Top 5 Church Catch Phrases

Mike Harper
89.5 KVNE Mornings

I really wanted the title to be “Top 5 Church Catch Phrases that Sounds Funny When Taken Literally,” but apparently that was too long!

It’s not easy being a literal guy. It can drive friends and loved ones crazy, especially in the church world. Taking things literally can be exhausting, yet hilarious.

I’m not talking about literally “gouging out” a sinful eye and I’m not necessarily concerned if Noah actually lived to be 950.

I’m talking about the common phrases and cliches you hear in church. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these familiar buzzwords, but you can almost predict their inevitable arrival to the proceedings.

5. “Turn around and greet your neighbor.”

All the way around? That would be funny. Half way? If everybody turns to the person behind them, everybody is looking at the back of somebody’s head. (Except the people in the back row. They’re looking at the wall. Bless their hearts.) The only acceptable way to present “turn yourself around” is if it’s preceded by “do the hokey pokey.”

4. “Lift Him up in this place!”

I couldn’t do any better than the talented worship leaders of today, and I know it must be tough to get some of us “Bless-me-if-you-can” stone faces to enter into worship. But there’s something about putting the phrase “in this place” after an admonition to sing that seems unnecessary. We don’t use it for anything else. “How are you … in this place?” “Open your Bibles …in this place.” “Don’t forget our Wednesday night service…in this place.” Probably won’t happen.

3. “Do you believe it today?”

This is very much in the “in this place” category. Yes, I believe it today. I’ll likely believe it in the future. The word “today” could easily be edited out of this question and none of its impact would be lost. I don’t know. Perhaps the worship leader is just checking in to make sure my beliefs are current. Therefore, I should expect to get a daily call for the rest of the week. “Do you believe it today?” Yes. The next day: “Do you believe it today?” Yes. And so on.

2. “Can somebody say amen?”

I think it’s clear we can all say amen, unless there are babies in church. That’s a separate issue. We have a nursery specifically for the babies where this question will not be asked. I used to think the preacher really wanted us to answer yes or no. My Lovely Wife and Life Partner Lois assures me all he wants me to say is “amen.” Fine. By the way. The peculiar phrase “Can somebody say amen” is closely followed by the rubber stamp at the end of the prayer… “And everybody said… AMEN!”

1. “If you’re here this morning…”

This is my favorite. Near the end of the message, just before the invitation to accept Christ, comes this unusual prefix. It is typically used as follows: “If you’re here this morning, and this message has spoken to your heart…” It’s another superfluous expression that simply oozes in the obvious. When the preacher says, “If you’re here this morning,” my involuntary reflex is to look at the people around me just to make sure “we’re all here this morning.”

Submitted with apologies to every church I’ve ever attended.

Literally.

Love, Mike

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