A good friend said the following the other day and I can’t say that I could agree more. I am so glad when I hear a missionary say something like this:
Everyone who has traveled from America or Europe to a Muslim country inevitably learn the “code language” that is used here by the missionaries who are afraid of getting kicked out of the country. Usually that language is learned after consistent scolding for using “bad words” like Jesus, church, and the gospel. I don’t want to be pompous but I’ll risk it and say, “If you can’t say the name of Jesus with boldness where you are going…don’t go!”
Most missionaries don’t use those words even in private in their own homes or out in the woods. They think that someone is always listening. They have been conditioned to fear before they ever arrived here by their organizations. I don’t know if they think someone has binoculars and is reading their lips in English or Spanish or maybe they have been bugged.
So, here is the translation of some of your more common words so you know what to say when you meet some of these missionaries because if you don’t, they may just be likely to hang up on you or walk away from you with no warning:
Missionary- (The worst cuss word in existence) “M” (just simply the letter) or “Macaroni” (seriously) or more commonly “worker”
The Jesus Film- “The J. Film”
The Bible- “The Good Book”
Mission Board- “Company”
Church- “Group” (which I guess is not that far off as a literal translation)
Church Planting- “C. P.”
The Gospel- “The News”
So I know that some of you who read this blog who have visited the Muslim world have bought into this language hook-line-and-sinker. Personally, though, I just simply feel ashamed of myself when I act so obviously ashamed of Christ and my job. So for the record, so you know, when people ask I tell them what I did before I came here: Taught the Bible. When I am on the street or in the presence of Arabs I use every one of those words with liberty in English, Spanish, and often Arabic. When they ask me where I am going on Sunday I tell them that I am going to church. AND I have never said that I nor anyone other missionary is a MACARONI. Sheesh!
I may get kicked out of the country tomorrow but I would rather my days be short and full of impact and courage than many and full of fear and waste.
PS. You can’t teach disciples to have courage (which is any missionaries main job, especially in a persecuted country) while you are afraid to use Jesus’ name…in public…out loud…with courage!