I’ve been looking at a lot of writing recently and I’ve realized something. My viewpoint on the use of some words may have been miscommunicated. I just thought a little clarification could be used. I’m going to throw a few words out here that I believe are often misused in the Church today if we want to keep men in the pews.

Relationship- I have no issue with this word. I’ve had many relationships with many people. I have brothers who I served with and who I have met since. I have had a few romantic relationships before meeting my wife. I have an amazing relationship with my wife. I have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.

Passion- I believe that we as humans are passionate beings. We can show passion in any activity. I passionately believe that we are failing men in the Church today.

Intimate- This is a difficult one to use in modern culture, and that is why I don’t believe it should be used in a situation with new believers or seekers in western culture.

Love- As long as we differntiate the different types of love, this is a wonderful word to use. I love my wife (passionate). I love God and Jesus (agape or unconditional). I love my parents and brother (brotherly or relational). We must make it clear which love was used in scripture (there are 4 words in scripture that we translate from Greek to the one English word, love).

Let me give a very clear example of a way I believe these words are used wrongly by the Church.

“In order to be saved, you must have an intimate and passionate relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Look at this sentence from the viewpoint of a seeker or unbeliever in western society. While I agree that this sentence is not talking about a romantic relationship, a lot of these guys were not interested in “romance” before they started seeking, they wanted a “passionate” night with a girl who didn’t mind being “intimate” without having a committed “relationship” that is shown through marriage.

Here’s another statement I’ve heard said by a pastor. You’re going to see what I am talking about.

“Ladies. You need to have a passionate relationship that you share love intimately with Jesus Christ!”

If I, a Christian man, hear a pastor say this to my wife, we are leaving this Church. I do not believe that a pastor should be using language that can easily be misunderstood as an affair or infidelity of any kind. And for the single ladies, they should not be holding up Jesus as the example that their future husband must measure up to. This sets the ladies expectations high, or even causes marriages to collapse. This is because we as men can not live up the the example set by Christ, we will have failures. He never will.

My problem is with any language that is used by western culture to identify with sex. Our culture is becoming increasingly sexual and immoral. We should not be using language in the church that could be misunderstood. We must ensure that anything we teach, anything we share, anything we imply, is clear and fully understood by all whom we speak to. That is why I am writing this. I was misunderstood. The readers thought I was saying these words shouldn’t be used, when in fact I was saying that we should not use these words as culture uses them. Let’s get the use right. Let’s stop trying to use the words to mean different things than society while using them in the same way. Lets try using the same words more creatively.

“I love Jesus Christ and have a relationship with Him. I share my life and passions with Him.”

I’m drawing a blank on how to use “intimate” right now, but I know there are non-sexual ways to use it. So now I’ve pulled out a little more depth of my theology than usual. Let me know your thoughts.

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul

Comments
  1. jmmllr says:

    I think intimacy has a lot to do with time. Even if we don’t use it in a sentence, there is a real intimacy in the life of a Christian and how he relates to God.

    Thanks for the post

    • Paul S says:

      I whole-heartedly agree with you. Time is important. I agree that it is important in christianity, though not in the way that society uses it…

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