I thought this was a sufficiently churchy title that some of you would click to read. 🙂

Today’s verse of the day on my iPhone Bible App is Malachi 3:10. If you’ve attended a charismatic church very often, you’ve likely heard this verse as the pastor pushes for increased tithing/giving. Let’s look at it anyway:

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”

(more…)

At the age of 19, I was a staunch idealist. The concepts I believed were inflexible, and offered no room for interpretation or examination. I was a new convert. And I drove the people around me crazy.

Several people encouraged or reprimanded me for my idealism. They tried to coax me into a more flexible approach to life. We were all a bunch of young, single adults at church trying to forge a way into our futures. We were all idealists. That’s what people who don’t sacrifice for others are. Idealism is Phase One of adulthood.

But there are many other phases to maturation. Or at least there should be.

Despite my typical laid-back demeanor, I’ve been accused of being too rigid regarding word choice in a conversation. It’s true. Many a debate has begun over whether a word “can” be used to mean something outside it’s textbook definition.

But for all practical purposes, the masses dictate the meaning of words. If a million people use the word “sweet” to mean “awesome” or “stylish”, then that’s an acceptable and meaningful definition of the word “sweet”. It may not be what the dictionary says it means, but in order to communicate in this world, you should know how to understand the world and speak its language.

And that’s fine for fluffy, superficial conversations. But when we’re delving into deeper waters – making ourselves emotionally vulnerable, discussing our personal philosophies, or pondering the purpose of our lives – precision and specificity win every time.

We can’t debate the meaning of life or one’s interpretation of Scripture without a precise meaning of words. A single definition change can completely alter the meaning of a statement. And those nuances have a potent impact upon how we choose to live.

So while it’s true that words objectively have specific and static meaning, they also have subjective and popular meanings, and those matter too.

Bottom line: Don’t be one of those rigid people who ruins dinner parties and holiday gatherings because you’re too stubborn to acknowledge the popular meaning of words. And don’t be afraid to adopt their specific, static meanings, either.

 

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