I was at a hospital not long ago and I needed to get something to eat. A staff member pointed me down the hallway. I make my way to the space they called out and it said “Something Bistro.” I can remember what the “something” was, but it was called a bistro. I looked up the definition of bistro when I got back to my office. In the most generic sense it is a small restaurant. Many other definitions indicated things like a European influence, or cafe vibe or a connection to wine and so on. This “bistro” at the hospital had chips, some pre-packaged salads and sandwiches, some drinks and some candy. It was not a bistro. It was barely above a vending machine.
I pondered this a little bit and something hit me. I have heard it said “that everything rises and falls with your definitions.” I think there is a lot of truth here. In fact more and more, I see this applying to titles. So many titles have lost pretty much all meaning. What is a Christian? What is an evangelical? What is a patriot? What is a Muslim? What is a best friend? What is a luxury car? In all of this, I am coming to the place where putting almost any value in titles in a waste of time. I don’t care about what it is called, I care about what it does.
You may say “So what, why does this matter?” It matters because we are making judgments are people, objects, places and worldview based on titles that have no constant, substantive meaning. So when we are talking about something, although we use the same titles, we are talking about very different things. I would suggest whenever we are talking about something with others, we work hard to make sure our titles, our terms mean the same thing. Without this, I fear we complicate and confuse reality.