I think every subgroup has its own set of buzzwords. Just ask anyone who’s attended business school about their “highly-functioning team synergy” or listen to a World of Warcraft gamer talk about anything…at all. Well, religions are like that too, and the one I’m most familiar with is Christianity. “Christianese” was, and is, part of my life. It was always so difficult to explain phrases like “grace without works” or “laying out a fleece before God” to people unfamiliar with the Bible or the social clubs that are Christian denominations.
If you’ve ever been active within Christianity, you may have heard many of these terms thrown around. Some of them may depend on the tradition and culture.
How many buzzwords and phrases can we think up? Here are 10 to start you off:
- The Bride of Christ: The followers of Jesus, used metaphorically to illustrate an intimate bond with the divine. It’s an amusing phrase since no one (according to tradition, not Dan Brown) ever married Jesus here on earth.
- ____ in the Spirit: Fill in the blank with your favorite verbs such as “slain, resting, crying, moving, praying”. This phrase means doing something under the influence of God’s holy spirit, often very trance-like, emotional, ecstatic, or dramatic. I even heard a woman say she was “driving in the Spirit” which made me afraid for the other motorists.
- Anointing: In Judaism, it meant being anointed with oil to mark being chosen by God to be a priest or king. In Christianity today, it usually means being “filled with the holy spirit” (another Christianese phrase) and blessed by God… followed by “____ing in the Spirit”.
- Revival: Christian revival is often accompanied by fire and brimstone sermons and evangelistic meetings that go on for days at a time. They say it will bring a new life or vibrancy to the church and community, but it usually just brings more church members into confessions of sin and commitments not to look at porn or listen to satanic secular music anymore.
- If it be God’s will/God-willing: Superstitious cop-out often said before someone states what they really want to do. Like “God willing, I’ll have enough money to buy that big screen tv next month” or “If it be God’s will, Bobby will get into Princeton and study to be a doctor.” Apparently having your own goals and dreams is bad.
- Just give it up to God/Take it to the Lord in prayer: i.e. “Sucks to be you.” or “I (have no idea how/don’t want) to solve your problem, so tell someone else.”
- Your Christian walk with God: All-encompassing way to describe the “relationship” one has with their imaginary friend. It includes pious acts of devotion, spiritual habits, emotional health, and everything that makes someone a “good Christian”. This is often used in the form of a question by someone who shouldn’t be in your personal business.
- Laying on of hands: Praying for someone while touching them. This often occurs before “____ing in the Spirit” because everyone is watching you; if you feel the “anointing”, you’ll probably do something interesting to prove it.
- Being born again: Coming out of a vagina fully-formed. Oh wait, that’s gross. It really means getting a fresh start as a newly “saved”(see below) Christian. Being “born again” is supremely important to people who evangelize. They think this magical-yet-figurative birth is vital if you’re going to get into Heaven.
- Salvation story/testimony: Here’s a typical testimony: “I was having a really great time doing things Christians think are bad. I was told they were bad. I felt guilty/empty. I chose to follow Jesus. I instantly felt awesome again. I gave up all the fun stuff and now I tell people I think it’s gross too.”