Words Don’t Mean what they Say: An Ablaze Dictionary, by Pr. Rossow

In this edition of “The LCMS in Her Own Words” (see the Regular Columns page for more posts to this column) we focus on how words are getting new meanings in the church these days. Like most movements Ablaze has its own dictionary. For this series reviewing the Ablaze grants of the Northern Illinois District I have read about 75 pages of Ablaze-speak. After a while a pattern of changing the traditional meaning of words appears. Here are a few that I have noticed.


“Leadership” – In Ablaze double speak this means someone who is bold enough to trash the 2,000 year old liturgy. I’ve got to hand it to them, that does takes some chutzpah. Although, in one sense it is not leadership or bold at all because it is usually done in ignorance without the recognition that the liturgy is a living, breathing, scriptural tool that has served the church well and caused it to grow and thrive around the globe for 2,000 years.


“Vicar” – “Vicar” formerly meant someone who is in need of a year of on the job training with close supervision from a pastor before he is certifiable for ordination. Ablaze programs are being built around vicars. In the Ablaze world a vicar is a cheap way for the synod to start a new, out of the box program with a young skull of mush who may not know any better. Rather than the vicarage being focused on training the vicar for preaching and administering the sacraments, in Ablaze-land vicars are thrown into a whole new situation that even the supervisor is not experienced in. That does not seem to matter. What matters is the urgency of saving the lost and it matters so much that we can even sacrifice the crucial year of vicarage for it. (We will give an example of this later in the series.) An additional benefit for the Ablaze team in all of this that they are able to create new recruits for the Ablaze way of doing church by convincing young, impressionable candidates for the ministry think that ministry means doing wild, out of the box sort of things.


New Venue” – In the world of common sense language this means a new place or different location. In the Ablaze world “new venue” is double-speak for a whole new way to do church. Be careful if your pastor, church council and the local TCN consultant suggests a new venue for your church.


“Satellite” – The new meaning of this term is similar to “new venue.” A satellite in Ablaze-speak means a place where the pastor gets to do stuff that the conservative members of his congregation would not let him do at the original site and in addition because it is off site they aren’t annoyed weekly by it and will tend to be quiet about it at voters’ assemblies. (“Voters assemblies” – what’s that? That term does not exist in Ablaze speak and so we cannot provide the double-speak definition for it.)


“Dog Ministry” – What can I say? This one needs a lot of “splaining” so we will wait until the end of this series and spend an entire post on understanding this perplexing phrase.


I am sure you have some even better examples of Ablaze double speak. You can add to our Ablaze dictionary by using the comment box below or you can just let us know what you think about all of this.

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