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25 December 2010

"Just" Christianity

In the title of this post, I am, of course, referencing C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Having heard a few mealtime prayers now over the holidays, I am reminded of an observation I made years ago but am just now getting around to blogging. Evangelical Christians have a peculiar language of prayer. The word "just," as in "Lord, we just ask that you bless us," shows up repeatedly. It is as if the person praying feels the need to assure God that what he is asking for is rather paltry and thus should be easily granted. I'm not sure whether it is something that has crept in via theology or if it is just filler, like saying "um," "uh," or "like." lisa over at Sociological Images calls this the Evangelical Habitus.


Update: It occurs to me that it might have something to do with the improvisational nature of Evangelical prayer. Unlike other religious that have more well-established formats for prayers and even rote prayers recited from memory, Evangelicalism demands that prayers be spontaneous. It would make sense that they would need more filler.

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