Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Learning the new "buzz" words at General Assembly

Attending some of the the pre-Assembly seminars exposes me to the various buzz words circulating in the church. I'm not necessarily knocking the concepts being spoken about, but the buzz words get tiring to me. I know...I'm a dinosaur and totally un-hip.

Here's some buzz words and phrases Nathan and I have heard quite a bit in the last 48 hours:

"The Gospel is a story...you're life is a story...these stories intersect...and Jesus is the hero of the story" 

"Story, story, story..." 

"gospel-coaching is learning people's story..." 

"...in this context...."

"..enter the conversation..." 


"love on each other..." 

"missionally....missional...etc. etc"

"love on people to break down the walls so we can build relationships...for multicultural, multiethnic, and multi sector ministry." 

"relationships are everything..." 

I am entirely appreciative of the pastoral need to constantly be talking through discipleship approaches.  At base level, genuine pastoral discipleship strategizing is what produces most of these buzz words.  Certain words or phrases become "buzz" words when a particular influential pastor or pastors use them.  Other pastors study such guys obsessively and repeat their words and phrases over and over.

If I had a dime for every time I have heard "Keller says....", I'd have a whole bunch of dimes.  Tim Keller is the current reigning originator of buzz words in the PCA.

While not personally compelled to integrate these words too much in my own discussions and teaching, I'm fine with buzz words, so long as they are used in an attempt to improve our pastoral ability.  If they help to assist people in their walk with Christ and growth in grace, fine, buzz away.

Sometimes, however, the buzz words are sloppy or hard to understand exactly and can foster imprecise doctrine (which, in turn, always leads to peril).  It's not entirely accurate to describe the gospel as a story.   Yes, there is a story to be told concerning the gospel (God's saving Man through Christ), but it's more than just a story.  Further, the high value placed on relationships and "loving on each other" sometimes obscures the need for doctrine to govern and define our relationships. We can forget that "loving on each other" means telling the truth to one another, even when it hurts.  These buzz words and concepts are usually, well, just too sloppy for me.

Nevertheless, I am entirely willing to admit it might just be that I'm too un-hip and a touch anti-pop anything.


cara erickson-park said...

If you are unhip, I am fine with that. As LONG as you run as fast as you can (which we love that about you!) away from being "missional" or "relational" or "relevant". I left a church that was focused on all of those things. I am grateful for the supposed "unhipness" of Redeemer. Unhipness for unhipness' sake is dull. But unhipness for the sake of truth is incredibly hip. :)

Woody Woodward said...

Any pastor who is an avid outdoors-men, bow hunts for deer, cleans, guts and eats venison, enjoys a fine glass of wine once in awhile, and a good joke is Hip to me.
But admitting that you waist money and time on the music of a loud noise, long-haired, who knows what else group like Metallica, that's pushen' the envelope from the hip. Have a great time and hope you can enjoy Jack Fry’s.

Michael Lockridge said...

I am not fond of buzz words. They too often give the illusion of thought and learning without thought and learning. Bumper sticker philosophy.

That being said, one phrase I coined that has been quoted by a few other people is, "No philosophy worth holding will fit on a bumper sticker." I like it because I believe it to be true, and at the same time it is self-contradictory.

The phrase never went viral, and I never got a dime for it.

Unknown said...

The PCA is sounding entirely too SBC. We already have one SBC, we don't need another. Be un-hip, please, for the sake of the PCA, fight the radical individualism that infects the Baptist world.

-- Steve Rives, a Southern Baptist Pastor!