I love a good cliché. Many of them make me laugh. Here are a few of my favorite clichés:

  • “He’s as cool as the other side of the pillow.”
  • “I’m feeling as lucky as a man in a women’s prison with a fist full of pardons.”
  • “I don’t like the cut of his jib” (not sure what it means, but it sounds really cool).
  • “She is busier than a one-armed paper hanger.”

The problem with clichés is that most of them have been so over used that their meanings have become empty. We’ve said them so often that usually we can start the cliché and someone else can end them for us. Let me show you what I mean: How many of these can you quote the ending to?

  • Close only counts in … (hand grenades and horseshoes).
  • You can’t live with them and you can’t live …. (without them).
  • If you’ve heard one cliché, you’ve …. (heard them all).
  • If you can’t stand the heat, get out of… (the kitchen).
  • When the going gets tough, the tough (go NASCAR racing) … okay, maybe not.

Parents are the masters of clichés. You have a baby, and “boom,” you become fluent with clichés.

  • “When I was your age…”
  • “Don’t make me stop this car.”
  • “Stop that crying or I’ll really give you something to cry about.”
  • “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times don’t exaggerate.”
  • “Dirty room, dirty mind.” (hmm, I’ve heard John Dobb’s office is a huge mess)

The thing about clichés is they become empty and meaningless, because we think, “Yea, I’ve heard that before.” My concern is that sometimes as Christians we hear biblical phrases and words over and over until they become meaningless and empty. We say, “Yea, I’ve heard that before,” and we don’t give the words much thought. Words like…

  • Grace, Faith, Mercy

Or Christian phrases like …

  • “For God so loved the world…”
  • “If you have been set free, you are free indeed…”
  • “For you have been saved by faith through grace…”

Don’t let your Christianity become some kind of cliché ritual where you think you know all the words, phrases and answers even before they’re said. Instead, think, desire to learn and want to grow.

So, do you have any favorite clichés?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
18 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Alan Gable says:

    I try to avoid cliches like the plague.

    I’m not a big fan of the “what would Jesus do” cliche because it seems to close more doors than it opens…

  2. Anonymous says:

    how about…
    “his/her heart is in the right place”

    usually trying to be nice about someone who doesn’t deserve it.

    I would like to respond, “where? in the chest cavity?”


  3. Monalea says:

    Some of my favorites…..

    “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of manure.”

    “I worked like a dog.” Never actually seen a dog work.

    “One good blog deserves another.”

    “What Would Jesus Do?” Slap you and tell you to get over it.

    Monalea aka www

  4. jel says:

    ya want fries with that!

    this was something my dad would said ( don’t get nervous call allservice) :)

  5. Greg says:

    In the south, you can say what you want about a person so long as you add, “Bless his / her heart.” My dad had one that never really over well with my kids, but it was, “Boy, I’m gonna cloud up and rain all over you!”

  6. The Preacher's Household: says:

    Greg you are right about “Bless his/her heart”. It pretty much means they are being less than intelligent.

    This may be more of a quote but I love it and use it with my kids:
    “Do or do not, there is no try.” Master Yoda

    I love Dr. Philisms. I think he is the king of southern cliches.


  7. John Roberts says:

    We had a king of cliches back in Memphis (he was actually from Mississippi – he called it “the motherland”). He was always coming up with great turns of phrases like:
    “He was staring at me like a bug in a jar.”
    “It takes a lot of hog to weigh a ton.”
    “I’m as lost as last year’s Easter eggs.”
    In an admonition from the pulpit to give more he said “Some of you don’t give enough to pay for your cracker and grape juice.”
    My current favorite is from the movie Cars, where Mater says, “I’m as happy as a tornado in a trailer park.”

  8. James says:

    Too many good thoughts. Trey, I agree cleche’s can get old fast if used too often. They do communicate though. The problem is what do they communicate. It may be that I am too busy saying something to say anything. Or, I don’t know what to really say.

    Monalea, I have to applaud the get over it one. But, you have been around too many teens/young people for too long.

  9. Monalea says:

    James, maybe it is being around Daryl too long???


  10. Baptist Man says:

    Great post. We really do need to make sure the major themes of the Bible don’t become stale to us.

  11. preacherman says:

    Great post.

    “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist and like that; he gone.” The Usual Suspects.

  12. Falantedios says:

    I’ve prayed to Father Weejus before and never knew it! :)

    Nice one, Kinney! Kaiser Soze!

    How about

    — “distinctly separate and apart”?

    — He’s like butter ’cause he’s on a roll!

    — Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and global thermonuclear weapons.

    — “There is no spoon.”

    — A messy room is a sure sign of creativity!

    There’s some to chew on — so to speak :)


  13. john dobbs says:

    Nick’s right…a messy room is the sign of creativity … not a dirty mind! And my office is shaping up … I work on it a little every day … by 2010 it should be looking halfway decent.

  14. Dee O'Neil Andrews says:

    Hey, Trey –

    The term “”I don’t like the cut of his jib” has to do with sailing. The jib is the front sail (the smaller one) on a sail boat that helps direct the boat in it’s correct path with with wind behind the boat at an angle pushing it forward (with the help of the sails).

    Smaller boats have two sails and the jib is the one up front with the larger mainsail (main-sel’) behind it. But, no matter how large a ship or how many sails, there is only one jib and that is the very front sail. It needs to be cut out of sturdy and strong cloth to meet the demands of sailing.

    Tom and I had an 18 foot Hobie (catamaran) sailboat for a number of years with very bright colored sails on it in. We would sail out in the Mississippi sound between the gulf coast and the barrier islands about seven to 12 miles out. The water was fairly shallow where we sailed and the seas usually not rough, except during thunderstorms once in a while.

    With a Hobie, you sit one top of the boat on the plastic coated canvas (ours was bright aqua blue) between the two hulls – one on each side. I’ll have to send you (email) a picture of us on our Hobie if I can find one on my computer any more. I ran one once when I was still in blogger, but that was back a while. I’ll look.

    Anyway – the cut of a man’s jib is important!

    Good post and lots of good comments. Mine has just taken a slightly different turn on one you used that you didn’t understand completely.


    of Finding Direction: The Wind Vane Chronicles

  15. TREY MORGAN says:

    Dee … you are awesome. I didn’t have a clue about that one. I asked Lea last night and she said she didn’t know either. I told her I was going to try and work it in to my sermon this week and see if anyone knows what it means and she reminded me that I’ve tried that before, and later found out it was a dirty joke. Ouch. But that’s another story.

    By the way, Brian, I don’t like the cut of your jib!

  16. Falantedios says:

    I forgot a HUGE church cliche':

    The church is a business.

  17. Greg says:

    Here’s another one from my good friend, Keith Davis: “Hang in there like a hair in a biscuit!”

  18. Fredrick says:

    He’s a Heavy-Load Sharer is one of my favorites, it’s not biblical at all, but it’s very popular in the church!

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Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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