Do You Code-Switch Your Language to Speak Christianese?

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Happy Birthday or Feliz Cumpleaños?

Jeff and I are relaxing at a hotel swimming pool in Georgia. We just arrived after finishing a nearby Christian conference for the day.

It’s a hot afternoon, but the only other people around the pool are a few families preparing for a birthday party.

Not intentionally, we casually overhear their conversation. Yet we understand none of it.

They’re all speaking in Spanish. My high school Spanish + my adult duolingo lessons + trying to speak Spanish when I was in Central America is no match for their speed and vocabulary in their native tongue.

They’re now ready to officially begin their party. They gather the birthday girl Sophia, they uncover her birthday cake, and they light the candles.

And then they launch into the song: Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday Sophia,….

But the song is in all English, no Spanish. Beginning to end.

Why the switch to English just for the song?

Code-Switching to Christianese

Code-switching is a term to describe alternating back and forth between two languages or dialects. It comes naturally to people who are bilingual. They can speak one language in one situation, and speak another language in a different situation.

While I can’t code-switch between languages like English and Spanish, there is a language I can easily switch to: Christianese.

If you’ve been part of the Christian world for long, you’ll know the vocabulary, too:

  • Such a sweet time of fellowship.
  • God led me to call you.
  • I heard a word from the Lord last night.
  • Do you have your quiet time in the morning?
  • Let’s have a word of prayer.
  • Lord willing, I’ll be able to go.
  • We love doing life together.
  • Just put it in God’s hands.
  • Don’t ruin your witness.

Nothing is wrong with these phrases. And if you’re a fellow believer who grew up in the culture, we could easily communicate in whole paragraphs using just this language.

Watch this funny video, “Shoot Christians Say,” to hear what it sounds like.

Video - Shoot Christians Say

For some people, hearing these phrases in Christianese brings comfort. It feels like home. It’s a native tongue they best understand.

To others, Christianese sounds as foreign to them as the Spanish words sounded to me at the pool party. They can’t interpret the meaning of the message.

And yet to another group of people, Christianese is more than different; it’s offensive. Perhaps they believe the words aren’t true or are being used incorrectly or insincerely. Perhaps they view Christianese itself as exclusionary. Perhaps they’ve been hurt by the Christian culture and hearing its vocabulary triggers more pain.

A Common Language

What language do we need to speak when we’re surrounded by such a diversity of listeners?

Love language.

The best language is one in which we communicate to the person in front of us that they are loved, seen, and heard.

Sometimes that means we might actually use words like “blessed” and “testimony” and “repentant.”

But other times, it means intentionally avoiding those words, instead using words that don’t require insider knowledge or that don’t carry any baggage. If it doesn’t sound like love, it doesn’t sound like God anyway.

Why did the Spanish-speaking family at the pool switch to English to sing the Happy Birthday song? I’ll never know. Maybe it’s what the birthday girl Sophia wanted. Maybe it’s what was most familiar. Maybe they just wanted to, and didn’t even think about it.

Sophia seemed happy about it, whatever the reason.

May we achieve the same result on our listeners.

Whichever language we use, as much as we’re able, let’s intentionally use words best interpreted as love to the listener’s ear.

Love is indeed a universal language.

Do you code-switch to Christianese?

Do you speak more than one language? When do you code-switch? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Do You Regret What You Did Do, or What You Didn’t Do?
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Looking back over the length of your life, what do you regret?

Just this past month, what do you regret?

Interestingly, studies show that in the short run, people regret things that they did.

  • Words spoken in anger.
  • Making a mistake at work.
  • Eating the extra cookie.

But in the long run, people regret things they didn’t do.

  • Not finishing their education.
  • Not opening a business.
  • Not asking out that person.

While we live daily in the short run, we create a meaningful life over the long run.

So ask yourself today:

Is there something I’m not doing that I will regret later?

While it’s more comfortable to remain passive than to make a change, it’s our decisions of action that we’re usually most proud of.

And who knows? Maybe we’ll mess those up, too, and they’ll become short-term regrets. Either way, God will be with us to help us out. 

But perhaps it’s easier to live with the disappointment of trying and failing, than to live with the long-term regret of never trying at all.

Grace & Truth Featured Post

As Michele turns 60 years old, she’s making changes to immerse herself in the things that matter most, the places where God is showing her to go deep. Read all of Michele’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.

I’m Not Interested in Standing on the Fringes of Life

Do you have any long-term or short-term regrets? Are they about something you did do or something you didn’t do? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read More:

I’m linking at these blog parties and with Paula

Review the rules here about adding your most recent Christian Living posts and how to be the Featured Post. Visit all four hosts social media here or websites here: Maree Dee, Lisa notes, Lauren Sparks, Tammy Kennington.

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Fix Your Attention on the Nearest Wound

I only discovered this following quote last week. It was written by author and activist adrienne maree brown on October 2, 2017, the day after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas where 60 people were killed and over 400 people were wounded by one man.

But it still resonates with me in these times of hurricanes and wars and more shootings and just plain ol’ rotten days that we all have.

“we must, each of us, fix our attention on the nearest wound, conjure within us the smallest parts of ourselves that are still whole, and be healers. heal with words and prayer and energy, heal with money, clean water, time and action.

there’s enough destruction. there’s enough nothingness swallowing the living world. don’t add to it. there’s enough.”

– adrienne maree brown

[Read adrienne maree brown’s entire blog post here.]

In the midst of bad things, hard things, even evil things, we each still have the ability to look at each other through the eyes of God. And offer compassion.

We can’t heal every wound. Maybe not even any wound.

But we can fix our attention on the “nearest wound” in our current circle of humans. And lend a hand up there.

And just for today, maybe that’s enough.

Fix your attention on the nearest wound

Share your thoughts in the comments.

7 Books I Recommend—September 2022

“I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book.”
– Groucho Marx

Well, I don’t do necessarily do that every time (Groucho Marx might not have either), but he does have a point. 

Here are books I recommend from what I finished reading in September.

[See previously recommended books here]



1. Now What?
How to Move Forward When We’re Divided
by Sarah Stewart Holland, Beth Silvers

Now What - How to Move Forward When We're Divided

Have you lost connection with someone you once were close to due to conflict over politics, religion, social issues, etc.? Sarah and Beth from the podcast Pantsuit Politics don’t offer a step-by-step solution in this new book, but they do offer a general path forward to finding peace again in spite of our seeming divisions. Helpful and encouraging. 

“Life is about presence. Connection is not zero-sum. Our presence in one another’s lives has to become more visible than our conflicts.”

“Now what? Keep moving forward. Keep showing up with all of your gifts and your desires and your discernment about how you can contribute more by loving more, even when you disagree with your people about basically everything for always.”

2. Beating Guns
Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence
by Shane Claiborne, Michael Martin

Beating Guns - Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence

We’re all disturbed by gun violence. This book shows how gun deaths are both a heart problem and a gun problem. It’s full of statistics that reveal just how extensive our problem has been for many years. But it also points us to a way out, if we’re willing. I highly recommend this book for all of us. You’ll pick up on a Christian perspective in it, but you don’t have to be a Christian to benefit from this book. 

“A gun is much more likely to be used in a suicide, a domestic homicide, or an accidental shooting than it is to be used to ward off a criminal.”

“We have been better at protecting guns than protecting people.”

“Every human is created in the image of God. We have love in our DNA. There is something in almost every person that recognizes that killing is wrong.”

3. Why I Left Church to Find Jesus
A Personal Odyssey
by Julie McVey

Why I Left Church to Find Jesus

The title drew me to this Kindle Unlimited book (my free 3-month Amazon account will expire soon). Julie McVey explains her interesting yet painful journey in and out of organized religion in this short book. Many will relate to her story.

“I’d rather stand before God and Him tell me I loved too much and that my love clouded my judgment than Him tell me I didn’t love enough and that my judgment clouded my love.”

4. Overdue
Reckoning with the Public Library
by Amanda Oliver

Overdue: Reckoning with the Public LIbrary

I frequent my library continually to borrow its many books. Why do you use the library? For many people, it’s more complicated than checking out books. Former librarian Amanda Oliver writes about her years as a librarian in Washington, DC, in a high-poverty neighborhood. She tells an important story about how we should think about modern libraries and how they’re evolving.

5. Get Untamed
The Journal
by Glennon Doyle

Get Untamed - The Journal

This colorful journal is an accompaniment to Glennon Doyle’s bestseller Untamed. But reading the book isn’t a prerequisite. I worked through the journal with a small group of women in a zoom group. The questions provoked lots of thought and conversation among us. Like all journals, you get out of it what you put into it.


6. The Downstairs Neighbor
by Helen 

The Downstairs Neighbor

When a teenage girl disappears in London, the neighbors in the apartment all become suspects through their own circumstances. Intriguing and well-told, this novel kept me wondering what would be uncovered next.

7. The Last House on the Street
by Helen Cooper

The Last House on the Street

Highly recommend. This novel flips back and forth between 1965 and 2010 in a town in North Carolina. The search for justice ties both generations together in a mysterious yet important plot of social justice and family security.


  • Nonviolent Communication
    A Language of Life
    by Marshall B. Rosenberg
  • Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First.
    10 Questions to Take Your Friendships to the Next Level
    by Laura Tremaine
  • Beyond the Enneagram
    An Invitation to Experience a More Centered Life with God
    by Marilyn Vancil
  • Radical Compassion
    Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN
    by Tara Brach
  • 100% Right 50% of the Time
    How to Prevent Fallacies in Decision Making

    Yassour, Yossi
  • Thing Explainer
    Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
    by Randall Munroe

What good book are YOU reading this month? Please share in the comments.

More books I recommend

sharing at these linkups

Share Four Somethings—September 2022
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Near the end of each month, I share four somethings at Heather’s.

Plus my latest One Second Everyday monthly video . . . 

[click here if you can’t see the video]

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Loved


Well, this is more something my husband Jeff loves. But because I love Jeff (we just celebrated our 30th anniversary!), and I see the enjoyment he gets from chasing down roadside attractions when we’re on trips, I have to love them, too.

On our latest trip through Dallas, Texas, I got photos of Jeff with these four big items found on his Roadside Attractions app

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Gleaned 


My new favorite book on grief is It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine. It’s truly fabulous. 

Regardless of what you may be grieving now, big or small, this quote from Megan is applicable:

“No matter how many times pain or grief has entered your life, this time is the first time. This grief is unlike any other. Each new experience gets to unfold—and be tended—in the ways that best suit what hurts.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Braved


Okay, maybe “bravery” isn’t required for this. More like stamina.

It’s geeky-sounding, I realize. But our new bucket list item is to visit all the current 15 Presidential Library and Museums of the modern era. 

US Presidential Library System

Every US President since Herbert Hoover has created a library (but it’s more like a museum) in their home state to display exhibits about their life and career. They include the fascinating gifts they receive from foreign countries, audio and video of important events in history during their era, and multitudes of exhibits.

Several libraries are also the final burial sites of the President and their spouse. 

Prior to September, we’d been to three.

  • Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois
  • Jimmy Carter in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Bill Clinton in Little Rock, Arkansas

But two weeks ago, we visited three more. My sore feet can attest to how interesting they are. 

  • Harry S. Truman in Independence, Missouri
  • George H. W. Bush in College Station, Texas
  • George W. Bush in Dallas, Texas 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Achieved


After wearing braces as a teen, I wish I’d known then to continue wearing my retainer at night. 

I’ve spent the past 11 months wearing invisible aligners on my teeth to get them straight again. But I finished with Invisalign this month. The orthodontic treatment was much easier this time (no more goopy molds of your teeth!), but it was still a hassle.  

Kids, wear your retainers!

Featured Post for Grace & Truth Linkup

Maybe you have a junk drawer like mine that collects old receipts, pencil stubs, and post-it notes. I have to occasionally clean it out or it overflows.

But Pam reminds us we have those pesky places on the inside of us, too. When is the last time we let God do a cleaning there?

Read all of Pam’s beautiful post here at her blog, then add your own links below.

Pesky Places

Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties

Review the rules here about adding your most recent Christian Living posts and how to be the Featured Post. Visit all four hosts social media here or websites here: Maree Dee, Lisa notes, Lauren Sparks, Tammy Kennington.

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

If I Did This . . . {September One Word Linkup}

If I Did This...

Share Your One Word Update

Link your One Word blog post below. Share an update about your One Word in the comments.

“If I did this . . . ” Challenge

Sometimes our One Word “works” or doesn’t “work” based on other things happening in our lives.

Are any of those circumstances within your control?

As you exercise your word the next 30 days, see how you would fill in these blanks.

I could have more [YOUR ONE WORD] in my life if:

I did this _______________.
I didn’t do this: _______________.

Try journaling or praying to decide which responsibilities belong to you and which ones don’t.

This One Word linkup will remain open through Friday night, September 30.

The next linkup opens on Saturday, October 22.

Every One Word blog post you link is shared in our One Word Facebook group throughout the month.

Leave a comment here about your One Word.

Link Up About Your One Word!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter