Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes


#179 Abusing “awesome”

posted by Stephanie Drury

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“Awesome” is Christian culture’s favorite adjective for God. It is their default descriptor for him.

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It is also their favorite adjective for their particular church, a challenge that their pastor gave, any assorted ministry, last night’s time of fellowship, the upcoming leadership conference, the annual men’s retreat, their new Hebrew tattoo (they’re working on a sleeve), the iPhone 4, and their spouse.

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In contrast, this word is not thrown around by Catholics, Anglicans, or Protestants of the liturgical stripe. It’s one of the cultural divides. If it’s a “blessing” or somehow poignant, then Christian culture deems it awesome.

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misty

posted August 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm


Damn. I use this word WAY too much :(



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Tiggy

posted August 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm


That word should be banned. I hate it more than any other word I know and I love most words. People use it in the UK, people in churches anyway, and it’s not even a British English word. We say ‘awe-inspiring’, not awesome. People use it of God, which is highly inappropriate because they also use it of the most trivial things. The only British English equivalent I can think of is ‘amazing’, which tends to be used by upper middle-class people and is also used in churches, both for God and the biscuits served with your post-church cup of tea.



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Jay

posted August 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm


Tiggy wrote: “People use it of God, which is highly inappropriate because they also use it of the most trivial things.
The church I attended taught it was inappropriate to use the word ‘awesome’ to describe trivial things, meaning anything other than God. So ‘awesome’ was much encouraged, but only in reference to God. Which made sense to me on one hand, but on the other hand seemed like yet another rule to follow to avoid rebukes from others.
At least it spared us examples like the one in this post. :^)



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Still Breathing

posted August 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm


Awesome post Stephy!



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Toranse

posted August 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm


I’ve never had too much of a problem with the overuse of “awesome” but that may be because I’ve always been able to differentiate context. So I can call God “awesome” and call my best friend “awesome” and both have entirely different weight and meaning behind the terms. But then again, I’m a person who uses words in both their current and archaic meanings and always have to explain, “No, no, I meant it *that* way!” a lot of times.



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Toranse

posted August 11, 2010 at 11:07 pm


I’ve never had too much of a problem with the overuse of “awesome” but that may be because I’ve always been able to differentiate context. So I can call God “awesome” and call my best friend “awesome” and both have entirely different weight and meaning behind the terms. But then again, I’m a person who uses words in both their current and archaic meanings and always have to explain, “No, no, I meant it *that* way!” a lot of times.



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TT

posted August 12, 2010 at 1:29 am


I have a friend who said “awesome” ought not be used except to describe God & all things surrounding him. But man did he enjoy abusing it in that context. Seriously? So that roller coaster cannot be awesome? Okay.



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Steve

posted August 12, 2010 at 8:33 am


Valley Girl Speak is still around after almost 30 years, huh?



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kenneth

posted August 12, 2010 at 10:15 am


Since I made the switch from journalism to science, I’ve come to prefer the understated exclamations of the lab-coat crowd. My god is not “awesome” but he does achieve statistical significance.



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Andy

posted August 12, 2010 at 10:29 am


This post is awesome.



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MARTIN S>

posted August 12, 2010 at 11:38 am


THE WORD IS AWE-SOME, MEANING INSPIRING
AN OVERWHELMING SENSE OF MAJESTY AND
WONDER !!



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Meghan

posted August 13, 2010 at 9:09 am


Martin,
For the generation of young adults out there right now, it’s also awesome, as in, how the Ninja Turtles describe pizza.



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Butterhorn

posted August 13, 2010 at 11:24 am


Rich Mullins, arguably one of the better Christian artists we’ve seen, penned the tune “Our God is An Awesome God” which seems to have had it’s hey day. The problem with the worship song is the verses. Ever read those aloud? It is the most imaginative, fantastical, magical, orgasmical description of God that I have ever heard in a worship song!!!
“When He rolled up His sleeves He wasn’t puttin on the ritz…our god is an awesome god
There is thunder in His footsteps and lightning in His FISTS!….our god is an awesome god
And the Lord He wasn’t jokin when He kicked em out of Eden
It wasn’t for no reason that He shed His blood
HIs return is very soon so ya better be believin’ that our god is an awesome god”
YeeeeHaw! I love how Christians romanticize this cowboy type of ‘take no prisoners’ image of the invisible creator. When, in the Old or New Testament, are we ever given an image that He rolls up His sleeves or shoots thunder from His footsteps?!



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Steve

posted August 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm


@ Butterhorn: Yeah, pretty awful (not awesome) words, aren’t they? It’s one of a whole host of “worship songs” and hymns, ancient and modern, that I will no longer sing, only in small part because I lost my singing voice. It’s just too embarrassing to sing.



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James

posted August 13, 2010 at 1:14 pm


I think ‘terrible’ is a much better adjective for God. It doesn’t suffer overuse at all.



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Entomologista

posted August 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm


I’m not sure what kind of control you have over the ads that appear on your blog, but they’re annoying. Every time I come here I get a full page ad about something stupid.



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stephanie drury

posted August 13, 2010 at 10:32 pm


I have zero control over the ads and I guarantee I’m 10 times more annoyed by them than anyone.



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cem

posted August 18, 2010 at 11:58 am


“awesome” was definitely abused by the evangelical church i used to attend…these days, whenever i use “awesome” to describe something, i qualify it a la eddie izzard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rYT0YvQ3hs. usually no one has any idea what i’m talking about. i love this blog, it’s awesome like 50,000 hot dogs =)



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My Dinner With Andre The Giant

posted August 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm


“Awesome” is just a more religious and more juvenile version of the even more abused “amazing”. Just overwrought synonyms of “quite good”. People should excise both words from their vocabularies.



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Andrea

posted August 24, 2010 at 1:19 pm


Blame it on Rich Mullins. I think he’s the originator of the trend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJL_bChiTI0



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Christina

posted December 2, 2010 at 5:00 am


Although I know I’m reading this months after anyone will see it…I only use “awesome” ironically like “I just got to the bus stop to watch the bus drive by, now I get to wait another half hour. AWESOME!!!” People actually ask me things like “Why is that awesome?”
*eye roll*
Anyone who thinks I meant it doesn’t even deserve being clued in



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