Monday, June 18, 2012

A little c


little c,

what begins with C?

Camel on the ceiling.


~ Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!


The church of Christ.

The Church of Christ.

Is there a difference?

To some people, yes.

Growing up in the Allen home, this was the kind of thing we talked about at the dinner table. Occasionally. We discussed why there should be a small “c” at the beginning of church of Christ.

Dad would explain it to us (in a much better and more articulate way than you will see here). He’d say something like this … the little c shows that we are the church described in the New Testament. “The church.” Like the group we see in Romans 16:16 … “Salute one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.” (Okay, don’t get distracted here. We’re not focusing on the kissing part.) A capital C indicates that we are a denomination like the Methodists, and we do not want to be a denomination like the Methodists.

We used this same kind of reasoning in conversations with acquaintances. For example, someone might ask us, “Where do you go to church?” and we’d reply, “We go to the College church.” We wouldn’t say, “We attend the College Church of Christ,” because that sounded too denominational.

This lingo was pretty common among other family and friends. If they came from a small town or a city with only one CofC, they might say, “We are members of the church in Rose Bud,” letting us know, in CofC code, that they were a part of “the church” and not some other denomination.

We soon noticed that outsiders didn’t get it. They’d quickly jump into a conversation, like someone doing a cannonball off a diving board, and say, “Oh, we’re Catholic” or “We go to the First Baptist Church.”

“First Baptist?” I would think. “Really? And where does the name ‘First Baptist’ ever appear in the Bible?”

I carried these attitudes around for many years, knowing that I was a part of the church that dated back to 33 A.D. and that other people were not. That the little c was an important part of displaying this.

Then I met a girl named Cheryl who I would date and greet with a holy kiss and one day marry. And I noticed that she capitalized ALL of her church c’s!

I asked her about it.

“What are you talking about?” she said. “I’ve never even heard about this stuff before.”


We [were] taught not to capitalize “church” in “church of Christ,” and to this day I know that someone’s the real thing if they leave the c small.

~ Susan Campbell in Dating Jesus.


  1. I'm a "little c" man, myself. And though I attend a Presbyterian church now I still look at church of Christ signs as I pass them. I know that they're legitimate if they have "meets here" in small letters under the name of the church on their signs.

  2. Nice! My wife and I still elbow each other in the car when we see a cofC sign.