Whether we’ve been in the church for a few days or several decades, we often find—like this young pastor—certain terms or phrases that everyone but us seems to understand. Like most groups, we Christians have our own insider language, technical terminology, or characteristic idioms that only those in the know can comprehend. It can be frustrating when we hear such jargon and don’t know what exactly it means or where it came from. Too embarrassed to ask for a definition, we flip through our Bibles or search through a concordance to find elusive explanations.
As an aid in translating “Christianese” (and because we aren’t sure what the terms mean either), The Gospel Coalition is putting together an ongoing series to explain the meaning of obscure phrases that Christians use when we talk to our fellow believers. In this inaugural article, we’ll examine a few terms often associated with prayer.
Should, should, should. It’s a word of unfulfilled expectations, an indication that things are not as they ought to be but without certainty that they will be repaired. It leaves residues of guilt and pours on the obligations. It blame-shifts and hands out false hope. And it grasps at straws. When we allow “should” to be our circumstance we are left with the dissatisfaction of something incomplete.
Pre-order The Gospel at Work
Greg Gilbert, author of What is the Gospel?, and co-author of Preach and What is the Mission of the Church?, has a new book in the works (co-authored with Sebastian Traeger). You can pre-order The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs for the Kindle for only $4.99.
Also on sale for the Kindle:
- Not a Chance by R.C. Sproul—$3.99
- Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous—99¢
- The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken—99¢
- Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear—99¢
- Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler—$2.99
- Gospel by J.D. Greear—$3.99
- Simple Church by Thom Rainer—$2.99
If it’s happened once, it’s happened a thousand times to me. I do something, something (dare I say) good for someone else, and then in retrospect find that I didn’t really do that thing for them, but for myself. It was so that others would see me doing it. It was to garner praise from the person I was helping. It was to impressively display my aptitude or compassion for another. It happens all the time. And every time it happens, I’m reminded of something that’s as true as it is disturbing:
I cannot trust my own heart.
Our current fascination with our pastors’ book sales, name recognition value, and proliferating multi-site video venues ought to be considered a dangerous trend. Never before in the history of Christendom has a pastor’s reputation been graded by any other factors than his doctrine and his personal ethic. Today, we would add his fans.
No, my highest goal as a pastor is not to secure the greatest number of Twitter followers, but rather to model one man: our Lord Jesus Christ. His message must be my own. His methods must be sufficient for me. His majesty must be my highest end.