”Esoteric” refers to language that is only understood by or meant for a select few who have special knowledge that lets them understand it. The word itself is probably unfamiliar to most of us. Let’s hope we never have to read it again!
From technical terms used in any specialised field, to in-jokes in a particular social group, we often encounter language that stops us from knowing what is being said (or knowing what people really mean by it.) We can come away from such experiences feeling like that topic or interest is not for me, or that group doesn’t want me to be there.
In Church, we must work hard to avoid any language or actions that can only be understood by those who have been a Christian for some time. This is because we have good news about Jesus that we want others to hear, and most importantly, understand. Words and actions that stop people from knowing what’s going on make people think that they aren’t meant to be here or that it’s not for them.
The earliest Christians knew that Jesus was for all people so they tried very hard to make sure the different kinds of people they spoke to could understand the message. They even dressed
differently if it would make it easier for a particular group to be receptive and listen to them. (Do you know that you can get congee at some MacDonald’s in Singapore?! And KFC also sells rice in Indonesia! Wow! Imagine what the Church can learn from fast food restaurants…)
It can be very hard to weed out language that isn’t easily understood from how we speak about God. It’s even harder to make every aspect of our church service understandable to people who wander in. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible.
God put in such an amazing effort to reach us—the lost people he loved. He sent a human being to reach human beings. Likewise, we should put in the effort to change some things that may make Christians feel comfortable on a Sunday but exclude the person who’s never stepped foot in a Church. God really wants them to come and know Him, so why should our comfort get in the way?