mind your language

I’ve just had an interesting ‘moment’ caused by an inadequately phrased headline on the BBC website. The headline was: “Star Church settles over hacking.” This set all sorts of questions running in my head…

What sort of church is a “Star Church”? Does it have something to do with Star Wars or Star Trek, so that this is some form of niche church for sci-fi enthusiasts? Or is it a church for people who are famous – it would be interesting to know how you define “famous”?

And what is a church doing “settling”? It sounds as if they are accepting less than the best.            I struggle with the idea that we would ever utter the words, “That’ll do” where we accept just about adequate in church. Surely if all that we do is as an act of worship to Christ we should offer our very best – even if that doesn’t turn out to be the best thing ever since sliced bread. Or perhaps it was about that special church getting a new minister (we use the term ‘settling’ to describe the process of calling / choosing / electing / blind dating / selection of Baptist Ministers and churches).

And was this a story about someone with a really bad cough who was disturbing the congregation during a service, about an unfortunate interchurch hockey match, or about a minister who (like me) is learning to play golf?

Actually it is none of these. This is both unsurprising and disappointing. The headline related to Charlotte Church reaching a settlement with the News of the World for the way that they hacked into her phone. While it’s a shame that it was none of my interpretations, once you know the back story you can understand the headline.

So what about I have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; or We are the Bride of Christ; or I give you all the honour and praise that’s due your name?

We, who are regular churchgoers, know the back story. We know what we mean by these phrases. We know (for the most part) what songs and hymns are saying as we sing them. But what about those who are new to church or new to the Christian faith? I have been challenged about this again recently by conversations with a new Christian. She is asking all the right questions about what and when and how and why – questions to which we assume everybody knows the answers. I know she sometimes reads these bloggages so to her I want to say, “Thank you. Keep on asking the questions and challenging my assumptions.”

And to the rest of us: mind your language!

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