cliché christianity

I’ve talked about clichés before (it’s actually one of my most viewed posts - because I talk about hockey!). But I want to consider the definition of cliché a little more.

Cliché: a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse.

Despite this negative definition, clichés often still play a prominent role in our everyday lives. We use them all the time, whether it's to one another or to ourselves.
  • Kids wearing you out? Have patience...
  • Feeling negative? Focus on the positives in life...
  • Uncertain about the future? Weigh all your options...
  • Tired of ‘boring’ everyday life? Find your passions...
On and on and on we go. Cliché after cliché.

The thing is, all these clichés are still truth. They’ve just become shallow truth - motivational statements to provide a sort-of therapeutic comfort in the face of struggle or uncertainty.

For Christians, there is a common tendency to turn our faith into cliché, especially familiar parts of the Bible. Take John 3:16 for example:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Consider how is this verse often viewed: God loves you - look at Jesus! Now just believe.

Becoming a Christian is simple: believe.

Believe. Believe. Believe. Believe. Believe. Believe. Believe...

Believe and you can be a Christian and “have eternal life.” Having doubts? Just believe!
Oversimplifications aside, I’m worried that Christians don’t always realize the impact or breadth of influence clichés have on our faith. For John 3:16, I wonder:
  • Has John 3:16 become cliché?
  • Is it possible, through the constant repetition of this famous verse and concept, that believing itself has become cliché?
  • Has narrowing Christian identity down to this one verse resulted in a loss of “originality, ingenuity, and impact” for the Christian gospel?
And so, if "yes" is even a potential answer to these questions, I think Christians need to become self-aware for how we approach our most common beliefs lest we lose all meaning for what we profess is so important. I don't think anyone wants cliché Christianity.

Essentially, we’d do well to always have this question in our minds: Has our faith become cliché?


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