"I'd like to share my testimony. Witnessing is an important part of my walk. You see, I had a burden, until I found the lord, confessed and repented of my sins, and invited Jesus into my heart. I want to share the good news of God's grace"
do we as Christians sometimes let jargon and banter get in the way of evangelism?
You forget also things that are best precisely defined by using a foreign language, such as Theotokos, or words which have started as jargon but are now considered common English words, like Gospel.
It's funny what you say about Cradle Catholics, because I often hear Cradle Catholics say Convert Catholics think themselves better than Cradles. I wonder how much perception plays into this.
As to some being the Star-Bellied Sneetches, well, anytime Church A tells Church B "You don't have all of the Truth, and you're not the church that was founded by Christ" you're going to have people getting offended. Generally I think people get too offended about this kind of thing too easily. The Romans consider me an apostate and schismatic. I have Baptist relatives who consider me a heretic and blasphemer. It doesn't bug me. What one group considers or calls another group isn't really important.
If things are best defined precisely by using a foreign language, how do speakers of said language best define them?
It's not that the foreign language being foreign helps, but that certain nuances are best conveyed in foreign words, and the nuance is lost in translation.
I'm not being sarcastic, and I love my greek theology phrases, but what does Theokotos convey in a word that Mary Mother of Jesus doesn't?
Now, I'd like to point out that as I said, Jargon has it's place and value - especially in a theological discussion.... I'm talking about regarding evangelism, though....
This leads me to ask though, if you're not being most accurate in what you are evangelizing, then what are you evangelizing?
If you are evangelizing someone, wouldn't it be better to take a few seconds to explain the terms you're using, and ensure they actually understand what they'd be 'singing on for' rather than use inaccurate terms? Particularly when a single 'i' can change foundational doctrines. Also, isn't it just polite to ensure that when they start to interact with other Christians they'll be able to 'speak the language'?
Well, for one, "Theotokos" doesn't actually translate to "Mother of God." The closest literal translation would be "Birth-Giver of God" and "God-bearer" would probably be closest in meaning, but a literal translation of God-bearer would be Theophoros, so clearly Theotokos conveys something additional that God-bearer doesn't. Theotokos could also be translated as "One Who Brought Forth God" and here is where we see the nuance important in the title Theotokos. It implies one who is Mother, who has given birth to God, but also is not the originator of the God she has brought forth. It conveys delivering to someone (in this case, the world) without neglecting the intimate, maternal nature of Mary's role. In the translation "One Who Brought Forth God" it can be made to appear that Mary was merely a vessel, a pathway God passed through. That is why we need the nuance of "Mother of God" in the title as well.
Am I making sense? You have to smush together "Mother of God" "One Who Brought Forth God" and "God Bearer" to get to the real meaning of Theotokos. One word conveys all of that, all important theological points, and, most importantly, it fits easily into the meter of hymns. :P
All that is great in the context of a refined conversation amongst believers, but it seems so complicated in the context of explaining salvation to an unbeliever. I think simple imagery and simple words do a much better job:
I think I'd disagree, but this isn't a huge point. Imagine you joined a church where everything had been so simple and straight forward it seems, but then you found out when you took your baptismal vows, when you said "I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" by Apostolic it was meant "abiding by the teachings of our One True Apostle Barry, who lives down the street" or that you accepted "Mother of God" as a title for Mary, but found they believed Mary is the Mother Goddess, or that when they said "We are the body of Christ" they meant "We will someday be absorbed into one Organism and be the Divine!"
Now, there's much to be said for your approach. There is a time for milk until we progress to meat, but in general, I think from the beginning being exact in what we believe and in the terms we use (particularly when discussing the great mysteries of our faith, when language fails us so readily anyway). The progression to meat then can occur more rapidly and ultimately, IMHO, at a deeper level.
Makes me think of an SF writer's principle: the best way to write, in English, the alien word for "Damn" is "Damn."
Or the Japanese cookbook that had a recipe for gohan. Gohan is Japanese for "rice." Sure, there's some nuance; it's Japanese-style rice. It's still rice.
Recommended reading, for those fun times when there's just no good English equivalent: They Have a Word for It, Howard Rheingold.
And I think we can go in the other direction. Maybe I'll post that in the Verbivore group.
I came in from outside, and I never felt anybody was putting me down for not being "cradle Catholic"; they're happy to have me, as your church is happy to have you. We use the term "cradle Catholic" because people raised in RCC really are different from those raised outside and coming in. As an example, there was a joke that you could tell if there were Catholics in the theater when you saw Star Wars: when a character said, "May the Force be with you," you'd hear in unison, "And also with you." I had to have it explained to me. There are more substantive differences.