Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Love On"

Should I cause my Christian brother to stumble? Should we pick up phrases that have worldly double meanings and emphasize these phrases as part of our Christian vocabulary? Should we guard our speech?

I ask because the Christian colloquialism “love on” is driving me nuts. Maybe because it's poor grammar. We do not need to "Love on 'em" we can simply "Love them" or "Show them our love." Even Shakespeare, a man willing to arbitrarily invent words, never had the gall to conjugate a phrase like "they loved on us."

It is the current trendy catch phrase and I hear about people getting “loved on” everywhere. A few months ago everyone was saying "I covet your prayers" as though the Ten Commandments never mentioned thou shalt Not covet. A simple "I desire your prayers" doesn't imply that you are jealous of my prayers and have no prayers yourself. Which brings me back around to my current pet peeve. The nuvo-trendy "love on" and the implications of what we are saying.

I think the reason I am so annoyed when someone says "...and they loved on me" is because because I am aware of the culture we live in and I know what that sounds like to... well, to quite a few people and not just the non-Christians. It sounds dirty. I was tempted to sugar-coat this issue or ignore it all together, but I decided to call it like I see it. The young men in the back pews are snickering, any late night television viewer can explain it, and more than one prudish grammarian is cringing in her seat. There’s a double meaning there.

Do we even stop to think about the words we are using? Why do we flap phrases about without a care? Someone somewhere is thinking: Oh no, that's not right, no one thinks that it means.... Everyone else says it, we all know... But that's not what I meant...
  • People do think of that meaning.
  • If everyone else suggested jumping off the cliff would you still say it?
  • And of course that's not what you meant. So why did you say it?
I'm not suggesting that your meaning is unclear. Christian love and support, familial affection -- this is clearly what is meant when someone stands up in church and says "so-and-so loved on me" or "we're all gonna love on 'em." I'm just saying there are some extra meanings tagging along. Since there are other ways to say it, ways that are good grammar and don't make the boys in the back row snicker at the double meaning... Why, Why, WHY must people keep on with "love on?"

Why should I cause my Christian brother to stumble? I shouldn't.

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