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Joined: 2003/12/30
Posts: 297
Connecticut, USA

 Am I A Walking Cliche'?


#1. A Study in Contrasts:

Alan Morrison

When does a phrase become a catchphrase? When does a catchphrase become a cliché? What does it demonstrate if clichés take over our lives?

The other day I received a letter which -- on the surface -- appeared to be very "godly". It was peppered with Bible quotes and was simply oozing with "spiritual" language. However, when I really considered the letter objectively, I realised that it was made up entirely of religious clichés from the first word to the last!

”… Clichés can often be used to cover up a lack of content. That was the overall impression I received on reading the letter I mentioned above. I realised that behind all the clichés, the letter actually said NOTHING! The writer, in fact, had nothing to say; but, because he felt he HAD to say something he used clichés. It would have been better if he had not written at all. And I suspect that his use of Bible quotes was far more "King Jamesical" rather than biblical! By that I mean that we can often quote Scripture out of a romantic habit rather than in a genuine contextual cause.

(Here’s the letter.)

Dear Brother,

Greetings, in the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I was utterly cast down to hear that your father has gone to be with the Lord. No doubt you also feel as if you have been put in the miry clay. But, as the Apostle said, he was "well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor.5:8). Furthermore, in the midst of our sufferings we can all rejoice in the fact that God works all things together for good. He is sovereign and His word cannot return to Him void. After all, we do not "sorrow as others who have no hope" (1 Thess.4:13). Therefore, console yourself with the fact that your father was a man who was greatly used of God and who has now received his reward.

May the Lord bless you richly in all your labours.

Yours, etc.

Now, admittedly, this letter is something of a caricature; but it amply demonstrates how a letter consisting primarily of clichés is without genuine feeling and empathy. The very last thing a suffering soul requires is clichés. He or she needs real comfort, tailor-made to fit the unique circumstances. rather than being given a bunch of worn-out, off-the-peg pietisms which can be applied universally. I recognise that sometimes, even when they are genuinely concerned, folk can resort to clichés because they feel unable to express themselves adequately. But what happens then is that the wrong impression is conveyed and we have lost an opportunity for a real meeting of hearts. If we are vigilant, this is a pitfall which can be avoided.
Alan Morrison - Am I A Walking Cliché? The Ossifying of the Christian Mind through Habitual Phraseology


Watchman Nee

God’s children must realize that in God’s eyes, every spiritual thing and matter has its reality. If we merely touch the outward appearance without touching the reality, what we touch has no spiritual value. What is the reality of a spiritual thing? The reality of a spiritual thing is spiritual; it is not physical. Although spiritual realities must be expressed in words, words alone are often not the reality. Although spiritual reality is expressed in our daily lives, legalistic formalities are not realities. Although spiritual reality is manifested through our behavior, human performance is not reality

What then is spiritual reality? The Lord said that “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness” (John 4:24). The word “truthfulness” can be translated as “reality.” The Lord also said, “But when He, the Spirit of reality, comes, He will guide you into all the reality” (16:13). First John 5:6 says, “The Spirit is He who testifies, because the Spirit is the reality.” This shows us that God is Spirit, and everything related to God has to be in spirit. The Spirit of truth is the Spirit of reality. Hence, spiritual reality must be in the Holy Spirit. Spiritual reality is something that transcends people and things. Only that which is in the Holy Spirit is spiritual reality. All spiritual things are sustained in the Holy Spirit. Once a spiritual thing moves away from the Holy Spirit, it becomes letter and form, and it is dead. All spiritual things must be in the Holy Spirit before they can be real, living, and organic. The Holy Spirit leads us into all reality. Hence, any experience that we can acquire without the guidance of the Holy Spirit is surely not spiritual reality. Anything that we acquire through our ears, our mind, or our emotion alone is not spiritual reality. Only the things that the Holy Spirit guides us into are spiritual reality. We have to remember that the Holy Spirit is the Executor of all spiritual things. Whatever God is doing today is executed by the Holy Spirit. Only that which the Holy Spirit does is real, and only that is reality.
Everything that is in the Holy Spirit is reality. When man touches reality, he touches life. Life and reality are joined together. If a man wants to take care of the spiritual life, he has to take care of spiritual reality. If a man touches spiritual reality in the Holy Spirit, he will immediately respond when others touch spiritual reality; he will immediately say amen. When others who have touched spiritual reality touch him, they will also have an inward response and an amen.
Watchman Nee – “The Holy Spirit and Reality” Living Stream Ministry

Roger P.

 2004/1/10 22:53Profile

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