Words That Need to Die a Quick and Painful Death

In last week’s post, diagnosis I wrote about two examples of pastors trying to keep theology “relevant” for their congregations. Leslie mentioned in the comments how much she dislikes the word “relevant”and even the word “practical.”

There are several buzzwords that I think have outlived their usefulness (if they were actually ever useful) and need to be put in front of the buzzword firing squad:

Relevant — This word seems to be a way to dismiss any theology or teaching that requires more than five minutes of thought. If a theological premise requires nuance and discernment and deep discussion than it’s not relevant and thus bad.

Practical — Why does everything have to be practical? Practical seems to be code word for denying mystery.

Missional — oh how I hate this word. It’s just a way to try to make a ministry cool, online and nobody seems to know what it means anymore as it seems to apply to anything and everything.

Authentic — authentic as compare to inauthentic? Who decides if something is authentic or inauthentic?

What other words need to die a painful death? And on the opposite end, are there any words that we should use more? (I know that I’d like to see more Whedonisms enter the lexicon. Shiny!)

  • Add under the subcategory of missional, the categories of Emerging and Emergent when referring to churches. It’s been 30 years. It’s not emerging or emergent out of anything.

  • Please kill the word phrase “Young Adult” I’m so getting tired of it. What exactly is a young adult any way? I always thought a young adult was someone in their teens. But then it became someone in their 20’s and now it’s 20’s/30’s. I’ve been a young adult for the past 10 years apparently.

  • Please add the word “eclectic” to your list………..PULEEEEEASE!!
    Thank you.

  • I would like to add “live into” and “love on” to this list, please. E.g., “We need to live into the mission of God, by loving on our neighbors.”

  • Actually, the word “resonate” is also starting to irritate me.

  • counter-cultural