The history of the term Xian - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I never heard of the term xian for christian until I came to this board. Could someone please educate me on the history or origin of this word.

Thanks
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#2 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 02:23 PM
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You might find some helpful info in the 'Happy Holidays' thread. X=Greek for 'Christos'/'Chi'. It is NOT an attempt to x-out something like 'Christ'. It has been used as a scholarly term for centuries, and by Christians themselves. It is a misconception that it is offensive. It is also a misunderstanding on the part of those offended, though many a Christian minister has taken the line, 'don't take the Christ out of Christmas!' in his/her ignorance about this term.

You could also search on Google for more info.

Good luck!

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#3 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 02:33 PM
 
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Great answer. BTW it is really "spelled" Xtian.
Also, I know many a minister who use this -- especially at Xmas and say we are "putting the symbol of Chrsit, the cross, back into the word(s). Chrsit without the cross = 0.

Emmanuel is coming!

Advent blessings ----
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#4 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 02:38 PM
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Hi ReverendMother - am I incorrect in assuming 'Chrsit' is twice spelled wrong here or is this a new term (which I definitely want to learn about it's history, too) for me?

Thanks...I haven't seen 'Chrsit' before.
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#5 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your answers. I was aware of the "x" = chi in greek. And thank rm for the respelling. I agree that those who are offended by the use of "X" just mis understand the history.

I am not christian so I have to heard the term x(t)ian used in a church context. I have only heard (read) it used by non-christians in a neutral way or on many sites located via google by those who, to put it nicely, do not particularly like christians. This usage is what may lead some to be offended rather than the literal history of the word.

In any case, thanks again, just curious and trying to get tring to understand the history of language usage.
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#6 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 04:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by frogertgrl
It is a misconception that it is offensive. It is also a misunderstanding on the part of those offended, though many a Christian minister has taken the line, 'don't take the Christ out of Christmas!' in his/her ignorance about this term.
Just need to step in here... If someone says they are offended by the term, they are offended. It's not a misconception. It's fair to say, "My understanding of this term is xyz and therefore I don't understand why anyone would be offended...". But to say that they are mistaken and ignorant... ouch. Feels invalidating to me.

That said... I find the history of the term really interesting! I didn't know it wasn't a modern term, a lazy shortcut if you will.
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#7 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 05:13 PM
 
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Yeah, I have to second tara's response. If someone says they are offended they are. A long historical presidence for using the offensive term does not change that. We apply this thought process to a great many situations here at MDC and I think we should apply it here as well.
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#8 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 05:17 PM
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Okay, I see why you are saying you are offended and I hope, as we all do our research to understand the etymologies of terms we find 'offensive', we learn much about why we remain offended.

Peace. And here's to the greater knowlege path for us all! Wouldn't it be wonderful to be less offended via knowledge? I guess that is what I strive for.

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#9 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 05:38 PM
 
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It is to be hoped frogertgrl! But it is so hard!

There are so many things that were sort of hardwired into our brains when we were too young to have a say in it. These are not carefully considered opinions and they dwell outside the realm of logic. They are how people feel. I find "Xtian" far less offensive than some but it still bugs me on some deep level. And I know it is because of my mothers comments on the subject ages ago. It is similar to my reaction to a pentagram. I have many very dear friends who are pagan. They have taught me a lot and I have gotten used to seeing this symbol on them and in their homes but I still have a small reaction to it... a tiny mental flinch (tinier all the time) because I grew up associating that symbol with Satanism. I have overcome that ignorance with knowledge but some of the feeling is so deep I can't seem to root it out, you know?
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#10 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 05:50 PM
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Yes, that all makes sense.


May we all do much toward our respective unlearnings. It IS hard work, indeed.

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#11 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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tara and kama,

I agree if some one says they are offended they are and their feeling should be acknowledged and respected. So I hope my post did not get interpreted otherwise. If it was I am sorry.

The history of the word is interesting. I wonder why it is being used so often now or maybe it is just the information I am stumbling upon these days.
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#12 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 06:22 PM
 
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That's funny. I never heard it used as an offensive term. I used to see it all the time in the media, in advertising, eg: Big Post Xmas Sale!

I didn't know anyone got offended by it in any big way, except for the occasional grumpy preacher type saying, don't X out Christ. But I thought it was shorthand, and the X represented the Cross. Now that I found out it means, "chi" in Greek, it makes it seem even more elegant. I am a terribly dyslexic typist, and anything that saves me the mistake of spelling it Chirst seems good to me.

Or seemed. Now I have to rethink?

Is it like the pentagram and NIPing? The more we educate about it, the less offensive it will seem?
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#13 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 07:27 PM
 
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fwiw, I'm not offended, just looking out for those that are...

And, Greenfrogs & frogertgrl (can I just call you the Frogs? ): I appreciate your sensitivity.

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#14 of 20 Old 12-11-2002, 09:56 PM
 
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I tend to spell it out the first time, Christian, and then use abbreviations. I think that was due to too many english and journalism classes. Use the complete for first, then abbreviate. I try to do that with a lot of other internet shorthand, too. As I mentioned in the other thread, I always pronounce it christian, even when abbreviated.

interesting connection...in judaism, there is a practice of avoiding spelling out the name of G-d. So is spelling out God offensive to them? And additionally, could that not be the source of Xtian? To use the symbol so as to avoid writing out the sacred name, Christ, on something that might be profaned?

I recently saw a printout of Jewish Hannakuh prayers..it mentioned somethig like "this page includes the name of G-D [in the prayer]. If printed out, treat with respect."
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#15 of 20 Old 12-12-2002, 12:29 AM
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QUOTE]Originally posted by Clarity
interesting connection...in judaism, there is a practice of avoiding spelling out the name of G-d. So is spelling out God offensive to them? And additionally, could that not be the source of Xtian? To use the symbol so as to avoid writing out the sacred name, Christ, on something that might be profaned?

I recently saw a printout of Jewish Hannakuh prayers..it mentioned somethig like "this page includes the name of G-D [in the prayer]. If printed out, treat with respect."
[/QUOTE]

This is such a beautiful thought - I love it! I so wish some of our Christian MDC friends had not been so quick to take offense and perhaps consider this interpretation.

Lovely - thanks for sharing this!
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#16 of 20 Old 12-12-2002, 12:42 AM
 
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From what I understand if a paper has the name of God written on it that paper, even if just a scrap is to be treated with respect and not tossed in the trash or similar.

My best friend and I were discussing this Xmas issue recently. Even knowing the history she is a bit offended by it. She disagrees a bit with that simplified history too.

It is the Greek letters chi and rho that were used to designate Christ, so a more accurate abreviation would use both. XRmas???

This is something we quietly let slide, agree that each holds her own opinion.

At the very least if using this abreviation it should be capitolized!


"What will you do once you know?"
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#17 of 20 Old 12-12-2002, 01:04 AM
 
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Well, it's an interesting idea and I would be really fascinated if there is a connection between using Xtian and G-d. I tend to suspect not, as the use of Greek letters came after much of the early Christian church had moved away from (or flat out rejected) Jewish tradition. I think part of the feeling that many Christians have about the usage is based on it's most common uses. We don't tend to use it among ourselves, in my experience... it's not in our church newsletters or on the message boards in front of our churches... it's "X-Mas!" usually accompanied by the world sale. :
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#18 of 20 Old 12-12-2002, 01:13 AM
 
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No no no

I wasn't trying to link the Jewish usage of writing G-d to the usage of Xian or Xmas...

I was commenting on two seperate things.

Sorry that wasn't clear.

It is my understanding that the ChiRho abbreviation was used by the early Christians, partly as a code so that it'd not be so obvious for whom the message was meant. They used the fish symbol the same way.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#19 of 20 Old 12-12-2002, 12:18 PM
 
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First of all -- I am a terrible typist -- so "Christ" and "Chirst" often get mixed up with me. I have also been known to type "Crist"...but we won't go there.....

Second -- Most denominations of Christians do not have the same attitude about any of Gods names as the Jews do. We have substitued LORD for "the name" in our "Old Testament", but there has never been any feeling that where the name of Christ is written it is particularly or more sacred. Nor have the Xtians ever felt that the "name" should not be spoken. Of course superstious people often make up rules....

Third -- I find it really interesting that people could get all worked up about the use of a "X" (offended), but then not seem to mind the worlds usurping of one of two most holy seasons. Most of the people I know who have been "offended" have their lights up and trees decorated and begin their holiday parties during the season of Advent - a time to be preparing for THE coming.
Everyone has a right to be offended about anything that goes agaist their convictions. But I am much more offended by non Xtian celebrations using the same symbols and carols. (I realize that SOME of those symbols come from pagan roots - those are not what I am talking about).
And I am more offended by the folks who have plenty to give during this season and nothing to give the rest of the year. They obviously don't get the message. And I am more offended by Xtians who can look at the manger and not see the cross and the ressurection.
But the long and short of it is this -- what good does it do to be offended? Most offences come thorugh ignorance - the other person(s) do not realize that what they have done bothers you and none of us can live our lives trying not to offend anyone -becasue at some point,- if we are living our convictions, we are going to offend someone.

Finally, we use the X-for Chrsit a lot in our church and even on our church sign. We mostly use it when space is a problem. And I use it to avoid typing errors. (Anyone know how to spell check these posts???)



Advent blessings -- Come Lord Jesus!
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#20 of 20 Old 12-12-2002, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by reverendmother
But the long and short of it is this -- what good does it do to be offended? Most offences come thorugh ignorance - the other person(s) do not realize that what they have done bothers you and none of us can live our lives trying not to offend anyone -becasue at some point,- if we are living our convictions, we are going to offend someone.
Yes, yes, and yes!!

Thank you for posting these wise words here.

Peace.
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