As a Christian linguist*, one of the things that particularly irks me is the failure of the Church (myself included) to be vigilant in ensuring that our witness to the world is an intelligible one. In our desire to preach the Gospel, we’re not always careful to make sure the language we’re speaking is a language our non-Christian neighbours can understand. In other words, sometimes we need to speak in other words.

That concern lies behind my latest article for The Canadian Lutheran.  In addressing the problem, I explore the story of Pentecost, Luther’s theology of translation, and the historical move from German to English in North American Lutheran churches.  At the same time, I can only hope that my exploration of the subject speaks to readers where they are – that it speaks their language, as it were. (I’m sure someone in my congregation will be sure to let me know if I’ve failed on this point).

To read the article, visit The Canadian Lutheran website and select the article entitled “Can you hear me now?: Evangelism for the 21st century.” While you’re at it, check out the rest of the July-August issue. In addition to my article, there’s some insightful thoughts on engaging youth in the life of the Church now (as opposed to at some ill-defined point in the future), a story on the 2010 LCC National Youth Gathering, a discussion of C.F.W. Walther’s take on the Confessions, and other news and views of interest.


* I use the term somewhat loosely. While I’m not employed as a linguist, I do have a linguistics degree.