I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Recently I encountered two people from two very different religious backgrounds under the unmbrella of "Christendom." Listening I couldn't help but notice some patterns of speech unique to each of them. One frequently spoke of "visions" and how God spoke to him. He mentioned "speaking into the lives" of people. The other used the phrase "oh my God" (& another I've forgotten) repeatedly in a less than appropriate way. The first was from a very Charismatic orientation; the other was from an old mainline denomination.

What does one's vocabulary reveal especially in religious circles? I remember in college learning the theological orientations of the major publishing houses (i.e., Broadman = Southern Baptist). Now, by looking at a publisher, I am immediately aware of potential bias. Similarly, people use words & phrases that indicate what they've been reading (or not been reading!) and who's been influencing them. Consider the following "buzz words" and phrases and see if you can detect another any underlying meanings or orientations..
  • "Welcome to God's house"
  • "God was a wonderful purpose for your life"
  • "Don't speak that" (in rebuke of someone saying he is "sick.")
  • "I'm a Christ follower"
  • "You can't have coffee in the Sanctuary"
  • "God spoke to me"
  • "Dialogue"
  • "Annointed"
  • "Spirit filled"
  • "New Testament Christian"
  • "Christians only but not the only Christians"
  • "Let's just preach Jesus"
  • “Plead the blood of Jesus”
  • "Seed faith"
  • “Missional”
  • "Holistic”
  • "Narrative”
  • "Don't go the church - be the church"
  • "Intentional"
  • "God is sovereign"
  • "Conversation"
  • "I don't teach, I facilitate"

I'm not suggesting that all of these are inherently wrong, but i am saying they usually are revealing. It's interesting that most groups of people, whatevr their orientation, create their on in-house lingo. There are many more examples, but I'm a little under the weather so I'll leave it at that.


William Mckinley Dyer said...

1-God has been laying this sermon on my heart
2-God is calling me to such and such place
3-So if a guy was driving down the road on the way to be baptized and got hit by a truck....
4-Pastor (Isnt it sad how that word has become annoying to us)
5-If they love the Christian Standard
6-I dont worry bout doctrine i just want Jesus
8-I "Got Saved"
9-Reverend Pastor Bishop Betty
10-The Lord Told Me

David H. Willis said...

Great stuff!