No Shop Talk

As a web designer, I frequently peruse online forums to further my knowledge. And as one of the “older set” (meaning IT definitions were not the first words from my mouth), I sometimes have problems understanding the language.

Like, what is this?

CSS is a stylesheet format for HTML, XHTML, and XML, including SVG and XUL, endorsed by the W3C, which facilitates the ability to separate document content from document presentation in a format universal to all browsers.”

Huh?

Why not simply say, “Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a web design language used to format the layout of a web page. It’s endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium.”

KISS. Keep it simple (sweetie). No shop talk.

So, what about our faith language? Do we mistakenly assume all readers are equally as far in their spiritual journey? Does our faith writing also cause people to say, “huh?”

Assume zero faith knowledge
Much of our writing today is for the web. Our audience potential is endless! We should assume that some, if not many, of our readers know nothing of Christ. They may not even fully understand the English language, let alone our faith language. It must be simple.

Simple language is a must for our church members as well. People today have little time and our styles of reading have changed. Succinct, direct and uncomplicated are key.

Avoid jargon
Theological words such as “sovereign, justification, repentence, witness” and “sin” are shop talk to the believer but tech language to someone else. They carry different meanings to different people. Use them with care.

Avoid clichéd phrases
As Christians, we have a tendency to include the full law and gospel message in a single sentence, no matter what the topic. Or, we refer to Christ with a long string of names, just to be sure we’ve covered all his deities.

“With the certain hope of our Almighty Father’s love and guidance…”

Huh? It’s hard to read and too much to comprehend. It loses it’s meaning.

Why not simply say, “With God’s help…”

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