Author and speaker Christian Piatt believes Christian clichés can do more harm than good and if stricken from their vocabulary, can make believers more tolerable.
"We Christians have a remarkable talent for sticking our feet in our mouths," states Piatt in the first of a recently concluded blog series on the "overused (and often insensitively employed) phrases that plague the Christian lexicon."
The list of words most commonly associated with "Christian" are not a pretty sight, Piatt writes.
"I think part of this can be attributed to a handful of phrases that, if stricken from our vocabulary, might make us a little more tolerable," he explains. "Yes, these things may mean something to you, but trust me, non-Christians don't share your love for these tried-and-true clichés."
Included in his list of 10 phrases "Christians should lose" in no particular order:
- Everything happens for a reason.
- If you died today, do you know where you'd spend the rest of eternity?
- He/she is in a better place.
- Can I share a little bit about my faith with you?
- You should come to church with me on Sunday.
- Have you asked Jesus into your heart?
- Do you accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior?
- This could be the end of days.
- Jesus died for your sins.
- Will all our visitors please stand?
Along with his list, Piatt gave reasons for why these phrases were not helpful toward Christians.
For example, after the phrase, "Have you asked Jesus into your heart?" he writes: "As many times as I've heard this, I still don't really know what it means. Why my heart? Why not my liver or kidneys? This also makes Christianity sound like a purely emotional experience, rather than a lifelong practice that can never entirely be realized. But yeah, asking someone if they're engaged in a lifelong discipline to orient their lives toward Christlike compassion, love and mercy doesn't exactly have the same ring to it."
He states that "This could be the end of days" is one of his favorites. "We Christians love to look for signs of the end of the world; we practically have an apocalyptic fetish. It's like we can't wait until everything comes to a smoldering halt so we can stand tall with that 'I told you so' look on our faces, while the nonbelievers beg for mercy. Yeah, that sounds like an awesome religion you've got going there. Sign me up!"
To conclude his blog post series, Piatt wrote "10 Antidotes to Harmful Christian Clichés."
The antidotes included such things as "listen more talk less, stop trying to fix everything, and pray."
For his explanation for listing "Stop trying to fix everything," he writes: "Being a Christian is not about having all the answers at the ready, despite what some evangelism training will tell you. People may even ask for answers, but what we're all looking for, at a deeper level than our search for those answers, is peace. Sometimes that takes time."
Piatt co-founded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colo., with his wife, the Rev. Amy Piatt, in 2004. He is the creator and editor of Banned Questions About the Bible and Banned Questions About Jesus. His latest book is a memoir on faith, family and parenting called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.