When you share your testimony and you end up talking about yourself more than about God, it’s called a “bragimony.”
Christians love to come up with new blended words: from vacationary (vacation + missionary) to sanctinasium (sanctuary + gymnasium), and with plenty more in between.
In the opinion of a lot of Christians, especially evangelicals and fundamentalists, telling one’s personal story of becoming a Christian is a basic part of sharing the gospel with others. Sure, evangelism can often be as simple as quoting John 3:16 and explaining the Four Laws and the Romans Road, but theological concepts like those can come off as abstract and unrelatable to a non-Christian with no Bible background. On the other hand, if a Christian evangelizes by sharing his or her actual autobiographical story of becoming a Christian, then that real-life testimonial can often be a much more compelling reason for a non-Christian to believe that the gospel message could actually be true.
Each Christian’s personal story of conversion is called a “testimony.” In its simplest form, a testimony explains what a person’s life was like before becoming a Christian, how the person’s conversion happened, and what life has been like living with Jesus ever since. The idea of the testimony is that if God can change one person’s life for the better, then he can change anyone’s life. A lot of Christians practice telling their testimony over and over until they can deliver it to a complete stranger in just two or three minutes.
A bragimony, by comparison, is a testimony that has slipped into the fast lane without using its turn signal. A bragimony is less of a story of what God has done and more of a story about the good things the Christian himself or herself has done. There is an honest way to talk about one’s accomplishments while still giving credit to God, but sometimes that balance is hard to find, especially if the person sharing their testimony is nervous about public speaking and starts rambling.
What other Christianese blended words have you heard? Feel free to share them in the comments.
bragimony n. [brag ‘a pompous, self-congratulatory anecdote’ + testimony ‘a brief telling about how converting to Christianity has changed one’s life’] A testimony in which the emphasis is on one’s own accomplishments rather than on God’s power and grace.
1988 Swindoll Living Beyond the Daily Grind 337 : Humility is not something to be announced. It simply belongs in one’s life, in the private journal of one’s walk with God, not in a book that looks like a testimony but comes across more like a “bragimony.” 1998 Northcott, ed. Urban Theology: A Reader 297 : Encourage your people to share testimonies—not “bragimonies”—that illustrate who Jesus is and what he does. 2002 Turner, Ehlers Sugar’s Life in the Hood: The Story of a Former Welfare Mother 219 : In the Baptist church, you hear a lot of embellishment and what they think. A lot of “bragimony”—not testimony. 2009 papastevespontifications.blogspot.com (9 Feb.) : While our thanks goes to others, our praise flows to God. Paul’s testimony would sound more like a “bragimony” if it were not God’s strength that he was leaning on, and not his own – so it was God he was bragging on, not himself. 2012 examiner.com (16 Apr.) : Their testimony is what I call “bragimony”. It usually starts with the “I, I” or “Me, Me”; they don’t seem very sincere, and as a result, not very believable when the “bragimony” they spout is compared with what you know about the way they are living. I believe that this type of born again is exhibiting a form of pride. 2012 whatdoitmean.blogspot.com (13 Jul.) : Those who publicize their good deeds either in meetings or on Facebook or in front of the church as a testimony are praised. But most often the testimonies are nothing more than bragimonies. People brag on themselves because they must have others recognize how good they are.