Congratulations on getting saved! Now that you’re a Christian, there are a few things you really should know. First, you must listen to the songs “Secret Ambition” and “Jesus Freak.” These two songs will come up a lot in conversations, and have the potential to make you a lot of friends. Familiarize yourself with them. Be ready to lip sync to them on demand. Second, get used to drinking awful coffee. Since the very first meetings in Jerusalem, Christians have insisted on drinking coffee that tastes like scalding hot paint thinner. It is one of the trials and tribulations we must endure. Finally, learn Christianese – Christian code words. What you may not have realized is we have our own special code language. If you’re going to communicate with other Christians, you need to memorize our code words and their definitions. What exactly are these code words? I’m glad you asked. What follows is a guide to understanding Christianese. Think of this as the Rosetta of the Christian world.
Terms and Definitions of Christianese
Most people think of a story as something contained within a book. Oh how wrong they are! All of us have a story, and each of our stories is important. Your story (also called “Journey” or “Road”) includes: all your life experiences, the most recent book you’ve read, your friends (even though they have their own stories, they’re also part of your story), your Moleskine journal (in which you record thoughts about your story), that one mission trip that was a defining moment in your story, and the existential crisis you had in college (the dark part of your story). Get used to referring to every experience as being a part of your “story.”
Contrary to popular opinion, “Traveling Mercies” is not the name of a Rich Mullins cover band. Rather, traveling mercies refers to divine mercies, which, oddly enough, can only be found on highways and in airplanes. No matter how much you ask, you simply cannot get traveling mercies for a trip to the grocery store. Regular mercies covers that. However, if you fail to ask for traveling mercies prior to a long trip (not to be confused with “Journey”), there is a 95 percent chance your car engine will catch on fire.
You’re in a prayer meeting, it’s your turn to pray and your mind goes blank! What do you do? Don’t panic. You simply “echo” what the person before you prayed. To echo another person’s prayer, simply take their exact words, add the word “just” to the beginning and add the words “really asking this” to the end. This simple tactic will rescue you out of every prayer jam (not to be confused with a Prayer Jam, which is praying to hip-hop music).
Christians don’t simply live life. No sir, in Christianese, we “do life!” And don’t you DARE confuse the two. Living life is boring and shallow, while doing life involves thrilling, exciting, awesome things, like Wednesday night Bible studies.
In This Place
This is a phrase included in many of our prayers as a way of making sure God knows exactly where we are located. We want God to bless us, in this place. We don’t want him to accidentally fire his blessings into the church down the street, so we alert him to our precise location. Think of this as the GPS of Christianese.
Ahh yes, authenticity, the Bigfoot of Christianity. Everyone talks about it and searches for it, but no one has ever actually seen it. I suspect this is what Bono (our favorite maybe-Christian) was referencing when he discussed not being able to find what he was looking for. It is essential that you always be looking for new ways to be authentic, regardless of whether you actually know what authenticity is. There is a theory that authenticity can be achieved by drinking coffee out of a Mason jar, but that theory has not been definitively proved yet.