Five phrases not to say

Reluctant Xian says that there are five things that Christians should never say. This is not like George Carlin's classic comedy routine, through, because these never get bleeped.

Sometimes I curse. I don’t pepper my language liberally with curse words like people might pepper a house salad, but sometimes I curse.

It surprises people to hear that pastors sometimes curse. But really, that’s all I can do sometimes. When you see terrible tragedy where you have absolutely no response other than sadness and despair, cursing happens…because you can do nothing else.

Likewise, sometimes when I see utter beauty a word will slip through my lips, brought from the very depths of my emotional being where words live only to be used in situations where no word seems appropriate. Usually that’s a curse, too.

Pastors sometimes curse. Christians sometimes curse.

And, really, I hear things slip from Christian mouths with reckless abandon that I believe are far worse than curse words. Here are just 5 (there are undoubtedly more):

Here are the Five Things:

5) “That’s not Christian…”

4) “I love the sinner but I hate the sin..”

3) “You need to surround yourself with some good Christian people…“

2) “You just have to do God’s will…”

1) “It’s all in God’s plan…”

I would add one I used to hear all the time in the hospital, especially after a death: "Well, God wanted her/him more than you/we did."

What phrases would you add to the list?

Comments (20)

I would add "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle" to the list. BS. God doesn't "give" us the pain of a broken world. I'm simply glad God is present among us when the pain of a broken world and our own brokenness feels like it's crushing us.

They've "gone to a better place." It denigrates the incarnation, cross, resurrection and all that jazz....

"The Bible says..."

"I'm praying for you." One hopes that's a given. In the meantime, it's often a trite banality that's used to avoid taking meaningful action.

Eric Bonetti

"I'm praying for you" -- when it comes from the mouths of people who could use their power or resources to make the situation better.

Catherine Alexander

"God must have needed an angel." Bad theology on at least two levels.

1) God didn't kill your friend/parent/child/partner. People die because that's the way the world works.

2) People don't turn into angels when they die. Even really nice people. Angels were created separate from human beings, and for all the pop culture evidence to the contrary, are not a higher form of being.

"God just put this on my heart...." and "Father, "wejus" (we just) ask that.......

"Everything happens for a reason."

I see no issue with #4. How many times have people in your life done something you didn't approve of or it was against your own value system? That's all number #4 is. And #2-Has anyone ever prayed the Lord's prayer? "Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done"?

"Have you prayed on it?"

"Something you didn't approve of..."

You know what Nicole? Supervisors give approval, bishops give approval. You and I, we don't give approval. Not for people in our lives who are our equals.

"Let go, and let God."

That's a very vague piece of advice... in what way are we to "let go" and (presumably) allow God to take care of the situation without us doing anything? And how do we square this piece of pop theology with verses such as Jude 1:3, which exhorts us to "contend earnestly for the faith."

I've started documenting some of these common pop theology expressions. I think it's great that there is a national conversation going about what these terms mean and whether they're as helpful as we think they are.

"Let go, and let God."

That's a very vague piece of advice... in what way are we to "let go" and (presumably) allow God to take care of the situation without us doing anything? And how do we square this piece of pop theology with verses such as Jude 1:3, which exhorts us to "contend earnestly for the faith."

I've started documenting some of these common pop theology expressions. I think it's great that there is a national conversation going about what these terms mean and whether they're as helpful as we think they are.

Clint, I don't mean approval as in an authoritative since. Anything that family or friends have done that you consider distasteful, but you still care for them nonetheless? Like I said before, I find nothing wrong with #4 at all.

"Let go and let God" is very contextual.

If the person you're speaking to is a 12 Stepper (as I am), it's a great reminder to work one's program.

If not, THEN it's (possibly) vague and trite.

JC Fisher

PS: The same goes for most 12 step slogans.

"I'm speaking the truth in love."

Warning: the next sound you hear will be neither truthful nor loving.

Or it might be truthful and loving. Lying to someone to validate their actions isn't loving.

Yes, of course. But the truth needs to be told simply and honestly, not prefaced with a self justification.

Sometimes it is needed as so the receipant isn't getting the wrong idea.

Elimination of he word "just" from extemporaneous prayer. More of an evangelical thing, but still plenty of episcopalians...

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