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There’s plain, and there’s plain

I’ve been reading (and writing) on a schedule the last few days. I leaned in and started researching Anabaptist theology because…because… It sounded interesting. I’ve learned some things, and I am questioning others. That’s a start.

What boggles my mind is the application of vocabulary. Hear me out! I have a liberal arts degree, but you will not hear me using Latin phrases or the word “scintillating” in a conversation. I interact with the real world, not academics locked in offices with an Oxford Dictionary. “Scintillating” is a simple word, but many do not know its meaning. So I eschew it.

In my reading I have been exposed to theological language, which is nothing new for me. I’m Catholic. I can explain transubstantiation with the best of them. I have also made a discovery. Everybody wants to make what they do sound, or at least read, as if it required more than what it does.

The legal field uses Latin and a mixture of sentences to tie up contracts, and bind people to something that might be detrimental. The medical field uses chemical names and biological terms to baffle patients. Politicians and the media spit out sixth grade reasoning using Phd. candidate litanies. I found the same thing in theology. Some of the words that came up too often?
Paradigm, contextualization, neo-anything, narrative.

Why would anybody use the word “narrative”, the prefix “neo”, “contextualization”, or Latin and Greek, in order to prove a point theologically? I have an answer.

To make sure the reader understands the writer has a wealth of knowledge on the subject, or to confuse the reader. Hemingway wrote short declarative sentences in his “narratives”, he also used easy to understand language. Hemingway, while deep, is written on the middle school level. That is why he is a favorite of so many. We understood his point. No wonder so many people have a confused religious/theological life.

Oh silly theologians, the Anabaptists were right. Anybody can do your “job”, and probably better than you.



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