I spent today observing the proceedings in a court of law. I have been a fan of almost every “lawyer show” television has produced, and this was like none of them. No one would watch a reality show that merely followed a normal case through trial.
The scariest thing about my observations today is that I think I understand what was going on and why it took so long and seemed to move so slowly. Unlike almost everywhere else in our society, what one says and how one says it in court actually matters.
I was impressed by the quest for precision of word choice and clarity of meaning on the part of the attorneys. If a question was not answered with the correct words, the question was repeated.
The church, on the other hand, seems increasingly content to let anyone use any word to meany anything he or she wants it to mean. For instance, I have had people tell me that because people use the same word, “god” to refer to a supreme being, they must, therefore, be referring to the same supreme being.
Likewise, some people who call themselves Christian are content with a Jesus who was not born of a virgin and was not raised from the dead. Other Christians understand that their faith is dependent upon those historical events.
Thus, sadly, in the context of church, the words “god” and “Christian” have no specific or particular meaning.
At least lawyers will spend hours taking meticulous care to say what they mean.
It would be refreshing if the church could learn to do the same thing.