You know how sometimes people talk and talk and talk but they’re really not saying anything?
One of my bible groups is starting a new book, and we watched the intro video tonight. It was very cozy, snuggled up on the couch together, eating vegan peach sherbet
and drooling a little. And then this… video started.
It was just jabber. Just catchphrases like “capacity building” and “soul cleansing” and “living authentically,” all buzzwords that look catchy and inspiring but essentially mean nothing unless they’re surrounded by action and purpose. And trust me, in this video, they were not.
Suffice to say, it kinda ruined the moment. I mean, here I was, spending my Friday night at bible study, cocooned in the love of God and my sisters in Christ, and this video just killed it. Babble that turned the pursuit of right relationship with God into a cheap self-help quick-fix. I was disappointed.
However, as with all bad things, a lesson came from it. I watched that video and thought, “Maggie, don’t ever let yourself talk like that. No fancy words that resonate only because they’re completely hollow. Be real, Maggie.”
I took a technical writing class in college, and my professor talked about the status and power of language. She talked about how high-powered companies use superfluously complex language in their manuals and documents to give an air of importance, when really the souped-up lingo leave their employees befuddled. It’s an attempt to make pretty that which needn’t be pretty, and it winds up being a detriment to the companies since their employees can’t find in common ground in these words that are supposed to bring them together.
Do we lose God this way? Do we try to dress him up in thesaurus gems when really he just wants to be Dad or friend or teacher or, you know, GOD? I think it’s okay to step back from theology texts and fiery sermons and just talk about God with the same frankness that you discuss what you had for lunch. Is it fancy? No. But… is it real? If you strip the superfluous, yes.
So that’s my mini-pledge to myself as I bang out this post at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday (yeah, I party like a rock star): cut the crap. Skip the fancypants lingo. Just talk to and about God with common words that ground the people rather than divide them by how many English classes they’ve taken. Be plain. Be accessible. Be real.