Sunday, July 02, 2006

Words, words, words: or, why be catholic?

I know it's going to make me sound all emergent and everything, but I was thinking again today about how important it is to occasionally keep claiming good words like 'catholic', 'orthodox', 'liberal', 'pentecostal', 'baptist' (even 'evangelical'!). They are too easily Capitalised and turned from a useful adjective into a proper name of a movement.

Having preached today on Acts 19.1-7* (actually from 18.18-19.10, but 19.1-7 is the juicy bit that everyone wants to talk about), my application was twofold: (a) don't follow John the Baptist; (b) instead: be baptist, pentecostal and catholic. Seemed to generate a few conversations afterwards. Perhaps not so many as my suggestion that we call John the Baptist, 'Jack the dipper'. Oh well, you can't win them all.
* A quick straw poll: does anyone include this passage in their list of top ten Bible favs?


Anonymous said...

That's an interesting thought, not capitalizing. Though, of course, the history of written punctuation is interesting for the way it reflects the ways in which we use words. Consider the capitalization tendencies of the 18th century. There is a big difference between being Liberal and being liberal (at least here in Canada, where Liberals are an official party). I agree with you in the need to claim to fluid use of words such as catholic or pentecostal away from sectarian intersts. If we let partisan groups alone define our terms, we will be forced to engage them on their terms alone, something that probably hampers genuine dialogue and growth, when it comes down to brass tacks. Peace.

Looney said...

Regarding Acts 19:1-7, my pastor grabbed me by the neck and made me preach on this section. I was hoping to avoid getting beaten up by the charismatic wing, so I put the emphasis on how we should go into a church with the attitude of imparting gifts (as Paul did), rather than sitting idly in the pews. The charismatics took that as encouragement to impart a gift by lecturing me on the Holy Spirit!

byron smith said...

Great story, Looney. :-)

Kenny - yep, exactly my point, and Nicely Put.