Clichés are so yesterday. Yet it feels like everybody and their brother uses them and they never quite get to the point. We should choose our words more carefully; after all, it’s another thing that separates us from the animals. So grab life by the horns and learn to speak your mind! Hugs, not drugs! Carpe Diem!
Now please excuse me as I wipe the barf off my keyboard because the amount of shameless clichés in that last paragraph made me a little sick. I’m willing to bet someone could give me the different etymologies behind each one, but it’s funny that just certain ones have stuck. Like, “in the nick of time.” Does anyone even know what that means? When you really stop to think about it, the very existence of clichés shows how lazy we can get with how we communicate and even think. They even seep into when we create something.
So you get countless songs about how when you’re sad it feels like rain or how when you’re overwhelmed you’re going to break free and fly or how someone can steal your heart or…seriously, go to your music library and count them. Now, they’ll still succeed at what they’re trying to communicate, but what about creativity/originality/showing that you put in genuine thought to what you’re saying? (Check out Michael Gungor’s blog on creativity in Christian music.) Would anyone ever just memorize a proposal speech they saw on a romantic movie in order to ask someone to marry them? Yikes, I hope not, but the more I think about it the more think that someone has probably done that. Weird, I almost barfed again.
But I’m being facetious (shocker!) and I know why we use them and I probably drop a cliché or two daily. They’re a quick and easy way to communicate an otherwise expanded thought. Quick and easy. And everyone will understand what you really mean because everyone gets what you mean. No semantic arguments there. But then we really get lazy.
Christians have our own clichés. Some of us even call it speaking “Christianese.” Cute. Go us.
Here a few that we see way too often:
· Ill pray for you = Good luck with that, I really got to get going.
· Worship was great today = I had a good time
· I’m good = My life is absolute chaos
· I don’t mean to judge, but… = Buckle up, I’m about to judge someone
· I told her I wouldn’t tell anyone but… = I told her that I wouldn’t tell anyone but I’m going to go ahead and gossip anyway.
· I don’t have the gift for that/feel led to do that = I’m too afraid to ask for that gift so I’m not going to even try to see if I could do that.
What’s the worst part about the above Christianese comments? They’re all clichés built upon phrases that actually mean[t] something. Christ said that our “yes” should actually mean “yes” and our “no” should mean “no.” I think it’s pretty safe to say that He wants us to always mean what we say and live accordingly.
So please, by all means, speak some Christianese every day. Just make sure you mean it.