"Authenticity" has become a buzzword. It has become a mandatory addition to any version of Christian Conference Buzzword Bingo. (A game utilizing bingo style cards with overused words de jour in each bingo-space. Who can be first to score 5 in a row and declare "BINGO?")

Thirteen years ago, I attended a national pastors' conference. At the time I was helping with an emergent-style church plant and I was sent to plunder as many growth strategies as possible. I remember that "authenticity" was all the rage at the conference. Regularly we were told that the future of preaching required a new commitment to vulnerable communication. There were even break-out sessions that taught techniques of authentic communication—and at the time these seminars made perfect sense.

Much has happened in the last thirteen years. Culture has shifted significantly and so has religious rhetorical style. You could rightly say that authenticity—and even stunning ...

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