Yanked from Yahoo this morning:

“When the time came for Merriam-Webster to pick its top word of 2011, its editors decided they needed to be pragmatic.

So they chose … pragmatic.

The word, an adjective that means practical and logical, was looked up so often on Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary that the publisher says “pragmatic” was the pragmatic choice for its 2011 Word of the Year.

“Pragmatic” may have sparked dictionary users’ interest both because they’d heard it in conversations, and because it captures the current American mood of encouraging practicality over frivolity, said John Morse, president and publisher of the Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster.

Merriam-Webster has been picking its annual top choice since 2003. Previous winners include: austerity (2010), admonish (2009) and bailout (2008).”

My Mac’s dictionary lays pragmatic out like so: “Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.”

This is interesting, at least to me. People in our society want down-to-earth, true-to-life tools for life. The number one question for a pragmatist isn’t, “Is it true?” but “Does it work? Will it help? Can I person like me run with this?” In other words, if it works, it must be true. Apple built it’s empire by tapping into pragmatism and delivering on their motto: “It just works.”

I recently went out and bought Shauna a new KitchenAid mixer. When considering whether or not to make the switch to Cuisinart, I didn’t just look at the specs, the theoretical performance. I read reviews. I became a pragmatist. I wasn’t just interested in words, I was interested in reality.

Interestingly, the Greek word translated “truth” throughout the New Testament could just as easily be translated “reality.” Truth describes what’s real. Christianity isn’t merely a collection of  pretty ideas and theories. And while it’s possible to go to far with this statement—reducing faith to a formula—we can still insist that faith in Christ works. Francis Frangipane has said that if your car can’t get you to work on Monday, don’t expect it to transport you across the country when summertime comes. In the same way, if faith in Christ doesn’t “work” on Monday morning, why would I depend on it to secure my eternal destiny?

By their fruit ye shall know them. Pragmatics, pure and simple.

Over the past few decades, churches have focused on the wrong word: relevant. Relevant could flit like a butterfly from Lady Gaga lyrics in church to addressing today’s problems to using that cool new font in your powerpoint presentations. But if churches offered pragmatic faith—faith that works—it would always be relevant in all the ways that matter.

So my question to you: Is this what people are getting in church? In Bible studies? In sermons? Are we offering a pragmatic faith, or something less?

Please chime in: