In my new job I have a lot of paper crossing my desk. Most of it literally does just that, it comes in from our secretary, crosses over my desk and into the recycling bin. One of the advantages though, being in a Catholic school, is that I get lots of Catholic 'stuff' – newsletters from different organisations, missions magazines, Catholic newspapers, advertising from Family Life etc. Today I got the latest newsletter from the CEC (Catholic Enquiry Centre) and I found a really interesting acticle in it about new evangelisation, called '12 Tips for an Effective New Evagelisation'. The bi-line credits Martha Fernandes-Sardina (iEvangelize.wordpress.com).
One of her ideas (number 2) reads, "Include God in your vocabulary. Bring God up in your everyday conversations, acknowledging Him as the giver of all good gifts, as the One who answers prayers, as the One who directs the course of our lives when we submit to His all-loving plan."
It made me think about the way that God is actually very present in a lot of everyday language with the number of times we now hear "Oh My God" in a given day, or see the letters OMG on Facebook, Twitter etc. Maybe I'm being old fashioned, but when I was at school the nuns made very sure that we didn't use such language – they told us that saying "Oh my God" was blasphemy. We weren't even allowed to say "gosh" or "gee", because that was another way of using God's name in vain. To this day I don't ever say "Oh my God" and if any of the children in my class say it, I ask them not to. I wouldn't be brave enough to say this to adults though!
Then there's "Thank God!" that we also hear quite a bit. I know a priest who uses this phrase often and I guess it's a bit different because of the context etc. Usually when people say "Thank God" they might not be actually thinking about God, but they are feeling thankful and relieved.
So what do you think – is it OK to say "Oh my God" and "Thank God"?
For those interested, the blog seems to have disppeared from WordPress but here's a brief summary of the the 12 Tips…
1. By the witness of your life
2. Include God in your vocabulary
3. Become a person of welcome
4. Build realtionships of care and trust
5. Establish a common interest
6. Awaken their curiosity
7. Share your own faith story
8. Presnt the kerygma in a clear and convincing manner
9. Learn how to extend an invitation
10. Facilitate incorporation into the Body of Christ
11. Do not condemn
12. Know when to stop