I like to set things on fire.
I blame my father. When I was a little kid, we were always lighting things on fire… and then he taught me how how to make homemade fireworks. But that is another story.
I may enjoy the warm glow and soft crackle of a fire, but I am convinced I am not the only one. In my aimless meandering around the World Wide Web, I feel I have made an interesting discovery. I think Christians are closet pyromaniacs.
In any given school year, the average youth group member is inundated with references to fire in some capacity. Tonight, countless students across America will head off to their weekly Ignite Student Ministry meeting. During announcements, they will be given more information about purchasing tickets for the Acquire the Fire youth rally. This will be followed by a message on how to be “on fire” for the Lord and they will close out the evening with an appropriate song such as “Light the Fire.” Then, they will get in their car, plug in their iPod and listen to Shane & Shane belt out “Burn Me Up” on their way to Dairy Queen to grab one of those Flamethrower burgers and a Reese’s Blizzard.
Furthermore, how many of us currently own at least one Christian t-shirt with some form of stylized flame logo on it? I know I do.
If you want more proof, listen to the verbs we use in sermons and Bible studies now. We talk about fanning flames, evangelism explosions, igniting our faith or kindling our relationship with the Lord. Revival has taken on the language of bursting into flames and spreading throughout our country. And everyone knows, it only takes a spark to get a fire going.
Maybe it is not pyromania though. Possibly, it is just a fad in the terms we use. There have been other fads in the past. In our very recent history in America, Christians have spoken of Great Awakenings and the winds of change. Billy Graham introduced us once again to the language of crusades (one which has been let go lately for obvious reasons).
However, if this is indeed just a fad in our communication, then what is next? On which verbal bandwagon will the Christian subculture jump next?
As I have pondered on this topic, I have come up with the following top options:
Natural Phenomenon - Some form of natural phenomenon may make a good replacement when pyromania goes the way of the dodo. Possible options in this category include landslides or tidal waves. Just think, in a couple of years, our youth may be going to Tsunami 2014: Let the waves wash over you. Storms are probably a bad idea though, they tend to leave destruction in their wake. Besides, the whole flood motif has been done already.
The World of Science - Many people seem to think science and faith have it out for each other, but maybe there is something they could share… like a catchy slogan. Imagine if we switched out our language of fires with chain reactions. Then, we could have some guest speaker asking us if our bond with Jesus was ionic or covalent. In actuality, I do hear the word “catalyst” thrown around a lot though.
The World of Medicine - I was initially considering this option, but I simply cannot find a good term from this field. For instance, the only ideas that get across rapid spread are words like “infection” or “viral.” I do not know about you, but I certainly do not want the student ministry at my church to be called Contagious and I have no desire to be a part of the next Great Gospel Epidemic. It could make for some cool t-shirts though.
Whatever the case, I am sure someone will coin a new term that will take the Christian circles by storm. The same timeless message will get repackaged for a new audience, and we will get a whole new round of slogans, sayings and (unfortunately) merchandise to promote it. My only hope is that in the midst of all the sayings, we will not distract people from the simple message of who Christ really is.
How about you? Do you have the next Christian super-slogan? Comment below…
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