Learning The Lingo

A young friend of mine recently became a Christian and is working at changing a lot of his habits. One of his toughest adjustments has been in the area of language. Of course, there’s no way around it. If my friend Jim is going to be an evangelical Christian, he has to learn to talk like one.

To help Jim get into the swing of things, I’ve been coaching him in evangelical lingo for the past few weeks. For example, instead of asking, “What’s wrong with you?” of a moody Christian, Jim has learned to query, “What’s troubling your heart?”

He knows not to say, “Siegfried died,” but “Siegfried went to be with the Lord.” And no longer does he comment after a sermon, “That was a great talk, Reverend Walker.” Now he knows to say, “Your message really ministered to me, Pastor Ken.”

At an impasse in an argument, Jim used to state, “I think you’re wrong.” Today he declares as a clincher, “I’ll pray for you.”

Jim has a girlfriend in the church singles group, and he thinks learning the proper language may have increased the chances of a successful marriage proposal. Once he would have put forward the flat and deadly blunt, “Will you marry me?” No longer—he is informed of the irresistible, “Is the Lord leading you to be my wife?”

I must say that Jim is a quick learner. The other evening he mentioned something that gave me insight into a man who has given me some difficulties on a church committee. “I’m glad you told me that,” I said.

“Wait a moment,” Jim said as he raised his palm. “Shouldn’t you say, ‘I’m just really ...

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