Have you ever really listen to the way Christians talk?
I’ve recently started to pay more attention to the buzz words/ phases I use and it’s pretty ugly. I’ve been in church almost my whole life and have picked up every Christian buzz word/phrase ever created. I caught myself saying “awaken” the other day. What is this? I don’t talk like that. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, I used the word, “awaken” in normally speech. “Kids! Awaken. It’s time for school!” Somehow this felt natural in prayer though.
Here are some of the other ways we buzz God:
Buzz in Prayer
We are the worst buzz offenders when it comes to prayer.
What is prayer? It’s a conversation.
Where is God? Right next to us ( even inside us if you want to get picky ).
Shouldn’t prayer be as natural as a conversation with a close friend at a coffee shop?
I want to give you an example of how ridiculous our prayers sound to God.
Let’s say you and me are sitting in my living watching Sponge Bob Square Pants. For sake of this example, you’re named, “Tom.” Let’s pray-ify our conversation and see how we feel afterwards.
Dear Friend Tom. Thank you for being such a good human and for always hanging out with me – I am not worthy of your companionship. Friend, I converse that you awaken within me a desire to know you better even as we partake today in the fellowship of the sponge. If it be your will, please provide me with a barley pop on your way back from the kitchen. I converse you bless our time together; Fill me with your presence. In Tom’s name, let it be so.
Ludicrous, no? Sounds like a drunk guy talking to a clown. Why do we talk to God like this – the all powerful, all knowing, infinite intelligent God – no wonder so many prayers go unanswered. I feel bad for Him actually. If one of my kids came up to me and started talking like this, I’d try to cast a demon out and send him to his room.
Have you ever wondered why most people start and end prayer with “Jesus”… “Dear Lord Jesus / In Jesus name, Amen”? Probably not – Isn’t that the way you’re suppose to pray?
I did a little research and came the the conclusion that most Christians are idiots. Jesus said in John 14:14, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” This was of course after Jesus said in John 10:30, “… I and the Father are one.” So what is it? Are we trying to play a word trick? Do we think that if we literally pray “in Jesus name (which is improper grammar anyway… just realized this. It should be ‘In Jesus‘ name’ but it doesn’t sound good using the possessive noun. Thine buzz shall sound goodith to the ear.)” somehow God’s going to give us more credit? Just think about that. The point in all this is if I want to talk to Tom, I say, “Hey Tom…” unless he’s the only one in the room in which case I just speak. Simple. Easy. Real.
Here’s a question to ponder… Can you, right now, say a 5 minute pray that isn’t littered with buzz? I bet you can’t.
Buzz in Praise/Worship
This is another area that is completely filled will buzz garbage. Just go to any modern church service and read the words on the screen during worship and you’ll see what I mean. I personally don’t see how people can connect to God this way. If you do, good for you! I’m not saying that people can’t. However might it be a feeling of connecting with God rather then actually connecting. I simply can’t see how God sits back and says, “Wow. Did you see how Tim sang that song. I feel worshiped. I feel we connected.” Maybe I’m missing something… passion? Anyway, that’s worship – how about praise? Do your praises often contain the word praise?
Here’s another question… Can you think of a single praise and worship song that doesn’t use any buzz words? I bet you can’t. Hymns maybe.
Buzz in Preaching/Theology
The messages that really hit home are the ones with the least amount of buzz. Those are the hard ones to prepare though. It takes time and creativity to get to the heart of the issue and/or find fresh new perspectives on topics. It’s much easier to embrace the mental buzz of the way we’ve interpreted passages over the years. You see buzz isn’t just words. Buzz can be anything we do/say/think that shortcuts sincerity in lieu of laziness or familiarity.
Want another question to ponder… Great! Are you, right now, able to give your testimony without using any buzz? I’d be a rich man if I bet against you each of these times!
So What’s the Big Deal?
- Buzz zap our prayers/messages/lives of power
Buzz provides a frame work for us to deliver our messages to God in nice little packages – like we’re loading a torpedo bay. This causes our prayers to become sterile. Many times, our feeling of “connecting” with God ins’t a result of establishing a truly personal conversation with Him, its a result of how well we ran our Prayer System – how well we can deploy our prayer torpedoes.
- Buzz words lead to buzz knowledge which lead to buzz experiences which ultimately lead to a buzz God.
Buzz dilutes everything. It makes genuine encounters with God, artificial rendezvous with an unknowable deity. It puts God in a bottle… a bottle 200,000 miles above our heads.
- Buzz is contagious
Have you ever listened to a child pray? If not, grab one and make it pray for you. They don’t know the buzz. They simply know that they are talking to God. Their prayers are genuine, heart felt and even a bit silly. New Christians are like this as well until they learn the system. It normally goes down hill from there as Christian buzz penetrates and infects every area of their lives until they end up going through the motions like a good little Christian.
- Buzz words are a barrier to people to come to God.
One of the biggest reason people don’t like Christians is because of our buzz. Buzz words seem fake to people and who wants to be part of something that is fake? People shouldn’t have to learn our lingo to come to Jesus.
So now what?
My challenge to you is this: “Operation Buzz Kill.”
When I was a teenager, my Uncle Bob challenged me with something that I’ve never forgotten: “Put a chair in front of you, ask God to take a seat, and talk with him face to face.” Try this. It’s crazy. Everything becomes so much more real and personal. Using this method, it’s pretty easy to find the buzz. If you wouldn’t say the phrase/words to your buddy, Tom, while watching animated, somewhat stupid sea creatures, then it’s probably buzz. Record the buzz in a notebook and rewrite it so it’s personal and real. Next time you find yourself about to buzz, remember what you wrote and use that instead.
I’m just beginning this process myself and it’s hard. The results have been very encouraging though. I feel like I’m communicating with God on a more personal level then ever before.
God wants a pure, authentic relationship with us. He deserves more then our lazy, pathetic buzz… doesn’t he?