Me: We are having a potluck this Saturday. Would you like to come?
Unnamed holy woman: Marty, you shouldn’t call it a “potluck.” Christians don’t believe in luck. You need to call it a “potfaith” believing that God will give us the food we need to have for our meal.
Well…I have been rebuked. Apparently I didn’t have enough faith to believe that God would supply our needs at our dinner. I should say “20 hail Marys” to atone for my sin… except I’m not Catholic. How about 20 lashes with a wet noodle? I’d better pray somebody brings noodles to the potluck/potfaith thing we are having.
For some reason some Christians feel a need to make even the simplest of things “holy.” The word “potluck” for example, is merely a word that means everyone needs to bring a dish to contribute to a meal. But some Christians, like the one in the very real conversation above, believe that we should never use a word that in any way or at any time might have had a pagan influence. In fact, the word “potluck” has become so offensive in Christian circles that a wide variety of substitutions have evolved for the word. In addition to “potfaith” there is also, “pot blessing,” “pot providence,” “pot trust,” or a change altogether to “love feast.”
Other words have fallen prey to this holyizing too. That pesky devil has been banned from “deviled” eggs and now we must call them “angel eggs,” or at the very least, “doubled eggs.” And what about the term “coincidence?” Because nothing happens outside of God’s providence, we are now required to call unusually connected events, “Godincidences.
Or how about our innocent little birthday song? Did you know that singing, “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Felipe, happy birthday to you” isn’t godly? Apparently so, because it has been holyized too! Here are a few holier versions:
Happy birthday to you, remember Jesus loves you, He made you so special, happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you, to Jesus be true, may God’s richest blessings, be always with you
And my personal favorite…
Happy birthday to you, just one will not do, being born of the spirit, is God’s gift to you
Kind of makes you feel like inviting Barney the dinosaur over, doesn’t it?
But wait, holyizing doesn’t just apply to our word choices. Praying for our food needs altering as well. Most Christians thank the Lord for their food at meal times, but with the advent of such gluttony as Starbuck runs and Yogurt jaunts, the blessing of food has expanded. Perish the thought that we should pop a breath mint before saying…
Dear Lord, thank you for these breath mints. I pray that you will bless them to the nourishment of my body and use them to keep me from offending a brother in the Lord with my halitosis. In Jesus name, amen!
I think we all need to remember that spirituality is not measured by making everything we say sound holy. We do not become better representatives of Christ by changing our words into some form of Christianese. Andrew Murray once said, “the holiest will ever be the humblest.’ And Charles Spurgeon said, “love for God is holiness.” So rather than quibble over simple, meaningless words, or focusing on outward forms of holiness, a better usage of our time and efforts would be focusing on what is inside of us. If something needs holyizing, perhaps the starting place should be our own hearts.