Because life is a series of edits

“Just” Words?

In Church, Thought on October 22, 2008 at 7:22 am

We’ve had quite a discussion on the topic of, well, discussion, specifically that of teenagers and their misuse of “like,” “kinda,” “sorta,” etc. To clarify, the point I feel needs reiterating is that we are not trying to nit-pick kids’ language to death at the expense of being able to speak into their lives; rather, we are trying to care about who they are (and are becoming) as a whole person, which requires caring about their language as well.

When does giving grace enable bad behavior? Answer: when truth is removed from the equation. The truth is that our students (and our culture) do not value – nor are held accountable for – properly expressing themselves anymore. No one’s trying to be mean in addressing the issue here, but we are trying to be intentional. Believe it or not, the kids don’t seem to resent it; if anything, I’ve had a few thank me for challenging them on it (probably – and unfortunately – because they don’t get it from other sources).

Now for another can of worms: a perceptive reader (who asked to remain anonymous) sent me an email with this thought:

“Perhaps the overuse (assuming there is some legitimate use) of ‘just’ in public prayer is a religion-based subcategory of this lamentable feature of our vernacular.”

Anybody want to weigh in? Is there something to be addressed here, or do we in the Church “just” leave it alone?

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  1. The snarks over at The Holy Observer (kind of like a Christian version of The Onion) have already weighed in here: http://www.holyobserver.com/detail.php?isu=v01i10&art=just
    That article is hilarious. Or whatever.

  2. I have a couple friends who are “Lord-sayers.” During prayer they repeatedly invoke the divine name between each clause. Occasionally they will rotate between saying “Lord,” “Jesus” and “Holy Spirit” so as to give variety to the prayer. It is intolerable to listen to. It is a prayer infraction commonly found alongside overuse of the word “just.”

  3. In light of the fact that this is a discussion about using words correctly, I feel compelled to point out that the expression is “nit-pick,” not “nick-pick.” ;)

  4. A typo, Bethany. Thanks for the correction.

  5. Really Jeff. These are prayers. Should we really go here? I know so many people just intimidated to pray at all….I certainly don’t think this is a place for judgement.

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