This week at CCR we will be looking at the third commandment. It is pretty simple. Do not misuse the name of God. For those who grow weary of movies filled with the colorful use of language to express frustration you will hear a call to a gentle and kind approach. For those weary of both school and office conversations that forget manners you will also hear a call for civility.
However, I will address another misuse of God’s name, the Kilokole language.
Eugene Peterson in his translation of this command writes, “No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won't put up with the irreverent use of his name. Exodus 20:7, The Message.”
It is the silly banter that gets us church people in trouble. For those of you unfamiliar with Bantu languages allow me to give you a crash course. You start with a root. For instance, lokole means “to save.” If you are a single person who is saved you add mu to make Mulokole. If you are a group you add ba to make Balokole. To define a location adds bu to make Bulokole. Finally, your culture and language is Kilokole.
The Kilokole language grew from our region’s historic East African Revival. It is rooted in deep sincere faith. As time has gone on Kilokole has become both trivial and global. For instance, the phrase, “Praise the Lord” no longer means to worship, but is a greeting. Its dialect of Kiswahili becomes “Bwana asifiwe.” It’s dialect of Luganda becomes “Mukama yebazibwe.” It’s dialect of Kinyarwanda becomes, “Imana ishimwe.”
The result is that our use of silly banter creates exclusion in our community between those who know Kilokole and those who do not. It also cheapens the natural awe we should have in the presence of God.
I hope you’ll join us at CCR this Sunday as we dive into this third command and seek to discover awe anew.