In recent weeks at work, I have received two letters in which the authors used "yours in Christ" before their signature in place of the commonly accepted "sincerely," "regards," etc. Let me clarify that these were both business-related letters and not personal correspondence. Hell, one had even been notarized.
When I was learning professional correspondence in high school and college (it was assumed in graduate school that we already had this down), I don't ever remember hearing that "yours in Christ" was an acceptable way to end a letter. I went back and checked some style manuals, and my memory appears correct. So, when did this become acceptable? I should probably mention at this point that both of the letters I received were written by college graduates.
Is this just a Southern thing? The quality of public education here in Mississippi is appalling, but something tells me that this cannot be the whole story. After all, I have seen this closing on at least one otherwise well-written letter.
When I see this closing on a letter, I quickly dismiss the author as an ignorant fanatic and have difficulty taking the contents of the letter seriously. Yep, I freely admit that this is my gut reaction. So now I'm a persecutor of Christians, huh? Ending a letter this way would be like me ending a letter with "yours in the flying spaghetti monster" or some other absurdity. If I did that, I would expect the recipient to form a negative impression of me.
Why do some Christians feel that they must do this? The Jesus fish, homophobic t-shirts, and prayer calendars are one thing, but this seems different somehow. I'm still struggling to get my head around this one.
Tags: atheism, Christian, Christ, business, education, professional writing