I saw a headline the other day declaring a certain person a “game-changer” in the presidential campaign. This expression, introduced a few years ago, is now ubiquitous.
This book is a “game-changer.” That wide receiver is a “game-changer.” Our deal on two medium pizzas is a “game-changer.”
Popular public discourse is so completely dull, unintelligent, and uncreative in its use of language to capture reality, grasp its subtleties, and bring it alive in ways that invite reflection.
I’m not a grumbling elitist. High culture is lost on me. My constellation of cultural engagement consists of movies, rock music, and sports radio.
But I do love language for its capacity to open up the hidden contours of human experience. I’m saddened that good words go unused, sparkling expressions underemployed.
Lazy language always bothers me.
Uninspired speech by Christians is especially unfortunate. We inhabit a limitless reality of life-giving sustenance, an infinite world of divine power.
We forget this when we fail to speak creatively. We subconsciously lose heart through the repetition of well-worn clichés.
Something deep within us is always asking, “is that all there is?”
Expressions that grab hold of God’s always-newly-arriving mercies refresh our souls and catalyze our faith.
During a prayer service a few years ago, my friend John Mortensen set down the rule that as we prayed for one another, we could only pray one-sentence prayers.
We were all struck by having to think about what we were going to say to God. It forced us to employ unfamiliar words.
No one strung together rambling requests that God “just be with them” and “just give the doctors wisdom.”
Rather than rehearse the lazy liturgy of thoughtless language, we considered carefully how we might speak to God on behalf of one another.
It was the most meaningful prayer service I can remember.
If you want press into the profundities of the faith, rid your speech of clichés. Consider new ways to express your petitions to God and your communication with others.
Thinking carefully about how you pray and speak will make your praying and speaking more . . . thoughtful.