This is me on the inside.

This is me on the inside.

There are a lot of things that make me cringe. My now-wife once went to Japan and told me about horse sushi – that makes me cringe. When my dog poops on the carpet – that makes me cringe. People talking on their cell phones in public bathrooms (seriously, why are you doing that?) – that makes me cringe. Traffic that appears out of nowhere for no reason – you guessed it, that makes me cringe.

However, there might be nothing that makes me cringe more than “Christianese” lingo that goes around the church. I’ll admit it, I’m a curmudgeon. There is something inside of me that feels like rusty gears grinding together whenever I hear it.

Below I’ve picked five Christianese phrases that really make my ears cry tears of sadness. We’re all guilty of it, so lets confess this sin (it must be a sin to be this painful, right?) together and put it to rest.

1) Guard your heart!

Seriously? What does this even mean!? Guard my heart against what? You say it like it’s the title of a Danielle Steel novel.

2) PTL!

Every time I see this on my computer screen, an angel loses its wings. So much cheese.

PTL! With all the cheese!

PTL! With all the cheese!

3) My Quiet Time

Eastern religions have quiet time. We have Bible time.

4) I prayed about it and…

Now you have free license to do whatever your heart tells you!

5) Let’s raise our hands in worship!

Didn’t you hear me the first time? I’m a curmudgeon. I don’t want to.



5 thoughts on “5 Christianese Phrases We Really Need to Stop Saying”

Josh · September 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm

It is my theory that these simple truisms are just that… Very densely packed statements with a high truth-to-filler concentration. The problem is that the truth is so dense that it actually becomes useless. Telling someone that “Jesus loves you” is entirely true….. But also rather useless to that person whose expectations of you include actionable help. The filler is how people absorb the message. It is the sugar to make the medicine go down and shouldn’t be ignored by someone looking to share gospel truth.

Nick · September 21, 2013 at 1:52 am

My annoying Christianese statement? Years ago when Todd Philips was still teaching at Mclean Bible Church, there was a series called “It’s Complicated” which mainly dealt with dating, sex, and other related topics from the church’s view. Being part of a small group, I had opened up about struggles with temptation, and the common answer I got was “Lift your temptation up to God”. How stupid. Honestly, what does that entail? As a believer of many years now – and I’d like to assume a certain degree of biblical knowledge and understanding – how does one do this? Lift it up. C’mon. I don’t understand it now, not to mention, as a “young” Christian at the time, I got very frustrated and wrote the pastor asking him about the silliness of the term, stating: “…Sin is not a physical thing I can pull out of my body, box up with lock and key, walk over to God Himself and give it to Him physically…” He must have understood my frustration in the sarcasm because he subsequently addressed it in his next sermon and an online Q/A session, which I actually really appreciated.

But long story short, don’t ever say “Lift it up to God”. Don’t blow off the person asking what to do which such a non-specific statement, give practical advice.

Tom · September 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I have to disagree with you on that first one brother.

I think the expression “guard your heart” is being taken from Proverbs 4:23. The NIV translates it as ” Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” The ESV (which you know I prefer) doesn’t use that exact wording, but conveys the same idea. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

If that is the case, then it is biblical language and we should most certainly use it. However, we should be clear about what we mean by that statement and so, in that respect, your point is well taken.

    goingtodamascus · September 23, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Hey Tom, thanks for commenting.

    You and I are in agreement that this expression is in the Bible, something I was aware of at the time of this post.

    The problem is, no one uses the expression biblically. Every time I’ve heard it used, it’s in the context of “Pull away and don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable so no one can hurt you.” It just makes me want to scream – how is that all compliant with our Biblical mandates for the church!?

    I think you and I would both agree with an interpretation that more fits with the King Ben translation, “Checketh thyself, that thy heart not be in sin, beforeth thy wreck thyself.” I’m all for it being used in this way, the former interpretation makes me want to punch brick walls.

Tom · September 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I wouldn’t say no one uses it biblically, but will certainly concede that isn’t usually the case. It’s definitely in the context of sin and not relationships or anything of that sort. I think I’ll use the King Ben translation from here on out.

Leave a Reply to Tom Cancel reply

Related Posts

Culture

Two Brothers in a Secular Age

A few years ago I had a neighbor from Texas. He was in his mid-30’s and had already served two tours in Afghanistan. His southern drawl was deep, as was his love for his country. Read more…

Culture

17 Years Later: Reflecting on My Brother’s Fight with Depression

If you’d like to read this in PDF format, please click here. My brother will forever be one of my heroes. Joe Hein was a tireless humanitarian. Skilled in business, he instead spent many of Read more…

Culture

God or Man? Good Friday Reflections on Batman v Superman

Like its 2013 predecessor, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is full of Christian/religious undertones and themes. Throughout the film, we see shots of characters praying, language surrounding angels and demons, and Superman being consistently Read more…