I was talking about the Colson article with my mom on the phone and it set me on a mental tangent.
I’ve been going to church since I was in utero. I went to a Christian school and did part of my college studies at a prominent Christian university. I’ve been in nearly every sort of service you can imagine–I think the only kind of North American Christian worship I haven’t participated in is snake handling. Believe me, I’m content to let that one slide.
There are many phrases which are so often used by folks in the church that they’ve become idiomatic or on par with verbal tics.
I’ll start with the phrase Colson used which drives me batty.
Scripture tells us
Really? Which scripture and where? We are not illiterate peasants at the mercy of monks. We don’t need a “trust me, it’s in the Bible” type of answer. If you are trying to convince us of your position then give us access to the source documents for your position. Otherwise you sound both lofty (“I can read the Bible better than you”) and unconcerned with your audience’s ability to form their own opinion. The greatest thing about the Bible is that God meant it for all to be able to read. Many of the earliest scriptures were written in the language of the lay people.
Turn in your Bibles…
This always cracks me up. They mean to say “Open your bible to Matthew 6″ or whatever scripture we’re all reading. But they say “turn in your Bibles to Matthew 6.” Without that last prepositional phrase it sounds like we’re all supposed to put our Bibles in the collection plate.
Every head bowed and every eye closed
Always a favourite with youth ministers, revival preachers and anyone else who wants to gauge the effectiveness of their message by polling for conviction. The true purpose of praying with head bowed is to show obesience and humility to God. The true purpose of praying with eyes closed is to allow for a more meditative conversation with God by blocking out distractions. But whenever a speaker insists on everyone in the room bowing their heads and closing their eyes you know sure as you’re born that a show of hands is soon to follow. Was their preaching a mighty wind that blew open the fettered hearts of the crowd? They must know by asking anyone who wants prayer/to rededicate their life to raise their hands. Since churchgoers know each other it’s best if we aren’t looking. God knows WE shouldn’t be aware of who needs prayer among us.