At the start of a new year, I find myself going back through old posts and thinking about new ideas for reflection, conversation or rants—which is how I stumbled upon this post this morning about Christian code words. By code words, I mean those expressions that claim to mean one thing when they really mean something else. There’s usually a hidden agenda or some sort of passive aggression behind these expressions that come clad in biblical-sounding or churchy terms.

Well, my list of least favorite “Christian” code words now has a new addition: “brother in Christ” or “sister in Christ.” That’s how someone prefaced his remark the other day. “As your brother in Christ…,” he began, which was an immediate signal to duck before the incoming rhetorical punch. On just about every occasion I’ve heard this phrase, I know it’s my or another’s cue to brace themselves for the ensuing criticism from on high. Sure enough, the expression preceded one Christian’s critique of another Christian’s lifestyle (which in this case involved drinking more than coke) and (to a lesser degree) dancing. Christians, or at least leaders in ministry, were to be known by their example, and shouldn’t be hanging out at nightclubs. Ever. Which is why I’m adding this annoying expression to the top of my list. You can check out the other 5 most annoying “Christian” code words here.

Incidentally, if you liked this post, check out fellow blogger and writer Addie Zierman’s blog “How To Talk Evangelical.” Addie’s insights regarding cynicism contribute to my own in Grace Sticks; and Addie often writes with just the right blend of self-deprecating humor and introspection in critiquing certain features of the evangelical culture in which Addie and I were reared.

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