Revised, updated and massively expanded.

(Please note: these are not really meant to be serious. This in no way reflects my doctrine—don’t go there. Lighten-up! After all, it is categorized under “funny”).

1. “Heads bowed, eyes closed . . .”: During a church service, you may hear a preacher abruptly break into this unexpected dialogue with the audience: “Heads bowed, eyes closed. If you have accepted Christ into your heart [more later], I want you to raise your hand.” Don’t get scared. Nothing bad is going to happen to you. It is not a fancy way to steal your money or pull anything sneaky. It is the preacher’s way of helping the uncomfortable seeker feel more at ease about accepting Christ. It is best if you just follow instructions here.

2. “Into the Word”: This is a portion of an important phrase that may be communicated by seasoned Christians in many different contexts. It always has reference to the Bible. Yes, I know, the Bible is more than one word, in fact it is thousands, but once you are a Christian, it becomes singular and has a definite article, “the,” attached to it. If you hear someone say, “Are you in the Word?,” this is another way of saying, “You need to read the Bible if you are going to be spiritual like me.” IMPORTANT: This has no relation to the phrases, “Word to your mother,” “Word up,” or just plain “Word.”

3. Backslidden: This has no reference to the past event of sliding down a hill on your back. It is used to refer to those Christians who are now suspect in their original confession due to their current participation in a particular sin.

4. “Ask Jesus into your heart”: Although there is nowhere in Scripture that people are commanded to ask Jesus into their heart, this has become the primary means by which Evangelicals believe a person becomes a Christian. Don’t be scared here. Heart surgery, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular exercise (or lack thereof) have no bearing on Christ’s presence in your heart. He does not actually live there.

5. Soul Winning: Please understand, this  is not a game. It is the act whereby one person tells another about Christ and the person believes, thereby having their souls “saved” (i.e. “won”). I know that normally if there are winners, you would think there are losers, but not in Soul Winning.

6. “I see that hand . . .”: This is related to #1. The pastor has just asked for raised hands while everyone’s heads are bowed and eyes closed. “I see that hand” can mean one of two things: 1) Someone is indicating that they have accepted Jesus by raising their hand. 2) The pastor is acting like someone has to be more heroic and finance the new building. VERY IMPORTANT: Avoid any temptation to look for the hand when the pastor says “I see that hand.” Although science is inconclusive, we are not sure if you looking for the hand raised has any bearing on the effectiveness of the salvation process. It is best to be safe and avoid giving in to this temptation. To be very spiritual, just thank the Lord for that person and pray that they become a Calvinist.

7. Contemporary Christian Music: Avoid at all costs. Yes, many of your Christian friends will act as if they like it. Musicians, sociologists, and psychologists are perplexed as to the reasons why. We believe it is due to the pressured environment of the Christian community for Christians to do all things Christian, but this has no bearing on your salvation. Please, don’t feel pressure to like it.

8. Christian Movies: See “Contemporary Christian Music.”

9. Baptism: The spiritual act of going under water. Yeah, I know, most people don’t understand it, but you must do it anyway. Oh, also, someone else has to push, drop, or lower you; otherwise, it is ineffective.

10. “Blessed”: This word must take the place of many words, but the most important replacement is with the word “luck.” Super-spiritual Christians (SSC) will often be offended and pugnaciously correct you if you ever say, “Good luck.” Even if you are just using it as a casual phrase with the best of intentions, the SSC will see it as an opportunity to correct you and show you how Christian they are compared to you by saying “I don’t believe in luck, only God’s blessings.” When you have someone correct you, just act as if you have learned something and then be on your way.

11. The Water that Jesus Turned into Wine was Diluted to a Watery Grape juice: Although there is no biblical, historic, or cultural evidence to suggest it, you must believe that Christ did not turn the water into wine, but into watery grape juice. This is a cardinal doctrine.

12. Lord’s Table (Baptist): It goes by many other names, but this represents the time when you eat a really small cracker and a small cup of grape juice and afterwords are more spiritual because of it. Think mystery. It is very important to know that this is not the church providing lunch. As well, those who are on the Atkins diet cannot become Christian because of the high carbs in both the juice and cracker.

Lord’s Table (Presbyterian/Anglican/Methodist/Catholic): Free booze.

13. Public Prayer: You will often find yourself in a situation where others are praying and you don’t know what to do. As a general rule, you should remain quiet and attempt to pray with them. If your mind drifts just try to make a quiet, yet slightly audible, sounds like “um” (not “ummmm”), “yes Lord,” and “amen.” They may be completely out of context, but you will still be better off. This is very well accepted.

14. God D*%n: The only phrase that you can use that will immediately let others know that you are not a Christian and the only exception to the once-saved-always-saved doctrine (despite the fact that it is not really taking God’s name in vain).

15. “Jesus”: This is an acceptable answer to pretty much every question in the Christian community. For example: Who is God? Jesus. Why are you alive? Jesus. Why are we here? Jesus. What website were you looking at? Jesus. What did you learn about today? Jesus. What is your favorite music? Jesus. What book are you reading? Jesus. Why don’t you want to go to _________ with me? Jesus. What planet is that? Jesus. It always works.

16. “Jesus!”: Bad word, see # 14.

17. Rush Limbaugh: This is the only person in existence who has not asked Jesus into their heart but is nonetheless going to heaven.

18. Raising hands during worship: Be very careful with this. The first thing you need to know is that this is not the way to ask a question during church service, but a way to worship. Churches are not in agreement about its validity. Some churches allow the “Full throttle” (raising hands above your head either with hands spread or index finger pointed), but some places only allow the “Governor” (hands raised to chest high position). Some churches will see any extension of hands as a sign of self-promotion and you will be asked to leave. The best approach is to ask the usher while being seated.

19. Quiet time: Please note, this has no relation to “time out.” In fact, it could be just the opposite. All Christians are expected to have “quiet time.” It is at this time that you renew your relationship to God through prayer and Bible study. The longer the better. If you do this first thing in the morning, people will count you blessed.

20. The gentle hand squeeze at the end of a prayer: While this is not a phrase or word that you need to know, it is a practice that might get you caught off guard if you are not aware of implications. It will come at the end of a prayer in which hands are being held. It is a gentle squeeze as the prayer says “amen” or immediately after it. Either is acceptable. It means, in essence, “I love you and we are in this together. So hang in there and call on me if you ever need anything.”

21. Short-term Missions: Short-term missions are a part of the Christian’s life. Please note that if you go on a short-term mission, there is a universal pattern of experience. 1) Fear: Going to another country is frightening. 2) Excitement: The Lord has personally arranged for this trip and has someone for you to meet. 3) Shock: this is the initial disturbance that Americans have to the poverty and needs of the visited area. 4) Attachment: this represents the love that you have for the people and places you have gone along with the desire to remain. 5) Mourning: this is the time when you have to leave. Expect a lot of wailing and crying. 6) Telling: this is where you fruitlessly try to explain everything that happened and every emotion you felt to everyone you meet. 7) Judging: This is where you look down upon everyone for being so materialistic and not being passionate about the needs of the poor. 8) Adjustment: this happens two weeks after the mission trip and represents the return of self-pity because your neighbor just got a new car and yours has nearly 50,000 miles on it.

22. “Lord, we just pray that…” This phrase should be uttered at least twenty different times throughout a public prayer. It is to show the simplicity of your requests and the humble mood in which they are asked by supplying the key word “just.” Variances such as “We just ask…,” “Lord, we just…,” “Lord we just come before you” or just “just” are also acceptable. As long as it has the word “just” in it, you should be good.

23. “Lord,” “Lord God,” “God,” and “Father God” references in prayer: This is related to the previous, but an important addition to  your understanding of public prayer. While praying, Christians will continually repeat God’s name so as to remind you and themselves to whom they are praying. Therefore, do not be surprised to hear “Lord,” “Lord God,” “Father,” or its popular variation, “Father God” at the beginning of every sentence. It sometimes will even occur multiple times in the same sentence such as the following: “Lord God, we just pray that you will be with us God during our trip God.” Pretty much, the more you say a variation of God’s name, the more spiritual you are.

24. “Hedge of protection”: This is the way to pray for the protection of a loved one. Its the primary Christian defense against demonic forces. No one really knows what a “hedge of protection” is, but everyone knows that Satan does not fair well when its presence is evoked.

25. “Pot Lucks”: Although this may be confusing considering #10, this is the one time in which Christians believe in “luck.” These are Sunday night “fellowship” dinners where everyone brings their favorite dish. Various movements within contemporary Christian history have attempted to change the name of this to “Pot blessed” with no luck. Not only has the designation “luck” been challenged, but many objections have been raised to the use of the word “pot” due to the muchies that are involved.

26. Prayer walks: These serve a double purpose. 1) They help to work off the “pot luck” and 2) they keep Christians awake during prayer. They also have been known to have a geographically positioned spiritual effect upon the tracked area.

27. “Post-Sermon Prayer”: This comes at the end of a sermon or lesson. While this is normally referred to as simply a prayer, it has a life of its own, serving primarily as an extended summary of the sermon you just heard, sometimes with additional points or applications the preacher didn’t think of during preparation.

28. “Worship”: Singing

29. “Amen”: The way to give a sense of approval to the pastor concerning his teaching. It is another way of saying, “I already agree with what you are preaching, therefore it is approved. Preach on.” Preachers who do not receive “amens” during their sermon begin to question their calling, so use them liberally.

30. “Anti-Christ”: Obama

31. “Fall Festival”: Halloween

32. Vacation Bible School: Free summertime babysitting for parents.

Your turn. Help out the beginner to Christianity.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    96 replies to "The Beginner's Guide to Christianity: Thirty-Two Things You Need to Know Right Now"

    • mbaker

      How about “Let’s all join together in one accord and ask the Lord what to to do about ________.” This is usually invoked when the preacher is has already made up his mind about doing a certain thing but wants to make his flock think they’ve really got a say in it.

      “The Lord told me to tell you _________.” This is usually disguised as a ‘word’ from God, but it is really Christianese for giving you unsought advice while trying to make it more palatable.

      “There’s a pastor’s calling on his life.” A favorite line to comfort the parents of unruly teenage boys.

      “I had a vision last night”, aka as a pizza dream.

      And if my mom were still with us, she would call all of the above “sacrereligious.”

    • john alan turner

      “VBS”: free summertime babysitting for people who already go to church somewhere.

    • C Michael Patton

      LOL: VBS is going on the next update.

    • anna

      hm, as someone who did not grow up in either a church or a christian culture, I do not get the jokes. I realize that you are just trying to be funny but they kind of come across as mean-spirited to me. What is the point of writing them? I realize that you might be trying to get other christians to laugh at themselves but this comes across as distasteful to me.

      I realize that you are probably going to post a sarcastic response to my comment because that is what you do.

      Ps. for what its worth, I also have serious issues with the “stuff christians like” blog partially because i have never heard of half that stuff and it also comes across as mean-spirited. those of us who didn’t used to be christians and have actually made fun of christians in the past kind of wince when we see christians making fun of other christians.

      so haha whatever now is your turn to post a sarcastic remark.

    • Jugulum


      “One bread”: Pile of cracker tablets

      “Turn and welcome the person next to you”: Words that inspire instant, heart-felt hospitality & warmth

    • Jimmy Doyle

      Church: You may have thought of this as a building for Christians. However, now that you are a Christian you may hear teaching that the “church is people. Don’t be alarmed. You will soon realize that the norm is to operate like the church is, in fact, a building.

      Commonly used in sentences like: “Let’s go to church…”, “You need to bring people to church…”, “It’s important that the church look nice, cool, inviting, etc.”, “There’s a church on every corner in this town”.

    • Lisa Robinson

      #26 – oh man

      And it IS all about being more spiritual. Increase activity=spiritual rewards. Some people do want to cruise down the golden streets in beemers, ya know 😉

      And #11 – you are straight up carnal if you ACTUALLY believe that was alcohol and may need to increase your amens to compensate for reprobate thinking.

    • kevin

      Offeratory-the portion of the service when the old man sitting at the organ steps on kittens resulting in a hideous noise that only God could love.

    • Jim Darlack

      “traveling mercies” a portable version of #24 invoked when a believer is about to go on a long road trip. “Lord, just give us traveling mercies on this short-term missions trip.” Serves as a ‘hedge of protection’ against possible road hazards including: wandering demons, flat tires, airborne terrorists and gremlins.

    • john alan turner

      “Carnal”: anything loud or edgy or unseemly or likely to be seen or heard on a cable network other than Fox News after 8:00pm.

      “Fruit of the Vine”: purple grape juice and only purple grape juice. never white grape or tomato or watermelon or cantaloupe juice — though they also grow on a vine.

    • Wm Tanksley

      I love the one about “just”. What DOES that mean, anyhow?

      My favorite recent discovery has to be — with no intent to offend my brethren and sisteren who’ve had the term used against them improperly — “the semi-pelagian narrower catechism” at (Even as a Calvinist who’s sometimes misused “semi-pelagian” myself, I found some things in there that I disagreed with, since the author was more covenentalist than I am; but I saw far, far more than I recognize and laughed at from my own background.)

      Some samples:

      9. Q: What is the assurance of thy salvation?
      A: The assurance of thy salvation is, that I know the date on which I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer, and have duly written this date on an official Decision card.

      10. Q: What is thy story? What is thy song?
      A: Praising my Savior all the day long.

      11. Q: You ask me how I know he lives?
      A: He lives within my heart.


    • Scott Ferguson

      “many objections have been raised to the use of the word “pot” due to the muchies that are involved.”

      You are so going to hell for that! A REAL Christian wouldn’t even know what “muchies” are. 🙂

    • Kara

      As a group, I’d like to pray for our friend in Christ,———,who is really struggling at work and at home. Father God just please lift up ——— so she can learn to be at home with her family more, end her adultrous relationship God, and Lord just help her give up her worldly desires and simply live her life devoted to you.
      Group prayer- Gossip Time

    • Luke

      The altar: the place where you go and kneel only if you are serious about something. If you are extra serious you will stay there until the service has ended.

      Revival: a time for annual re-dedication of salvation and the only place where your friends and family get saved. If they don’t, then they have to wait until next year.

      King James translation: the Bible Jesus and the apostles used

      Bumper stickers: things you will place on your car only if you are serious about defending the faith

      John Macarthur: the only Bible scholar who is a Christian, but he’s a little liberal.

      The quarterly: the only valid material to conduct Sunday school with since nobody can understand their King James bibles

      “They were so happy and had so little” – the common response from a person who just got back from a short-term mission trip when describing the indigenous personnel. What they don’t know is that they were happy they were there because they thought they were going to get some free handouts, but when they left they went back to being angry and drinking alcohol to help rid them of their misery.

      Wow, I could think of these all night. Homework is calling though

    • Michael L

      Are you saved ?: Does not refer to the guy in the white robe who dunked you under water in the first place. Don’t worry about it.. just say “Yes” for now. It’ll become clearer later…much later.

      Have you accepted Christ?: Calvinist: Even though they ask, they realize it’s a really stupid question since you have no choice to begin with. Same answer as above will get you some reprieve

      All others: We just want you to say “Yes” so we can put a notch on our belt and move on. We really don’t care. Say “Yes” and we’ll go away.

      Creed: No…not the rock band that’s trying to make a come back. It’s more like a nursery rhyme for Christians. Just hum along in the beginning. It’s too hard to understand for most Christians anyway.

      And I am definitely going to hell for these.


    • Michael L

      Just thought of another one.

      Prayer request: somebody may ask “if someone has a prayuer request”. Just say something menial or superficial. Avoid sharing something meaningfull such as one of you major struggles. It’ll make people feel uncomfortable. Just say you’re driving somewhere or something.

      But I’m getting a bit too sarcastic now for own good 😉

    • Clay

      #24 B: Add to the “Hedge of Protection,” “We bind Satan in the name of Jesus”

    • Xulon

      #25 – My old pastor always said “Pot Providence”.

    • Samuel

      hahahaha!! I’m in tears..this is AWESOME!

    • Hans

      #25. The beginning Christian should be aware that putting others before you does not apply in the case of potlucks. The beginning Christian should always be ready to rush to be one of the first in line along with all the mature Christians who are running the race to get there. And remember to pile the food up on your plate so that it looks like an Egyptian pyramid. And as you rush to be one of the first in line, watch out for all the children who are also rushing to get in line while their parents aren’t paying any attention to what they are doing.

    • Ben

      “in Jesus’ name” The flip-side of #14

      Use this phrase at the end of any prayer (especially public), and you have established an iron-clad guarantee that God is obligated to fulfill the wildest, most impressive requests that proceed it. This is “abracadabra” for the Christian, the magical phrase that demonstrates spirituality and guarantees to bend the ear (and will) of God.

      Special bonus: add also, “…and for His sake…”

      I really shouldn’t think very hard, or I’ll have dozens of these.

    • C Michael Patton

      Ben, that is awesome. Bring it brother. The one you just put will make it into the next edition!

    • Emergent Methodist

      As an Emergent Methodist, I completely agree with all of these.

      However, I will be offended and persecuted if you put any snarky definitions toward the following:

      Dali Lama
      Social Justice
      Rob Bell
      Che T-Shirts
      Hate (aka Sarah Palin and/or the GOP)
      Homophobia (see above)
      Proposition 8 (see above)
      Christian Right (see above)
      Fascism (see above)
      Jesus (the first socialist)
      Peace (aka hating George Bush)

    • C Michael Patton

      “Lord bless him/her”: A phrase that is used by Christians to neutralize or Christianize anything that they say about someone. As long as it is tagged to the sentence, nothing is off limits. For example, “Bobby is such a loser, Lord bless him.” Or, “Julie is a hopeless flirt, Lord bless her.”

    • rick

      #20 is too funny (I don’t want you to even hold my hand, let alone squeeze it).

      On your list you forgot to mention the big white chairs behind the pulpit (aka “the holy men chairs”).

    • Ben

      “and in closing”

      A preaching tool similar to and preceding #27. This phrase is golden, supplying the speaker with every needed opportunity to recap anything that didn’t generate enough amens the first time, or to hit any outline points forgotten during the body of the message.

      A person skilled in use of this phrase will use it multiple times in a given service (3 is a nice number, since it represents the Trinity), and will get at least 5 more minutes out of his sermon.

    • Ben

      on my “in Jesus’ name” entry, it should’ve been preceeds, not proceeds (although a prolific prayer may do both).

    • Mary


    • Ben

      One more, and I’ve got to get back to work…

      Qualifications to be sure preacher is a faithful dispenser of the gospel (include, but aren’t limited to):

      1. All sermons must have points characterized by alliteration, even if non-key words must be used in front of actual points to conform:
      Ex: “Faith”
      A. Steadfast
      B. Simple
      C. Sometimes challenged (just get the “s” in there)

      This is officially not as important as faithful exegesis, but start with an alliterative outline, THEN let scripture speak, just to be safe.

      2. All sermons must have a godly number of points: 3, 7 or even 12 are ideals, although it’s hard to alliterate 12 points. If there are really, say, 4 points, then cram it into 3 and make sub-points. (If you’re a real expert you’ll take the alliteration to the sub-point, yea verily, the sub-sub-point level.)

      3. All sermons should have action steps that should also be alliterative (like “Glean, Glorify, and Go). If you’re good at Scattergories, you’re in for a lot of fun!

      4. All sermons should have a dramatic or funny story to illustrate each major point. It’s cool if it’s true, but that’s really not required. Just tell it like it really happened (since it probably did somewhere, sometime, to somebody – there’s nothing new under the sun). It will have more impact that way.

      I’ll quit there, but understand I really should come back later with at least 3 more … or maybe 8.

    • Martin Massinger

      “Covet Your Prayers” Something to add to your prayer request (#17) to indicate a deeper level of spirituality.

    • Kelly

      The following comments should be taken with this caveat: I found this list both accurate and funny, especially the one about ‘just’.

      Having said that, I think Anna (comment #5) raises a good question by asking if these are mean-spirited and making fun of other Christians. While I don’t think any of these are mean-spirited there is a risk that these kinds of lists could become that quite easily. It’s like the difference between joking with a friend about his or her little quirks vs. making snide comments toward someone you don’t like or respect very much. The differences in tone and context become really important and they are particularly difficult to get right in a blog or blog comment.

      I see a real value, though, in Christians continuing to shine a light on the club-like insider language and practices that we tent to get stuck in. Many of these words and practices are silly, confusing, vague, or even outright wrong. And humor is a lot gentler way to point these things out than an angry tirade.

    • C Michael Patton

      Kelly, way to put it! Better us than them. Sometimes we just need to lighten the load and not take ourselves too seriously.

    • Dr_Mike

      Fruit: Not what you think. This is neither a reference an orchard or a thinly-disguised, disparaging term about a sinful lifestyle. Fruit refers to Christian behavior that is seen by others or to leading a sinner to Christ (see #4). In both cases, it is important that others be aware of such fruit. Otherwise, it’s wasted.

      It is good to use the term liberally, i.e., a lot. Asking a question such as “Yes, but do they have fruit?” makes you appear deep and discerning. It is also imperative that you credit God for any and all fruit in your life, since this is another manifestation of fruit. It will amaze your friends and silence your detractors.

    • Cullen

      Fact check on point 12b: Methodists invented using grape juice for communion. Look it up, “Welch” was a Methodist.

      Withhold sarcasm for your own tradition, please.

    • #John1453

      If it be God’s Will“: A spiritual sounding prayer phrase that indicates you don’t think God’s gonna answer this one. Use this phrase a lot, it’ll save you a lot of disappointment.

      Impossible“: Dude, that’s a word that’s not in God’s vocabulary (but see above: “if it be God’s will”).

      Hymnal“: (noun, archaic) the Olde English word for the book on the back of the pew in front of you with the torn binding and hardened chewing gum on the backside. It contains notes and was formerly used to enable people to know how far off-key they were singing. The overhead of lyrics alone during “worship” (see #28 above) has taken its place and enables people to sing off-key without the embarrassment of knowing how off-key they are.

    • #John1453

      Works“: The antonym of “Fruit”. Anything you do in your life (walking, eating, praying, going the speed limit, etc.) is works; anything God does is Fruit. There is an easy test to determine which category your actions fall into: if you know why you did something its works (I bit my tongue and didn’t gossip), but if you don’t know why you did something, its fruit (e.g., I don’t know why I didn’t chew her out, it musta been God holding me back).

      Raise your hands and praise the Lord!“: The pastor is checking which women wore tops that are too skimpy.

    • Jugulum

      Kelly & CMP,

      It makes a difference, how much we identify with the list. If we make a list that includes a lot of self-description, then it’s probably not going to be mean-spirited!

    • #John1453

      Immaculate Conception“: Don’t be fooled by all that Catholic jargon, it’s what happens in the baptismal tank when the youth disappear during youth group on Friday nights.

    • C Michael Patton

      “If it be God’s will”—that is going in the next edition (and I am going to take credit for it).

    • Another Luke

      “Just have faith.”- The answer provided when a fellow Christian really doesn’t have an answer to your problem. A popular alternative to #15.

      “I’ve Been Healed!”- An act of God. Never to be confused with what doctors do. If you haven’t been, you don’t have enough faith (see above).

    • Michael L

      Whether sarcastic or not… when I first came to the US and was asked whether I was saved or whether I had accepted Christ as my savior you might just as well have been speaking Chinese to me.

      And no.. Chinese is not one of the languages I master.

      Still a funny list though. The bad thing about it is that I started jotting down some more during a boring meeting earlier today 😉


    • Matt Hansen

      “When two or three are gathered in Your name…” The consoling, yet misunderstood reminder by the person praying in a group that Jesus is physically present with them – as opposed to praying by yourself or a group of four or more people when we’re not really certain if Jesus is physically present.

      Just to be safe and to ensure Jesus hears your prayers, only pray with two or three people. Otherwise, you might as well use your “MassWePray” Wii system.

    • Paul

      “If the Spirit moves you to…”
      Used as a caveat to not obey the clear teaching of God’s Word.
      Granted there are subjective opportunities that may not manifest, but where Scripture is clear, we don’t need an exit strategy in the name of being “spiritual.”

    • Jugulum


      No, you’re thinking of “I felt led”, or “God told me it’s OK”. At least, I’ve never heard “If the Spirit moves you to” in that kind of situation.

      It’s more likely to be used before something like a special offering.

    • Jugulum


      To accompany the “Baptism” definition:

      Rebaptism: This time, I really mean it.

    • Drew K

      Just a caveat about “in Jesus name”. I like what John Piper says about it: if you don’t say it, you better be thinking it. It is not a trite phrase if you understand what it really means. I think Piper would find this whole thing a bit “trifling”. If you know Piper, this is not mere criticism, it is a strong indictment. I think the attempt here by CMP and others to point out and avoid shallowness and superficiality is good. But sarcasm is probably not the best way to do this. Sarcasm is “fun”. And “fun” is too often a poor, lazy substitute for finding true joy in God alone. Lastly, who of us takes ourselves too seriously in our amusement-driven American culture? Scripture exhorts us to be sober-minded.

    • Dr_Mike

      Gee, Drew I guess it’s a good thing there’s no sarcasm in the Bible.

      For you, being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly.
      For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face.
      To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. – 2 Co 11.19-21

      For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not become a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong! – 2 Co 12.13

      Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! – 1 Co 4.8

      Uh, never mind. My bad.

      FWIW, you might find 1 Kings 22 interesting, too.

    • ttm

      “Welcome Time/Sign of Peace”: This is when all the devout church members spread the Swine Flu they have just coughed and breathed into the handshakes and cheek-kisses they offer in welcome to you. Likely, they will be the same people who proudly wear their “Perfect Attendance” badges in Sunday School class and who offer the “praise” that they aren’t home in bed because God gave them the strength to make it to church. Hallelujah!

      “Worship”: This is a contest (albeit an unannounced one) to see who is the most enthusiastic about “waving a banner of praise.”

      “Banner of Praise”: In fundamental churches, this is actually a literal banner you create which has cheap appliques symbolic of your devotion to God. In charismatic churches, this is a metaphorical thing which manages to hover invisibly over you as free your inner SuperHero by bounding over the backs of pews, cartwheeling down aisles at the speed of light, and catching those who are being slain in the Spirit before they hit the ground.

      Faith Pledge: This is a way of adding to your bondage to debt with the approval of the church. You sign your name on a little card which the church treasurer is happy to add to a growing stack of pledges so that the building can be made more “relevant” to today’s church consumers. Without these little cards, the Church Vision Committee would not feel comfortable completely renovating the sound system or putting theater sitting (with cupholders) into the newly carpeted sanctuary. Note that if you haven’t paid your promise within a year, “The Pledge Collection Ministry Team” may show up unannounced at your front door and no amount of pleading will stop their continued calling and harrassment.

      Accountability Partner/Group: This is a bittersweet opportunity. Sweet in that it is like “free” therapy–you can unload your burdens and feel heard. Bitter in that it can easily morph into a way of the church leaders keeping tabs on members’ personal lives. (But it’s necessary–how else will the church know if there are pedophiles or addicts in their midst? And if people can’t sit around discussing addictions to porn and masturbation and chocolate and shopping, what else will there be to talk about during small group times?)

      I’m sure there are many more things for the “Baby Christian” to learn… but there is an eternity to learn it! (If he/she is “truly” saved.) 😉

    • Dr_Mike

      “I agree with that prayer” – Always good to hear, especially for those new to public praying.

      Be careful, however, not to take the absence of this phrase to mean that no one in the building agrees with what you just prayed for. They may not but a bad prayer is usually followed by several minutes of silence as the others try to figure out how to distance themselves from what you just said. They’ll be silently praying, “Whoa, Lord, that’s not me talking!” and “I thank you, Lord, that I am not like other men, and especially this dolt that just fouled the incense with a stupid prayer.”

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