Cliche Christianity

Erik Cooper —  June 30, 2010 — 6 Comments

Cliches.

Where God guides God provides.

When God closes a door He opens a window.

God is in control.

God said it. I believe it. That settles it.

I bet you immediately thought of a few you could add to the list.  Cliches are fun.  Quippy.  They roll off the tongue.  And most importantly, they’re a “get out of jail free” card you can throw on the table when someone is sharing a complex, painful, or unexplainable story you just don’t know what to do with.

(They’ve also bred a giant, money-making, Christian knick-knack and greeting card industry I mean really, where would our mantles and bookshelves be without cliches?).

Cliches are very tempting.  In the last month I’ve sat across the table from people dealing with all of the following crap (in no particular order):

  • A spouse that had an affair and walked out on the marriage
  • A  7 month job search filled with hundreds of applications, a few interviews, zero offers (and a shattered sense of self-worth).
  • A 6 year old daughter killed in a freak recreational accident
  • A passionate musician that has slowly lost almost all of his hearing
  • An 11 year old girl who’s best friend just moved 500 miles away (ok, this one’s personal)

Seriously, what am I supposed to do with this stuff?

As I engage these conversations, there is a natural sense of panic. What to say?  How to fix?  Does my understanding of God give a good explanation for these kinds of circumstances?

Somewhere in all the discomfort, these trite little sayings begin filling my mind. 

Cliche Christianity.

And in our over-comforted, consumerist, sitcom-solution society, I fear we’ve begun to believe a lie about God.

Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias loves to quote this powerful truth:

“Jesus did not come into this world to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.”

In much the same way, I also don’t believe He came to make bad circumstances easy to explain.

Jesus never promised this life would be easy, He just promised to always be with us.  To never leave us.  To be our peace.  To help us live,  fully alive. In all the joy, sorrow, pleasure, and pain.  We need to embrace that truth with one another.

No cliche there.

“In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16:33 MSG)

6 responses to Cliche Christianity

  1. Thanks from a fellow follower who is learning to “take heart”.

  2. Great perspective Erik. I stumbled across Rom. 5:3 this week actually and it’s been very motivating in the same way:
    “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.”
    I feel I’ve only recently started fully ‘living’, and it truly diminishes the pain and frustration. Those hardships don’t go away, but they’re much more manageable.

  3. Erik, your posts and insights always amaze me. I know you hear a lot of this from the Lord but I think it does not hurt that your Mother is also an amazing writer. You both are awesome.

  4. Loved the Ravi Zacharias quote. Here’s one from Colson. “God not only comes to comfort the afflicted; He comes to afflict the comfortable.”

    Andy is on to something. “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:2b-5

    Where is God when these trials hit? He’s right there with us.

  5. “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”

    I know you were quoting famous Cliche’s, but it really should be…

    “God said it. That settles it.” Cause it doesn’t matter if I believe it or not, cause it’s still the Truth no matter what or who believes.

    Sorry. Pet peeve of mine.

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