With the heavy season of Lent now passed, it seemed appropriate to me to share a little levity (OK, goofiness) with you. Inspired/emboldened by Rodney Clapp’s article “There’s a word for it” (see link at end of post), I offer the following coined words and wacky uses of real terms from both the Catholic and Protestant traditions. One or two might even be serious proposals.


haresy (hareəsee)—the common and unreflective practice in churches of combining Easter bunny activities and egg hunts with Holy Week and the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord, e.g., egg hunts on Good Friday


hare shirt—Easter bunny costume worn by a member of the youth group at the church Easter egg hunt


oestreoviphobia—irrational fear of Easter eggs, especially old-fashioned hard-boiled and dyed ones


reliquarium—a box in which are kept the bones of the fish Jesus distributed at the feeding of the 5000 (cf. “reliquary”)


monstrance—that piece of furniture given by Aunt Sally to the ladies’ parlor that no one liked but couldn’t turn down


remonstrance—same as above, with new upholstery


Psalm Pilot—a PDA containing all the psalms and music for chanting them


littergy—the usual practice of worshippers leaving bulletins and other trash in their pews for the janitor to clean up


himbook—a songbook which still uses male language to mean “all human beings” and to refer to God; also himnody—the singing and/or composition of church songs using only “he,” “him,” “man”


hymn face—that blank stare on the faces of people who stand for the hymns, but don’t sing or even hold a hymnbook


Restless Pew Syndrome (RPS)—the coughing, shifting, shuffling, and general noisiness found in a typical church service, especially during a dull or challenging sermon


Irritable Pew Syndrome (IPS)—facial expressions and body language indicating sometimes severe displeasure with the content of the sermon or the mere presence of the pastor or other church members with whom the sufferer of IPS disagrees


gusher—a person who helps people, especially visitors, to their seats in a church, all the while complimenting and welcoming them profusely, in an obsequious manner


baptschism—the division in the Church about the method and meaning of baptism


Eucharisk—what the pastor takes when he/she introduces a new way (for the congregation) of serving Holy Communion, e.g., by intinction


MAO inhibitor—the influential church member or officer who consistently blocks the updating of the church’s ancient Manual of Administrative Operations


blended worship—a service in which the choir robes and minister’s vestments are made of a combination of fabrics, such as polyester and cotton or silk and wool


kenotic energy—the power released in the life of a church when people serve each other and their neighbors with openness and vulnerability, as Christ did (from kenosis [“emptying”; Philippians 2:7]; cf. “kinetic energy”)


© 2009 Tom Cheatham


Rodney Clapp’s article: http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=6593