Every Sunday I get at least two or three tweets that go something like this:
What an amazing day at [your church name]
I enjoy reading these types of tweets. Mainly because it is good to see that you are going to church and you are having an amazing day. But after a while that word, amazing, seems to lose its luster.
Not only is the twitter world obsessed with the word amazing, my mom seems to let her own version of amazing slip from her mouth. I usually ask my mom every Sunday, how was church, how was the sermon? Her response every time, Good. Every Sunday, same question, same response. What can I really expect to hear from her, “it was terrible,” or maybe “it was decent?” These would kind of be a weird response to something that is suppose to be, well good or amazing.
Have you ever thought about how the word “church” carries this idea of greatness? I myself feel this when I think of Moses and the burning bush. Remove your sandals because you are standing on holy ground. Understand that I do not see the church as a building. But when we think of church, we think amazing, awe inspiring, great community. We have certain select words that go to describe our experience. This cannot help but be seen in a twitter stream on Sunday morning or a Sunday afternoon lunch. The service was great, amazing, or if you are my mom, good. I wonder after a while if these words lose their meaning?
A year ago I was a Jr High Guys Bible teacher. One of the assignments that I had my students do each week was Music Monday. Music Monday consisted of one student bring in some music for the class to listen to and then discuss. We would break down the lyrics, why they liked the song, and the meaning or worldview of the song. As you can imagine, rap was a typical choice. The typical response from any teenager as to why they like rap mainly consist on because of the beat or the way it sounds, never the lyrical content. Funny thing is you never hear a teenager walking around making noises with his mouth to mimic his or her favorite rap song beat. No, instead they usually will be singing a few lines of a song that would make anyone within five feet blush. Often times this typical response would warrant a follow up question that usually asked them to get past the way it sounded and more into what the song is saying. I think we, the body of Christ have to get past words and more into what they mean.
When everything is described as amazing it tends to take away from those things being….amazing. Maybe we have a limited vocabulary to describe the way we feel or express our thoughts. But it seems that the problem of language continues to create separation between individuals. Often times I am turned off when I hear something as described as amazing or unbelievable. Maybe I have lost my innocence of a child on Christmas eve, but it seems that I fall into the Nihilistic approach of life and just do not tend to find things to ever deliver on the way they are described. In a country that lives in autonomy and focuses on the experience the word amazing means something completely different for you and me. Sure you can go to wikipedia right now and get the definition, but there is no way that you can define an emotion. This seems to be the reason for the disconnect. The fact that we start to define things for people instead of let them experience it themselves.
Maybe instead of trying to describe your next event as amazing you just ask people to come and partake.