From prison in Germany during World War II Dietrich Bonhoeffer mused on the fall of “Christian civilization” in his home country and with it the power and credibility of its religious language. He spoke of the need for a non-religious language and way of life if Christianity were ever to recover its role of speaking faithfully for God to its world.
The church in America is, IMHO, in a similar place. Christian platitudes no longer engage our culture. Truth be told, they don’t even engage much of the church any more either. The church has been marginalized and with it its language and credibility. We too need to find a way to speak the truth of our faith in language that no longer trades on outworn and unintelligible platitudes.
The musical group Gungor has a beautiful song about Christian hope. The language is simple, direct, and powerful. There is nothing overtly Christian here. The language “We will shine like stars bright, brighter” does allude to biblical passages like Daniel 12:3 and Philippians 2:15 and brings the song within the orbit of Christian hope. The music sparkles and the lyrics cut right to the chase. “This is Not the End” is in my judgment a parade example of the kind of non-religious way of speaking we must become more adept at. In fact, I think I want this song played at my memorial service!