to be ‘Christian’ in nature. Nor it is considered to be valuable to the Kingdom of God. I am too rough, too outspoken; I don’t use the secret language and I … well, I.. just don’t ‘sound right.’ While no theological fault can be found with what I say, I just don’t say it… the way they are used to hearing it. I don’t seem to fit. And so, I suppose I will never be a ‘leader’ in a cool church, nor will I be a speaker on a ‘nice’ radio program for ‘nice’ Christians.
I admit it, his hurts my feelings and it disappoints me as a Christian. I can’t and won’t speak the secret language. It is not in my nature to do so. I’m not a ‘joiner’, nor am I a faker. I believe that people should just be themselves and that truth should be spoken in plain words unique to each person’s experience. Otherwise, it makes those unfamiliar with the church feel intimidated and fearful. Why would they want to hang around people who have a secret way of talking? A way they probably will never learn or want to learn? I believe that this ‘clubbiness’ is what pushes new people away from a church after they ‘try it’ once. Who wouldn’t run away from something that formidable?
I’ve also noted a direct correlation between those who speak this special language to the amount of violence and pain they and their families have experienced in their histories. Those who speak the secret language best are from families who haven’t fought, divorced or done much violence. They are financially stable, don’t do drugs and alcohol and certainly don’t go to jail. They tend to have family get togethers, especially during holidays. The ones who will never speak that language are junk yard dogs who came up the hard way- with violence and brokenness. They are those whom Jesus pulled from the fire, made brand new and set on course to fulfill the Great Commission. We look at the secret language and spurn it. There is just a level of fakeness to it that we can’t do. Not after all we have seen and done. Ours is the rough road and we are familiar with it.
But it feels like elitism. It feels like a rich man’s club- one that shuns us as second class citizens. And it is no good. We, the junkyard dogs of Christendom, need to feel like we are valued by our brothers and sisters too. We need their love and acceptance. We need to be held up as examples. We are not less because of our plain speech. That secret way of speaking distances those whom it purports to help. It only honors those who are like them while ignoring the good work of those who are also sincerely serving the Lord. It creates a false division where there should be none. My message to professional, elite Christians: stop speaking the secret language. Go back to original, sincere language and stop being a club.
From this junk yard dog to all other junk yard dogs who happen to adore Jesus with all your hearts: don’t give up. Don’t allow the ‘elite’ club of Christians, who most often also include well-meaning pastors and radio hosts, defeat the good work you are also doing. We may never fit in, but I get this gut feeling that there are way more of us than there are of them. We just let people see our warts, that’s all. And I think that serves the Lord much better than pretending to be perfect, shiny and new. Most non-Christians will never relate to the elite, professional Christians- they will relate to us, the non-perfect ones who can still tell them what Jesus did for us, despite all our flaws. Doesn’t that prove Jesus’ love even more? So, carry on, you junk yard Christians! God sees & values what you do in his name, even if the profession field of Christians don’t.
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