“We live in an era that is reliant on words, but our words are no longer reliable.” So it says in the opening chapter of Loaded Words, setting the foundation for the book itself. How can we know what anyone means when they choose to use a certain word? Are they choosing it for clarity? Manipulation? Oppression? Are they using it correctly, with integrity, and good intentions? In 21st-century America, few people–even regular church goers–have a firm grasp on many of the most essential words in the Bible. Sin. Repent. Confess. Submit. And for most people in the culture these words explode like land mines upon hearing, leading them even further from any Grace they may need or seek.
In January of this year I formed a new partnership with a classmate, Leann Luchinger, from my MA Theology program. We hoped we might use some of what we’d learned to help clear the air on some of these key words. Breaking them down into small, easily accessible chapters. Stripping away the misuse and abuse. Restoring the words to their original Hebrew and Greek so that people could see the true meaning for themselves. Then trying to make them understandable to people who weren’t raised with the Bible–or worse, were raised with a Bible that was used more as a weapon than a gift from God.
Most books that play out in the faith world are broken down pretty tidily by audience/genre/target, but Loaded Words speaks to everyone at the same time, in the same room, with the same message, that we may all learn, grown and reconsider together. Pastors, that they may better understand the semantic obstacles that prevent their messages from getting through; church members, many of whom still cringe at the sound of some of these words and lack confidence in how to share them; those outside of the faith, who just can’t find an entry point to Jesus because words (and the people who use them) stand in their way.
If you get a chance to read it, please let us know what you think—what spoke to you, what you learned, what you still struggle with. If you think it might be useful, please recommend it for your own book club or small group (there is a study guide at the end of each chapter).
I would forever grateful, a word that, by definition, leads us back to the heart of grace.