Reflections by Jerry Webber

Friday, November 26, 2010

Please, No "Attitude of Gratitude"

I really do get it . . . the "have an attitude of gratitude" thing that people say. I guess it's fine, but it got ruined for me several years ago when I came to know a pastor who used every trite expression he had ever heard at every opportunity possible. He loved them! He put them on his church sign along the busy street, so everyone we see them. He recited them in personal conversations. He repeated them in community ecumenical services.

So every year at Thanksgiving, all he could talk about was having an "attitude of gratitude." Then, as Advent and Christmas rolled around, over and over he repeated, "Jesus is the reason for the season," and "Let's put Christ back in Christmas!"


I had enough of that pretty fast. Call it a pet peeve, I guess. My over-reaction probably says much more about me than about him or about others who use the phrases, or even about the phrase itself. But I have an inward alarm that goes off whenever I hear it.

I've warned the folks who regularly speak at Chapelwood's Contemplative Worship that if one of them ever uses any of those phrases during a meditation at 8:45 on Sunday morning, I'll immediately leap from my front-pew perch and tackle them. Yes, I'm not beyond aggression!

Really, though, I've found plenty this week for which I am thankful. I've been able to find space to breathe deeply and ponder my life, to give my thanks to God for where I am and those around me. I've found myself thankful for full moons low on the horizon . . . for laughter with my wife and two adult children . . . for extended family . . . for health and the movement toward health . . . for the sights and sounds of the countryside.

In short, I've tried to have an attitude of gratitude . . . but I've also tried not to say it just that way.


Pete the Brit said...

Every time a christian uses a cliche in public an angel gets its wings ripped off lol

Kathryn Kelley said...

YES! Oops, I mean oh my gosh Jerry. If i had know this was a possibility (ummm i mean risk) on Sunday mornings, my attendance would not have been so spotty. Though Lori is secretly pretty feisty and i think she could take you. Melissa I can't quite read so she'd be risky because of the unknown factor. With Wick, it just wouldn't be fun because he simple would turn the other cheek--there just wouldn't be any release in that. NOW Peter on the other hand you would have better odds and it would be very exciting but you would definitely have the longer reach. We could just tell Jackson he got slain in the spirit.

Ummm I should probably stop at that...or not.