Translating Christian Jargon

Many people from both in and out of the church have complained that Christians use too much of their own jargon, sometimes referred to as “Christianese,” when speaking, making it unclear what exactly they are saying.  Since I am a pastor’s kid who has grown up in church, I will provide a guide here as to what Christians normally mean when they use certain words or phrases.  I hope this is helpful.

“I feel called by God to pursue this girl.”  Translation:  “She’s freaking hot and that’s all there is to it.”

“I’m waiting on God’s calling.”  Translation:  “I have no freaking clue what I’m supposed to do.”

“I’m praying for three months about whether or not to date this person.”  Translation:  “I scoping out better prospects and keeping this person as backup.”

“I’ve been struggling with my QT’s.”  Translation:  “I’ve been enjoying movies, video games, and/or online shopping lately.”

“I’m trying to be a good steward of my money.”  Translation:  “I realized I was broke when I got an overcharge fee.”

“I like to sit in the presence of God.”  Translation:  “I daydream a lot.”

“The Holy Spirit convicted me.”  Translation:  “I’m being stubborn.”

“I’m called to go to seminary.”  Translation:  “I really don’t know what else to do with my life, and I hate working.”

“I’m looking for a spiritual leader” (girls). Translation:  “There are too many nerds and not enough tall guys at this church.”

“I’m trying to be a good spiritual leader” (guys).  Translation:  “I’m working out and learning how to play the guitar.”

“I don’t want to damage my witness.”  Translation.  “I want people to mind their own dang business.”

“I’m feeling spiritually dry.”  Translation.  “I’m just being emo.”

“I asked Jesus to come into my heart.”  Translation:  “Jesus also invades my privacy.”

“I’m about courtship, not dating.”  Translation:  “I can’t get a girlfriend…”

“It’s all in the sovereignty of God.”  Translation:  “I can’t explain what just happened” or “I don’t like planning for the future.”

“I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Translation:  “I’m insecure that I’m more fearfully than wonderfully made.”

“Everyone is beautiful in God’s eyes.”  Translation:  “My goodness, some of you are hideous.”

“Be a good steward of your body.”  Translation:  “Stop being fat.”

“I’m running the good race.”  Translation:  “Life sucks right now.”

“I think I’m going through spiritual warfare.”  Translation: “I can’t control myself or my emotions and feel the need to blame someone else.”

“I have my own private language when I pray.”  Translation:  “I’m so tired when I pray I mumble nonsense.”

“I’m giving it up to God.”  Translation:  “I give up.”

“I’m learning to deny myself and pick up my cross.” Translation:  “I’m not having any fun.”

“I want authentic Christianity.”  Translation:  “I have no idea what I’m talking about but I love to complain.”

“I want to glorify God.”  Translation:  “I want to do whatever I desire.”

“I have assurance.”  Translation:  “I can do ANYTHING!”

“I just didn’t get anything out of the sermon.”  Translation:  “I totally zoned out.”

“Gosh darn it!” Translation:  “@#@%!#^#^%#^!$!”

“I’m praying for you.”  Translation:  “You’re an idiot who needs to change.”

“Jesus is my boyfriend” (girls).  Translation:  “Nobody else wants to be my boyfriend.”

“I’ve learned the secret to contentment.”  Translation:  “I’m learning to accept how crappy my life is and I’m losing hope.”

I hope that helps ;).


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