Thursday, April 03, 2008

Goofy religious lingo

There are some common expressions in church-speak that just don't make sense to me. Perhaps you know of more to add to the list.

"Make Eucharist"
Oddly enough, this one actually occurs in the Prayer Book (p 401), but that doesn't mean it makes any sense. The word eucharist is the Greek word meaning "thanksgiving" which is used as a title for either the liturgy of the Mass or for the Communion elements themselves. Wouldn't it make more sense to say "give thanks" rather than "make Eucharist"? After all, I've never heard anyone say "make Christmas" or "make worship." "Make Eucharist" could also give the impression that creating the Real Presence is something that we do rather than something that God does.

"Do theology"
This one is so common, but none the less weird. It should be "study theology" or "make a theological argument" or even "theologize." This conjugation doesn't sound right for any other academic discipline; why would it make sense only for the study of God? Have you ever heard anyone say that they were going to "do geology," "do psychology," or "do medicine"?

Have you EVER noticed (!) how much shouting seems to go on in church bulletins and newsletters!! I suppose it comes out of a frustration from a perceived lack of interest or volunteers (!!!) and is thus an ATTEMPT TO GET NOTICED!!!!!!!! That is combined with a lack of common grammar skills. Our English departments have let us all down on that one. There is very little grammar in grammar school. I was surprised that I never had a grammar class until my last semester in college. You have no idea how useful that could have been for all those previous years of paper writing!!!

Not many people understand exclamation points. In case you were wondering how to properly use that punctuation, here goes. It should be used sparingly in quotes to indicate that the speaker is shouting or otherwise highly excited (e.g., "Look out!"). The other case is when it is used at the end of a sentence with an exclamatory sentence structure, beginning with "What" or "How" and ending with a verb (e.g., "What big eyes you have!" or "How very right you are!").


Courageous Grace said...


As I'm sure you know. I am constantly having to not only edit out excessive exclamation marks, but whole sentences written in all caps when I receive articles....

Bad grammar is one of my pet peeves, especially in published works (unless, of course, it's Git 'R Done)


Fr Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. said...

There is a great propensity to "dumb down" everything these days including the use of proper verbs that clearly express particular actions. No longer does one "eat lunch," one "does lunch." One "does coffee" or "does the groceries." I suppose there are those who claim that this is a simplification of language that happens over time. Rather, it's just good old laziness. It leads to a breakdown in communication, a skill so lacking among people today. I will never "do" theology. I may study theology. I may theologize. But "do" theology? No!!!!!!!