Complex and Cringeworthy: Christianese and other religious jargon

Christians talk in code … and the code excludes those who cannot read the secret language. These words of Malcom Doney and Martin Wrote, in a 2019 Church Times article, reflect a common discomfort with religious code talk, what some people call "church-speak" or "Christianese." Language like “sin”, “salvation”, “discipleship”, “repentance”, “righteousness”, and “judgement” – … Continue reading Complex and Cringeworthy: Christianese and other religious jargon

“Not teachable or cooperative:” Ministerial exception in Cru’s Hire Packet

Some of my research on religious language has taken me into the rather tricky area of First Amendment rights granted to certain employers by the Supreme Court on the grounds of freedom of religious expression. These employers, granted the status of religious order, are given by law exceptions to the principle of equality in the … Continue reading “Not teachable or cooperative:” Ministerial exception in Cru’s Hire Packet

“Simply biblical”: The sacred us vs. them narrative in Cru’s anti-CRT publication

This is my second post on the recent Campus Crusade aka Cru anti-CRT publication, written by around 65 Cru staff members and leaders, representing the views of at least 350 Cru staff. I first came across this Cru document after some light digging revealed that Cru leaders were requiring staff to sign NDAs, sometimes in … Continue reading “Simply biblical”: The sacred us vs. them narrative in Cru’s anti-CRT publication

Invoking and Distancing from Sacred Authority: Church Leaders’ Responses to a Report on the Rev. Jonathan Fletcher

This post forms part of a catalogue I am building on the subtle language of abuse. In this installment, I consider a common discursive strategy within texts that carry religious meaning: the invocation of sacred legitimating authority and, conversely, distancing from an illegitimate (often formerly sacred) authority. This strategy often works within an overall us vs. them narrative. To illustrate this, I use a set of prominent church leaders' responses to the recent thirtyone:eight report on Rev. Jonathan Fletcher's abuse while he was vicar at Emmanuel Church Wimbledon.