denominational mutt, Christian mutt

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Woof! Woof! Denominational mutts and Christian mutts are nicknames for Christians who have attended churches in more than one denomination.

definition of denominational mutt

(Thanks to Joe Sewell for letting me know about “denominational mutts.”)

Who doesn’t love a scruffy, friendly mutt? My favorite mutts are the ones that are so mixed up that you can barely tell what breeds went into it. It seems to me like those dogs are always the friendliest. Maybe what mutts lack in pedigree they make up for in personality?

However, “denominational mutts” and “Christian mutts” are people. These mutts are believers who have a diverse denominational background. As you can read in the quotations below, folks usually self-designate themselves as mutts based on their varied church experiences growing up. It probably goes without saying that you don’t want to call someone a denominational mutt or a Christian mutt unless they bring it up first and make it clear that they enjoy being called by that label!

Some Christians whose background includes multiple denominations will use the “mutt” metaphors and enjoy the self-depreciating humor of it. By way of comparison, other Christians with a mixed denominational heritage prefer to invent their own denominations—which is something I like to call “blended denominations.” Examples of blended denominations would be fundagelical (fundamentalist + evangelical), bapticostal (Baptist + Pentecostal), and presbycostal (Presbyterian + Pentecostal). You can read more about those blended denominations and plenty more at the “blended denominations” page.

(Update 5/14/2018: It turns out I get to write an entire dictionary of over a thousand different blended denomination terms! The dictionary, entitled The Mixed Blessings Dictionary, is scheduled to be published next year! Check out the Mixed Blessings website and blog.)

What other Christianese terms do you know for someone with a background in several denominations?


denominational mutt n. Also multi-denominational mutt. A Christian who has attended churches from multiple denominations; a Christian who attends churches of multiple denominations.
Syn *Christian mutt.
2000 Hubbs Is This What Church Was Meant to Be? A Candid Look at Ministry and Fellowship in the Body of Christ 61 : Being the “multi-denominational mutt” that I am, I’ve observed more than a few Communion services in my day. 2004 Batterson Id: The True You vii : I’m a denominational mutt, having gone to seven different church brands growing up. 2007 Pagitt, Jones, eds. An Emergent Manifesto of Hope 121 : I was dedicated (not baptized) as an infant in a Presbyterian Church (PC USA), and I went to a Nazarene church youth group in junior high, an Assemblies of God youth group in high school, and a variety of mainline, evangelical, and nondenominational churches in college. To say I’m a denominational mutt is probably an understatement. 2011 Burroughs Undefending Christianity: Embracing Truth Without Having All the Answers 95 : I attended Bible studies by Church of Christ, nondenominational, and even Southern Baptist types. I worked for a Wesleyan church, Bible church, and Assemblies of God nonprofit. Now I go to a Baptist church because they have the coolest children’s ministry in town…. I guess I’m a denominational mutt. 2012 Hughes Finishing Life Well xii : I am a denominational mutt. Lucy and I have been a part of United Methodist, Presbyterian (PCA), African-American Missionary Baptist, Southern Baptist, and independent charismatic fellowships. 2013 Flory, Miller, eds. Gen X Religion 200 : These days she prays with multiple communities, a “denominational mutt” searching to find where she fits best.
Christian mutt n. A Christian who has attended churches from multiple denominations; a Christian who attends churches of multiple denominations.
Syn *denominational mutt.
2009 Windsor For Pete’s Sake 126 : Guess you could say Ma and I are Christian mutts, a little of this and a little of that, but all for Jesus. 2009 The Life with God Bible: NRSV 000 : He considers himself a Christian “mutt,” as his background includes numerous evangelical and mainline Protestant denominations and a short time in the Roman Catholic Church.
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