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.