There is a line from the movie “Ice Princess” that makes me chuckle every time I hear it (and believe me, with two kids and no regular television, I’ve heard it A LOT). It’s in the scene where the main character, Casey – who is just entering the professional world of ice-skating, is talking to one of the little girls from the beginner ice-skating class who’s trying to explain to her about all the “technical” parts of the business. Confused by the ice-skating jargon, Casey finally looks at the tiny phenom and says, “Earth speak, please?” The fancy, professional terminology used by the child was too far over Casey’s head as she was a novice at the whole ice-skating scene. Having only skated on her frozen winter pond, Casey found herself dazed by all the “big talk” floating around the ice rink and simply wanted someone to speak to her on her level – “earth terms”. LOL. I find myself chuckling now just thinking about it.
I guess I find it so funny because I, all-too-well, know exactly how Casey felt! More times than I would like to remember I have found myself in just such a spot. People talking all fancy and using big words to describe things that a simple, some-what country, Florida girl had no clue about! Instead of owning duvet covers we owned “bed-spreads”, instead of owning sofa sleepers we owned “hide-a-beds”, instead of poaching eggs we “fried” them (come to think of it, we fried everything), instead of owning previously-owned vehicles we owned “used cars”. LOL. I don’t know how many times I have been in a situation where I was completely clueless to what people were talking about but I simply didn’t have the guts to scream, “Earth speak, please?”
I find this to be oh-so-true in the sub-culture of “Christianity” as well. Seems we’ve created our own little world with our own form of “professional jargon” called “Christianese” that does nothing but confuse “outsiders” and “newcomers”. Often people stand frozen in embarrassed shame while we give our “schpeel” about how they need to “have faith” and “rebuke the devourer”. We talk about the “rapture” and the “anti-christ” as if these are household terms everyone should be familiar with. At the end of the day, new Christians, and those of no faith at all, are left dazed and confused and have no clue how to process this wealth of information they’ve received.
A prime example of this type of misunderstanding is seen in John chapter 3 when Nicodemus had an encounter with Jesus. Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again to see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus responded by saying, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (ch 3:4) Obviously Jesus wasn’t purposely “speaking over Nicodemus’ head”. Everything Jesus did He did with purpose, and on purpose, to teach us something in, and through, His actions. Jesus knew Nicodemus would not understand (because He’s God and knows all things) but He chose to speak to him this way anyhow. Why? Why would he use phraseology that wouldn’t make sense to this man knowing He’d only have to go on and explain? I believe Jesus did this to teach us a principle and to show us how to talk with people on their level – how to really explain the things of the Kingdom in a way they can understand. We can see that in the verses that follow and how Jesus took time to teach Nicodemus about “rebirth” and salvation.
Friends, I want to encourage you that next time you have a conversation with an unbeliever, or a new believer, use “earth speak, please?”! Make sure you are saying things clearly and concisely so there will be no confusion in what you are trying to say. Don’t talk demeaning or degrading, indicating the individual is stupid, just speak plainly and simply. Your words will go a lot farther that way and you will accomplish much more for the Kingdom. You must remember that our sub-cultural terms and phrases mean nothing in the overall culture of our world. Don’t walk away from someone leaving them asking, “Earth speak, please?”