Say ‘our people’ with gusto!

The point about not using “my church” or “our church” because it belongs to Christ is well taken. (Although we say “my/our congregation” which actually means the same thing, when you peel back the layers.) But we can take it too far.

Let no one upbraid another when we say “our people” or “our folk” or “one of ours.” For Paul said it, Tt 3.15:

“Here is another way that our people can learn to engage in good works to meet pressing needs and so not be unfruitful.”

In this verse, the word “people” is actually not in the original, which makes the point even stronger, emphasizing more the idea of “ours.” (NRSV totally missed it here.) Some of the versions translate it rightly, but awkwardly, something like, “But let ours learn.”

One gets the feeling of warmth in Paul’s use of “our people.” At the beginning of the letter, he had some hard things to say about Cretans. Christians must be different. “Our people,” be they Cretans or Corinthians, Cajuns or Croatians, must be characterized by love and good works. If there is some distinction to be made in Paul’s use of phileo in the next verse rather than agapo, that feeling would be strengthened further.

So let us talk about “our people” with gusto and gratitude, knowing who we are before God and why the church of our Lord is unique.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

2 thoughts on “Say ‘our people’ with gusto!

  1. It is a shame when perfectly good terminology gets hijacked.
    I saw “non-denominational” getting hijacked by satan in the early 90’s when our local mega-church started wearing it. Now, we say, “pre-denominational.” Well, just a matter of time before that one gets hacked, too.
    The Lord knows them that are His.

    1. True. Protestants start their own denomination, call themselves non-denominational so people will think it’s something new, then before long develop their own system a la Rick Warren or others of his ilk.

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