TRITE /trīt/ (Adjective) Overused and consequently of little import, lacking originality or freshness.
It’s easy to become trite when you’re a pastor.
After all, we’re in constant output mode. Whether we’re preaching, teaching, comforting or just hanging out (you may know it as fellowship), we talk a lot.
It’s not always easy to know the right thing to say, so most of us give in to the temptation to find a handful of clichés and repeat them at regular intervals – even if we don’t realize we’re doing it.
Not everything we say can be original, of course. As Solomon reminded us, there’s nothing new under the sun.
But that’s never an excuse to be trite.
Yet we do it all the time.
Pastoral triteness often involves the use of “Christianese” – insider lingo that means nothing to others and stops meaning much to us after constant, thoughtless repetition.
In response to that, we’re often told we need to flip the script. Stop using old, worn-out phrases. I agree with that. I’ve fought a war on “Christianese” (ironically a very Christianese word) for decades.
But when we try to be new and cool, sometimes we’re just trading the triteness of one generation for the triteness of the next. Or the triteness of the christian culture for the triteness of the non-christian culture.
My War On Triteness
I started this post with the definition of “trite”, because we seldom use the word any more. But we practice it way more often than we should.
As ministers of the Gospel, it’s time to declare war on our own triteness. Let’s stop dumbing down the Gospel. In the way we speak and act.