One of the dilemmas I sometimes face as a blogger is word selection. If I’m writing about a topic, say church, do I use the word church or do I use an equivalent term, like Christian community?
Many in the missional community would suggest we think contextualisation, contextualisation, contextualisation (try saying that fast), and use words drawn from contemporary culture. Following this approach, Christian community would be preferred. And in fact that is my preference.
But, from a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) point of view, that’s a recipe for getting ignored, because most people searching for stuff on Christian community will be Googling for keywords like church, the non-Christians even more so that the Christians.
Moreover, if some Christians are writing about church and others are writing about Christian community, can non-Christian readers be expected to recognise the two conversations as the one conversation? My experience is, generally not.
So, what’s a blogger to do if he or she wants to actually influence popular perceptions of Christianity and Christian community? As surprising as it sounds, coming from me, I think we need to be wary of contextualising too fast, of giving Western readers linguistic whiplash. So, my solution has generally been to use both terms simultaneously where possible, to create bridges between sacred language and secular language.
This leads me to ask:
- First, for general readers, does this approach work for you?
- Secondly, for other bloggers, how do you handle this issue?