Tuesday, July 06, 2004

What's up with the name?

When you have a name for your blog that doesn't contain any real words, I suppose that it's important to explain it. This name actually came to me in a dream. My good friend, Brian, had suggest that I start a blog (because there needs to be more liberal theological views out there), and I told him that I'd need to come up with a really cool name before I could have a blog. It's kind of like starting a band... the name is everything. Anyway, this name came to me that night.

So, when you read "conXian," it's supposed to sound like the English word "connection." This is really a key word for me. I happen to be a seminary student studying for hopeful ordination in The United Methodist Church. "Connection" is the way I describe my call to ordained ministry: I am called to help people connect with God, with each other, and with the rest of Creation. So, there you go... that's why connection is important.

Now, the X. Well, first of all, it's a little reminiscent of the 18th century English spelling "connexion," which is the spelling that John and Charles Wesley (the founders of Methodism) used. The X is also important because I am a member of Generation X. On the other hand, I am a little disturbed by the overuse of X, such as Xtreme sports or Pibb Xtra. But, in this case I'm willing to give in to make my greater point. So, now we've got connexion and gen x.

On to Xian. Although, this looks like it's probably a Chinese word, that's not how I'm using it. Xian is my shorthand for Christian. You know, like Xmas. I used to get really upset about the whole Xmas thing. X also gets used in Xing, for crossing, so I figured the X was a criss-cross, so was used for CROSSing or CRISSmas, which would take the Christ right out of Christmas. However, this is not the case. It's all about the Greek. Christ is the Greek word for "anointed" or "Messiah" (which is Hebrew). In the Greek alphabet, it looks more like XPISTOS: Chi Rho Iota Sigma Tau (then the ending) Omicron Sigma. X is actually the first letter of Christ. And if you use Christ as if it were Jesus' last name, then it would be his initial. So Xian and Xmas actually make total sense and have good linguistic and theological backing. Oh, and that's all to say that I consider myself a Christian, and this column will probably deal a lot with Christianity, so that's why it's got Xian in the title.

And finally, con. Con is the Spanish word for "with." (think chile con carne) Now, I have this little pet peeve about people talking about ministry TO someone or some group of people. It drives me nuts. It assumes that the "minister" has everything to give and nothing to gain from the "object of ministry." That just doesn't make sense, and I think it's wrong. Christian ministers need to open their eyes and realize that they don't have all the answers and that they (and other Christians) have a lot to learn about God from people who aren't Christians, or are poor, or come from another culture. Just because there are some things that we can help others with, it doesn't mean that we're the masters of the universe and have nothing to learn. Anyway, that's to say that I like to talk about ministry WITH someone, because it's a cooperative effort and we all grow from it.

So, there you go.... I'm all about connection, and I'm Methodist because I use connexion, I'm a gen Xer, and a Xian, and I think that working CON other people is important. Bet you never thought anyone could make seven letters so obnoxiously complicated. Well, I do my best... making everything obnoxiously complicated is what I'm all about.


Blogger Brian said...

David - great start. I'll link to you and see if I can't send some traffic this way.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

Hey David,

Good explanation. Not obnoxious or complicated.

I liked the "con" explanation. Although, sometimes I think we do end up ministering "to" folks. The good Samaritan story comes to mind. And sometimes we minister "through" other people; Jesus sending out the disciples might be an example. But I would agree that most of the time it's helpful to focus on ministering "with," especially when working within youth ministry or addressing poverty issues, as but two examples. It's about community, not individuals; about "our" ministry, not "my" ministry.

I look forward to future posts. If you don't mind, I'll add you to my link list.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I'm part of the traffic that Brian sent your way. Hmm, in my half-hearted attempt at avoiding church, it seems that all I read these days are ministers and christians :) I look forward to reading more.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Kenny said...

David -

Great start. Hope your time in Cancun and Antigua is good. Are you planning on working in Latin America, or with hispanics here?

Adding your link to my page to also encourage more traffic in your direction.

grace & peace

9:59 PM  
Blogger david said...

Thanks to all those who posted comments. Sorry at my lack of internet time here in Guatemala for getting new posts up.

In response to questions, I don't have any definite, immediate plans to do ministry with Hispanics either in the US or Latin America. The American Baptist church that I'll be interning at this year doesn't have much an hispanic population. However, since hispanics are becoming so important to the American landscape, I think it is essetial for those preparing for parish ministry to do their best to learn about and grow in this growing edge of our culture.

Fr. Jake, I agree with you about the other types and directions of ministry, I just want to be sure that we don't forget the "with" part.

When I get back to the states in August, I'll be a more regular poster and get my site fixed up with links to y'all.

Thank you,

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read this for the first time, and enjoyed it a lot! Totally agreed about the "with." :) And I'd "got" most of the blog name on my own, so I feel chuffed. :)

Mary Ann

5:12 AM  
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