Series: Ten Mangled Words

As Real As I Feel

As Real As I Feel

This entry is part 21 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

An assumption of a generation intoxicated with authenticity is the notion that feelings don’t lie. Given their spontaneous and often uncontrollable nature, emotions are seen as the inevitable and unstoppable eruptions of the heart. Breaking through the surface layer of ‘masks’, ‘forms’, or some other supposed act of evading one’s inner truth, emotions represent pure,… Continue Reading

Without Wax

Without Wax

This entry is part 22 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

To recover the word sincerity from its current mangled form, we might remember some etymology. The etymology of sincerity is a favorite among preachers, and for good reason – it’s an interesting tale. It seems in the Graeco-Roman world, unscrupulous merchants had found a nifty way to sell otherwise useless cracked pottery. By using wax,… Continue Reading

“Relevance”

“Relevance”

This entry is part 23 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Perhaps one of the great put-downs today is to be told that your church is not relevant, or that your preaching is not relevant to “the issues people are facing”. Being called irrelevant cuts a little deeper than being called intolerant; for if you’re cited for being intolerant, it merely means your teaching may have… Continue Reading

Relevant or Current?

Relevant or Current?

This entry is part 24 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When some people speak of the importance of relevance, they don’t mean relevance at all. After all, relevant, strictly speaking, merely means ‘pertinent to the matter at hand’. Relevance needs an object: relevant to whom or what matter?, we may ask. The fact that some people use the word relevant as a quality not requiring… Continue Reading

Relevance and Intelligibility

Relevance and Intelligibility

This entry is part 25 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Modern Christian champions of relevance mean many things by the term. One use is the concept of intelligibility. When calling for the church to be relevant to this generation, they mean that its message must be understandable, clear, and intelligible. Thus far, no objection. No command exists to make the Gospel obscure or arcane. If… Continue Reading

Relevance and Notoriety

Relevance and Notoriety

This entry is part 26 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

One of the powerful spells cast over the modern world is the charm of celebrity. One quipped that a celebrity is someone who is famous for being famous, but few stop to notice that. Celebrity culture is the true opiate of the masses, and if it were not so, the word paparazzi would never have… Continue Reading

Relevance in the Eye of the Beholder

Relevance in the Eye of the Beholder

This entry is part 27 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A book on chastity may not seem relevant to teenagers necking in a parked car. First-aid kits don’t seem relevant to two boys beginning a scuffle. Wedding vows don’t appear relevant to a person plunging into an affair. When we are morally committed to a course of action, it narrows the horizon of what we… Continue Reading

Ten Mangled Words – “Culture”

Ten Mangled Words – “Culture”

This entry is part 28 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Jackhammers are not the ideal tool for mixing cake batter. Some mess will almost certainly result. Evangelical Christians using the word ‘culture’ often remind one of a baker with a such a power tool. When most Evangelicals begin writing or speaking on culture, one winces. A migraine is certainly on its way. The word culture,… Continue Reading

Culture – More Than Creation

Culture – More Than Creation

This entry is part 29 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If the word culture is to be useful, it must define something. It must name and describe a discrete phenomenon in the world. A useful definition must limit its subject, so that we could easily say what is not culture. The problem with many definitions found in Evangelical literature is that they seem to include… Continue Reading

Culture, Not Race

Culture, Not Race

This entry is part 30 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Scripture does not define the word culture, but it certainly describes the phenomenon of culture-making. Humans are meaning-making creatures, who fashion their world after their values, religions, and world-views. The Bible also describes the behavior or way of life that comes from a certain culture. The Greek word anastrophe is translated conduct, or way of… Continue Reading

Christian Culture in Church History

Christian Culture in Church History

This entry is part 31 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A common error in the study of church history is to seek to find a version of one’s present branch of Christianity in the past. Since Christian doctrine and practice develop over the centuries, trying to find oneself in church history is like trying to find out how people in Shakespeare’s era texted one another,… Continue Reading

We Don’t Want Your White Man’s Religion

We Don’t Want Your White Man’s Religion

This entry is part 32 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In Africa, particularly where black nationalist sentiments arise, it is not uncommon to hear the title of this post thrown around in conversation. Similarly, half-formed sentiments are uttered about missionaries who replaced the harmonious earth-religion of the peaceful indigenous people with their foreign religion, so as to steal their land and subjugate them. The saddest… Continue Reading

Missionaries and Culture

Missionaries and Culture

This entry is part 33 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Missionaries do their work in a perilous environment. Such has been the rise of ideas such as “multi-culturalism”, that many missionaries now go by a different title: aid–workers, social-workers, educators, or even consultants. Opting for different titles is understandable. In the popular imagination,┬ámissionary is increasingly synonymous with colonialist, imperialist, or patronizing religious types “forcing” their… Continue Reading

Pagan Culture and Apostate Culture

Pagan Culture and Apostate Culture

This entry is part 34 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In discussions of evangelizing the post-modern West, something is often forgotten. Those cultures which were formed by Christianity and have since abandoned it are not reverting to paganism. They are not pagan cultures. They are apostate cultures, and an apostate culture is a much scarier animal than a pagan one. C.S. Lewis wrote on how… Continue Reading

Unicultural Uniformity

Unicultural Uniformity

This entry is part 35 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Of the little pilot-fish words that swim alongside the more commonly mangled word, culture, two of the more frequently heard are multicultural and diversity. In fact, these have become unquestioned, and probably unassailable holy-words in modern culture. A competitive company will have somewhere on its Vision and Mission statement, “Our core-values include a commitment to… Continue Reading

Ten Mangled Words – “Equality”

Ten Mangled Words – “Equality”

This entry is part 36 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Equality is one of those ideas whose basic meaning is understood, but whose presence is demanded where it cannot possibly be expected. After all, equality is a fairly simply concept: when two amounts are equal, neither is greater or lesser than the other. But while equality in mathematics is a simple matter, equality in human… Continue Reading

Equality and Distinctions

Equality and Distinctions

This entry is part 37 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Those who believe in cosmic justice are actually at war with nature. If you desire to have all people have absolutely equal opportunities (as in our sprint race example) by manipulating all kinds of variables, you are actually fighting against the created order. You are fighting biology, genetics, and indeed, providence. If you’re a Cosmic… Continue Reading

Equality is Medicine, Not Food

Equality is Medicine, Not Food

This entry is part 38 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I do not think that equality is one of those things (like wisdom or happiness) which are good simply in themselves and for their own sakes. I think it is in the same class as medicine, which is good because we are ill, or clothes which are good because we are no longer innocent. I… Continue Reading

Equality and Necessary Hierarchy

Equality and Necessary Hierarchy

This entry is part 39 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The current proponents of social justice have little idea of what they may be creating in pursuit of their goal. Their goal is a just society, but the pursuit of radical egalitarianism won’t provide them with that. Richard Weaver, writing in 1948, describes how radical egalitarianism provides nothing new that traditional societies didn’t already produce,… Continue Reading

A Theology of Equality

A Theology of Equality

This entry is part 40 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When God made humankind, He made them male and female, both equally in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). According to Peter, this makes men and women co-heirs of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7). He chose to do so in a staggered fashion, however, creating the male first, followed by the female. In so doing,… Continue Reading