Often when answering questions contributers throw out a lot of Christian lingo that are foreign and unhelpful to those unfamilar or new to Christianity or the church. Without explanation, this type of language makes the site less accessible and serves to narrow the potential audience.
An article from Tim Keller called the The Missional Church address this problem with overly Christian vernacular. This site is not a church, but I believe Keller's points about language are relevant to an extent:
- In 'Christendom' there is little difference between the language inside and outside of the church. Documents of the early U.S. Congress, for example, are riddled with allusions to and references from the Bible. Biblical technical terms are well-known inside and outside. In a missional church, however, terms must be explained.
- The missional church avoids 'tribal' language, stylized prayer language, unnecessary evangelical pious 'jargon', and archaic language that seeks to set a 'spritual tone.'
- The missional church avoids 'we-them' language, disdainful jokes that mock people of different politics and beliefs, and dismissive, disrespectful comments about those who differ with us
- The missional church avoids sentimental, pompous, 'inspirational' talk . Instead we engage the culture with gentle, self-deprecating but joyful irony the gospel creates. Humility + joy = gospel irony and realism.
- The missional church avoids ever talking as if non-believing people are not present. If you speak and discourse as if your whole neighborhood is present (not just scattered Christians), eventually more and more of your neighborhood will find their way in or be invited.
- Unless all of the above is the outflow of a truly humble-bold gospel-changed heart, it is all just 'marketing' and 'spin.'
For instance, the top voted answer for this question starts with the phrase "As Christians we are..." This presupposes that the person asking question and everyone reading the answer is a Christian.
I am not suggesting removing technical vernacular but rather adding concise clarifications/explanations or even just a helpful link when using particularly advanced terms.
Should we encourage "Missional" vernacular on this site? If so, how should this be done? Should the editing, commenting, chatting and moderating facilities be used to steer contributors away from "Christianese"?