Talking About God

Talking about Jesus can be a strange thing to do. Sometimes, when speaking to an unbelieving friend, I make passing mention of Him just to gauge their reaction. A knowing nod makes me feel at ease; I’m put on guard when I note a disapproving purse of the lips.

I try never to assume that people know Him like I know Him. But that means talking about Him as though I were trying to set someone up on a blind date with Him. “I know a guy who’d be perfect for you!”

My tendency these days is to use a certain level of informality when I talk to God. I don’t mean any disrespect, sometimes I just want to remind myself that He’s a real person. I pray with my eyes open. I’m not afraid to sprinkle in questions, suggestions, or frustrations. But I always wonder if doing that in public might be taken the wrong way. I’m also learning to deal with my own baggage when it comes to talking about Him. I try not to use clichés (“the Man Upstairs”) or foreign languages (Jahovah Jireh), and I’m careful to explain what I mean when I say whatever it is I say.

There’s a strange pressure when the people around you learn about God through your relationship with Him. I want to differentiate my God from all the other ones out there. He’s not impersonal. He doesn’t care about the stuff that most people think He cares about.  How do you introduce people to someone they think they’ve met (and are sure they don’t care for)?

About E. Goodman

Ernest Goodman is a missiologist, writer, teacher, and communications strategist.