Before you read this, you should know a few things. I am a Christian. I love Jesus. I’m going into ministry. One thing you should also know, is that I am passionate about talking to nonbelievers, and being friends with them. It keeps you grounded, helps you share your faith in non-invasive ways, and helps ground you in reality and what is going on in this world, better than putting yourself in a bubble surrounded by Christians all of the time.
With this in mind, we say things that sound REALLY freaking weird when talking to nonbelievers (and even other Christians), or things that I thought sounded totally ridiculous before I became a Christian (and still think they sound kind of silly). Some of these words or phrases sound kind of insane when you think about it. This list is meant to point out just how weird some of these sound, and being able to laugh at our own culture. If you’re easily offended, no I mean no offense by this, but I like to laugh and see how ridiculous I can be at times (I’ve used all but one of these at some point in my Christian faith). Enjoy.
- “I’m just so blessed” = “My life is going really well right now.”
- Most of the time when I hear the word “blessed”, I immediately think the person doesn’t really understand what that word means. A blessing can be monetary, but blessings are normally spiritual, with the ultimate blessing God can give us being eternal life through the death and resurrection of Christ. In saying you’ve “been blessed”, you might be giving someone a really bad theology of what blessing means. People who are at risk of being killed for their faith or are imprisoned are equally blessed, but American culture and the prosperity “gospel” has made us think that blessings are happening only when life is going great. So remember, blessings are always around us, even when life is horrible.
- “It touched my heart” = “It really made me emotional so I had to do something.”
- When I hear the phrase “touched my heart”, I think of the scene in Indiana Jones where the cult leader rips out someones heart and eats it…but maybe that’s just me. Either way, I’m sure that anyone who’s not a Christian understands what you’re saying, but the things I envision when hearing this just creeps me out. If something touched your heart, you could die. If something makes you emotional and propels you to do something, that’s great! Don’t be dead, be doing things.
- “Doing life with them” = “Having great times with my church friends”
- The phrase “doing life” has never made sense to me. How do you “do life”? Who else is “doing life”? What does “doing life” mean? When I ask these questions, most Christians stumble over their words and tell me what having a good friendship means. Before I was a Christian, “doing life” sounded like people were in a cult, living together on a farm, and living off the land. If you say “just having great times with my church friends” when people ask “what’ve you bee up to?” It leads a lot less to the imagination, and more conversations can come from it.
- “I just want to be transparent” = “I want to be more honest”
- Transparent normally means see-through. While being honest people can see to the core of you and sins that you haven’t been dealing with, you don’t want to be a ghost. Imagine getting your picture taken! Imagine trying to be noticed at parties! Never again! (Although if you’re extremely introverted I guess you might like the thought of being transparent and unnoticed in large public settings…but either way…it wouldn’t be great.)
- “Unspoken prayer request” = “I have a prayer request, but I’m just uncomfortable sharing it with everyone here.” (Better yet, tell your closer friends later and don’t say anything.)
- As I’ve said, some of these I have said before. And I’ll tell you—I’ve been guilty of this one. When I have done this, it’s normally for attention. This is every Christian’s “please talk to me after prayer” play. If it’s not this, it normally means that you’re not close enough with everyone there during prayer time to share a deep dark secret or something private going on. If you’re struggling, you should definitely talk to someone! But seek out someone you trust and want prayer from instead of leaving a cryptic message to all in a group, and also asking them to be nosey later and ask you “are you ok?”
- “Echo that prayer” = “I have no idea what else to say, so…amen.”
- Let’s admit it, y’all—nobody likes to look unspiritual or lesser than in the Christian faith. It’s a prideful thing that sucks and we’re all guilty of at some point or another. That’s why it’s the WORST when we’re praying in small groups, have a prayer in mind, and then suddenly—somebody says what you were going to pray. CRAP. So instead of squeezing the hand of the person next to us or saying, “amen!” We decide to “echo” that prayer, followed by a rehashing of the prayer just said in different words. But guess what? It’s ok! God knows your heart! You don’t need to blather just to look good! It’s ok if you feel the need to pray again, but bad if you’re doing it to look good while saying the same thing. So before you “echo” a prayer, CHECK YO’SELF.
- “It was such a God thing” = “Yeah, something awful should’ve happened to me and it didn’t! Crazy, right?!?”
- In Christian culture, when something is a “God thing”, that normally tends to be avoiding something bad that happens. I remember running late for work once, and there was a car wreck right where I normally turned. In my mind, I thought, “wow. What a God thing that I was running late.” Hold up…so the people in a wreck don’t know God? Doesn’t God still love and care for them, even if they don't know Him? That’s when I realized that I was wrong. “God things” are daily…every breath is a “God thing”. (This kind of goes back to the blessed point, so I’ll stop here.)
- “I think they’re back-sliding” = “Yeah they’ve been not making great choices lately”
- Normally when we use the phrase “back-sliding” we’re talking about someone getting caught up in sins they used to struggle with. Why do we make it sound so fun then? When I hear the phrase “back-sliding”, I picture a slip and slide or something, with 90s hip-hop bumping (I’m thinking “Summertime” by The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff) and people laughing. In reality, “back-sliding” is super sad and something that all Christians attempt to overcome daily. (As sin continues to get at us and tempt us EVERY DAY. That’s part of the reason why being a Christian is difficult.) I think a better way of saying this would be that “(insert name of Christian struggling) has not been making great choices lately. Going back to the sins they used to struggle with.” This makes it sound a whole heck of a lot less fun and more real and tangible. If anyone makes a slip-and-slide-type game with the name “Back-Sliding” now, I fully expect a cut of the profits.
- “I’m just really enjoying the gift of singleness” = “Yeah, I’m single, but it’s not so bad” OR “I really want somebody.”
- Like I’ said earlier on this list, God is always blessing us. Normally when I’ve heard a single person say this, they’ve really meant that being single has it’s perks or they REALLY want somebody to date. Why don’t we say that? Isn’t everybody single when they’re born? I think it’s better to be honest and tell what you mean that try to make it sound spiritual. Don’t get me wrong, you can put God in the conversation, but it doesn’t need the spiritual precedent we put on being single. I’m all about honesty in Christian community.
- “Traveling mercies” = “I hope you get there safely!”
- I get it, you’re hoping that God gives the travelers mercy and allows the people to arrive to their destination safely and without difficulty. What if they don’t though? Is that God’s fault? I would argue that it is not, and that God is still in control, regardless if a person gets there safely or not. Plus, “Traveling Mercies” sounds like a really good emo or folk band name. (You can have that one for free if you’re looking for a sick band name.) In reality, we hope the person gets there safely, but, we never know the outcome of the future, no matter how much we hope for things to play out a certain way.
After reading these, I hope that you can realize that we as Christians can be silly sometimes, and I also hope that you think that I’m not a huge jerk. I love the church, and I love Christians, even when they say things that sound kind of goofy to me...but maybe recalibrate your vernacular...*insert cheesy smile here*