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The New Word I’m Tired of: “Authenticity.”

When was the last time you heard a “contemporary” Christian speaker that DIDN’T use the world “authentic” somewhere in his or her talk?  It’s the word used to prove that the speaker isn’t interested in the tawdry, consumerist, or traditional perspective on living.  That supposedly he’s the real thing.  Genuine.  Real.  Honest. Authentic.  That would be fine, except for the fact that the word has become a fixation, and it’s used without thinking.  The truth is, the original meaning of the word referred to
something provable.  For instance, if a painting was “authentic,” then it was the real thing, beyond any doubt.  “Authenticity” meant it could be proven, documented, and validated.

But today, “authenticity” means it’s feels right to me.  It has nothing to do anymore with being real, being truthful, or being provable.  Today, authenticity is about appealing to me.  It’s something I personally like, and has nothing at all to do with universal fact.

The last word I went after was “community” – not because I dislike the concept, but because the world is so overused and fake.  That’s my same issue with authenticity.  It’s become a trite, overused word.

I suggest we do two things:
1.  Get back to the original meaning.  If it’s authentic when it’s provable, and it’s true, no matter what.
2.  Let’s cut back on how much we use it.  When it comes to meaning, the more we trivialize a word, the less it matters.

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  1. Top 5 popular “buzz” words among hip-wanna-be preachers:

    5. Post-modern
    4. Community
    3. Transparent
    2. Authentic

    Did I miss any?

  2. Thanks for your authenticity in being tired of the word authenticity.

    There are words that just get used to death and that is truly one of them! Good thought and I agree with the two suggestions.

  3. Isn’t it interesting that many of the buzz words used are put out there to tell people what you say you are, yet the words themselves often have a meaning that actually pertains to that which you have been tested and proven to be? You’re really authentic, transparent, relevant, etc. when you’ve lived it out in front of me and I can attest to it in your case.

  4. Great Post Phil, Yes, those are buzz words that seem to be a bother in the ear of the Lord, or those who might have ears to hear. Other words include “relationship(s),” “cool” used instead of good, “guys” used where the word “men” would honor the men present, multi-syllable names of “Ga-ah-aw-duh”, “Jah-he-zzu-huss-sha” and so forth. Actually, I believe since God is the Word…. we obviously must be careful not to pervert His words.

  5. > But today, “authenticity” means it’s feels right to me. It has nothing to do anymore with

    > being real, being truthful, or being provable. Today, authenticity is about appealing to me.

    > It’s something I personally like…



    If you think about it, there are many Christianese words that really mean “I personally liked that” while trying to connote something much higher, more noble, and more of God….



  6. Here’s a few more that are at at various stages of losing their meaning… missional… intentional… life-changing…world-class. I guess, like all of us, words will come and go – making some kind of impact in between.

  7. I am sick of the word “Amazing” Please use something else until we are sick of hearing your new adjective.

  8. I am also tired of the phrase “love on.” It seems to put the speaker slightly above those they are “loving on.” With real love, the vulnerability goes both ways. There is no hierarchy in love.

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