Thursday, 15 November 2007


Cram in the clichés
Originally uploaded by Mike of Surrey
This post is not about mission or ministry. It’s one of those miscellaneous mind leeks mentioned up there in the top right hand corner. In fact, to be honest, it’s not so much a post as whinge.

The thing is I’m utterly fed up with all this talk about passion.

It was the CCLI website that finally made me snap. “At CCLI we have a passion for serving the church in worship”. I know it’s a perfectly innocent site. I know, it’s entirely admirable that people should want to serve the church. I know I ought to show more self control but I’m sick to the back teeth of everyone being passionate about everything.

“I’m absolutely passionate about working with young people.”
“Oh no, gardening’s not my hobby … it’s my passion.”
“Please don’t vote me off tonight, cooking/dancing/singing/playing the flugel horn/appearing on T.V. even though I’m utterly talentless is my passion.”
“You see Jeremy I’ve always been passionate about collecting beermats.”

Don’ get me wrong. I’m not against passion. In fact quite like a bit myself now and again. My problem is word inflation.

We are wearing out one of our precious words by giving it too much work to do when there are lots of other perfectly good words lying around more suited to the task. If we are perpetually passionate and never keen or enthusiastic or interested we cheapen the very notion of passion. If we use the word to cover everything from passing curiosity to a long term hobby it will end up being utterly useless. Then what will we do when we actually need it? When we actually are passionate, in blazingly obsessive, “let me at now or I die”, sort of way the word just won’t be up to the job. It’ll be tired, floppy, sitting in a corner wheezing, knackered by over use.


Yours .... in a really quite miffed sort of a way.



andy jones said...

Like when I got asked in an interview what I got excited about?

I couldn't think of anything.

If they'd asked me what I was passionate about, I'd still have been thinking about how to answer when they came back to open up shop the next day!

Mind you, when I in turn asked a group of people last month what they got passionate about (you've caught me at it now!), the best answer I got was 'keeping my garden tidy'.

"The French make love; the English have hot water bottles".

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with you. Thanks for bringing this up. I found this post, and your site too, quite by accident while looking for something. It makes me think. I hope similar happens to more people, for word dilution is really a problem that almost cries out for a law prohibiting it! :-)

Love is another word that most people seem to have lost the true 'sense' of. I am constantly appalled by the way pop music is almost entirely deluged by the concept of 'love' (it is almost as if no other emotion even exists - what about mothers and fathers and friends and even just a beautiful scenery for a topic, people?), but marriages are only growing more and more unsustainable. So are young people 'in love' or not? :-)

David Judkins said...

Indeed - reminds me of a CS Lewis quote I came across recently: "Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. "

andy jones said...

...just as we'll have no words left when we come across something extremely unique.

Anonymous said...

Glen, you almost express yourself on this matter with (dare I say it?) . . . passion!

Philip Baiden said...

What a horrific article.

And are mind leeks tasty?

Glen Marshall said...

Philip - suck 'em and see!