Jargon

All my working life, I worked with computers, from using punched cards to program old computers, all the way to building this website. So, I have experienced computer jargon most of my life.

It made me think, do we have the same problem of jargon with Christianity? An example that came to mind is when Christians say that ‘Christ died for their sins’. This phrase is a central testimony for many Christians. But if you try and put yourself in the position of someone with little knowledge of Christian theology, then you realise that phrase will be complete gobbledygook to them.

Not that I’m saying jargon is bad. Between people that understand it, it can be a great shorthand and aid communication. But in my job, I always had to be aware of my audience when talking to people or writing reports and avoid jargon that they may not understand.

Similarly, I believe we have to be aware that we may slip into Christian jargon without realising it. It is essential that when we share our message, we do it in terms that people will understand. Our message has to be relevant. This might actually help us, because to do this, we will have to focus on what our faith really means to us.

It was an interesting exercise for me in creating our ‘About Us’ page. I wonder if I have succeeded in limiting the jargon, only you can tell. Similarly if I am preparing a worship, I want it to be understandable and relevant.

I always remember a story someone told me. Following a church service, a lady went up to the minister and said, ‘your sermon reminded me of the peace and mercy of God’. The minister was pleased with her comment until she went on to explain. ‘Yes, it was like his peace that passes all understanding and his mercy that endures forever’. Whenever I am preparing a service or writing content for this website, I always picture this lady trying to make sense of what I say.

We need to think about how we communicate our message, we need to make it understandable and relevant. What do you think?

Humour in Worship

When I was young, church services were serious affairs. The minister might be allowed to make a joke at the beginning of the sermon, but then they had to get on to the serious stuff. Many grew up worshiping in churches where laughter in worship was frowned upon. Devout spirituality was equated with seriousness.

But I always asked the question, if humour is not acceptable in worship, why did God give us the gift of laughter?

In the 1980’s, a friend introduced me to a book called ‘Time to Act’ by Paul Burbridge and Murray Watts. It was a book of Christian sketches, some were serious but many included touches of humour. To me, the book was a confirmation of what I had really felt all along, that humour can have a place in worship, it can be used to make serious points. Humour and laughter are an integral part of our being.

I’m not advocating humour for humour’s sake in worship. That is artificial and does not work. It has to be part of the natural flow of the worship, giving another slant on the message. If the humour helps tell the story, then why not have some smiles in our worship, didn’t the angels say ‘I bring you good tidings of great joy’.

As a result of reading Time to Act, I had a go at writing my own sketches and using them in my worships. I have included some on this website, I’ll leave it up to you to see what you make of them.

What I am saying is that we should not limit our views on how God’s spirit can work in worship, and if his spirit can work through humour, then why not. Keep smiling.

Multi-sensory Prayer

A book that I have sometimes used is called Multi-sensory Prayer by Sue Wallace. It contains 60 ideas for different interactive prayers and meditations.

I have always liked exploring ways to make worship meaningful and relevant. I found this book useful as it has provided me with different ideas for worship.

You are bound to like some ideas more than others, but there is enough here to find something that will appeal to you and get you thinking about how you worship.

I think this book is now out of print but you can get second hand copies on the internet.

Please note that this is purely a personal opinion and therefore it is not an official endorsement by the Community of Christ.

Hot Illustrations

A book that I have used a lot in our worships is called ‘Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks’.

Don’t be put off by the title saying youth talks. I have found the illustrations were applicable for all age worships. Also, don’t be put off by the fact it is produced in the USA, it’s easy enough to translate it to UK English.

It contains 100 stories and illustrations and each one is accompanied by a reflection relating the story to our Christian discipleship. You could call them modern day parables.

This is probably the best book of worship illustrations that I have found and there are more than enough good stories to make this book worth buying.

Please note that this is purely a personal opinion and therefore it is not an official endorsement by the Community of Christ.