Christian Dictionary: Relevance

I was perusing the interwebs because it is integral to my search for truth. Everyone knows the internet, as a whole, is true. Anyway, I find there are a large number of new-fangled words out there to describe the church and Christianity. It seems we need to make some changes. It’s weird, I thought Christianity was fine like it was. PSYCH!! (used ridiculous old school slang: Check)

Today’s word is-


“Something (A) is relevant to a task (T) if it increases the likelihood of accomplishing the goal (G), which is implied by T.” (Hjørland & Sejer Christensen,2002). (Wikipedia)

It means the subject has pertinence to the matter at hand. At times it points to the applicability to social issues. (Dictionary)

Popular Christian Definition of Relevance-

Slapping a pair of skinny jeans and a deep V-neck t-shirt on plastic Christianity, then mixing in some pop culture references like bacon, zombies or Downton Abbey.


Suddenly the church is now relevant.

Muppet Wiki

Changing the presentation and appearance of the church environment in an effort to become relevant is slight of hand. Once the unbelieving masses see through the smoke and mirrors of this illusion, finding a tragic lack of substance, we will be shuffled back to the dusty attic of irrelevance.

When will we realize that a hairstyle that looks like it was cut with a shotgun won’t point the way to Christ? As much as it pains me to say it, a beautiful nomadic plot of face fur isn’t going to save someone’s soul.  When will we learn that putting a pig in a dress doesn’t make it a prom date? Actually, there was this one time–never mind I’ll save that story for later. It’s still a pig, although a much better looking and more socially-acceptable pig.

I make myself relevant to my dog every morning when I put some brown, unidentified pellets in his bowl. I am relevant to him when I shake the drool from his ample jowls and show him love.

The relevance Jesus has isn’t in the packaging of The Way in hip slang and cool knock-off Christian-version clothing. He was relevant because He was Truth.

He intermingled and befriended despite clearly being better than they were /we are. This dichotomy of being Creator of all and Servant to all is where His relevance came into play. That doesn’t change. Yet we look for the next great thing.

9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.   Ecc. 1:9-10

Jesus is relevant.

What do you think Relevance should look like to the modern Christian? 

If you would like to suggest a word for the dictionary series, send me an email. Thanks.

6 thoughts on “Christian Dictionary: Relevance

Add yours

  1. First of all, I love the Miss Piggy reference!

    I think what some people are trying to do is what Paul explained in 1 Corinthian 9:20-23, being “all things to all people.” But they focus on outward appearance and conforming themselves to the world rather than finding (not forcing) areas of commonality that will help them direct people to Jesus, which is really what Paul did. The Word of God is eternally relevant because people haven’t changed since the beginning of time regardless of what evolution claims. I enjoy when pastors find ways to translate situations in the Bible to what is happening today because it makes God’s word come alive and demonstrates how there is nothing new under the sun.

    Good thoughts!


  2. Being relevant in your analogy is quite correct. We become relevant when we demonstrate authentic love and freely give the grace that we receive from Christ. The dog did nothing on his own to earn the love of the master, so when he receives this unmerited favor he responds. We likewise, did nothing to earn His grace, yet it is poured out daily.

    Relevance is relationship.


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