I’m growing weary of certain buzzwords in evangelical circles. Words like mission(al) and gospel. Not that these aren’t important and useful words when used in the appropriate context. But all too often they are overused and under-defined. We have gospel focused missional groups engaging in missional gospel activities for the cause of the gospel’s mission. These terms are used in books, blogs, conferences, and church websites. The nuanced uses are confusing at best. And contrary to what the people who use them think, there is a day coming when these words will no longer mean what they now mean. They will go out of style in favor of a new set of buzzwords. So let’s not get too focused on them. Because you know what isn’t going out of style? Jesus.
He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is not a buzzword. He is always relevant. He will never go out of style. Let’s talk about Jesus and actually use his name when we do.
Why are those with dissenting opinions always labeled haters? Just because someone has a negative comment doesn’t mean he is harboring a jealousy-fueled grudge against you. Yes, people cross the line and attacks get personal. That’s not what I’m talking about.
Not everyone who disagrees with you is a hater. In fact, some of the best feedback comes from those who have little or nothing invested in your success. If you really care about getting better, listen to constructive feedback and filter accordingly. You didn’t get where you are now without making some changes along the way. If you did, your luck is about to out.
Authenticity is a trendy word to use these days, especially in the church. In addition to being overused, I would argue that we don’t really love authenticity the way we say we do. If we’re honest (and isn’t that the point of authenticity?), most of us aren’t sure we really want it that bad. Being fully known sounds freeing. It is freeing. But most of us are scared to death of letting others know who we really are inside – our darkest thoughts, our worst secrets, and our deepest fears.
What’s more, we aren’t entirely sure how to handle it when someone is truly authentic. There’s a part of us that admires that person and secretly wishes we had the same level of guts. At the same time, what are we supposed to do with this new information – act like we don’t know about it? Do we really want to know the junk in other people’s lives? Authenticity sounds like a good idea. But there’s a reason it doesn’t happen more often. Maybe we should get to the bottom of that before we spend too much time talking about being authentic.
Tolerance: it is perhaps the most esteemed virtue in a pluralistic society. The belief that everyone is entitled to live how they want without objection from others seems self-evident. What could be more American? How could any intellectually enlightened individual not hold to such a view?
The problem with modern-day tolerance is that at its core, it is a logically inconsistent position. It requires you to be intellectually dishonest. How else could you conclude that a word which, by definition, means having a “fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own,” makes it is acceptable to rail against those who hold to moral absolutes? Unless, of course, you’re not all that tolerant yourself.