An email today from a church administrator begins “I am hugely excited about the prospect …”
I think I remember being hugely excited when I was younger, probably about visiting Auntie Lily in Bradford. I was quite excited about being able to spend York Minster Evensong in the organ loft with Francis Jackson. That was over half a century ago. Have I been hugely excited since then? I rather doubt it.
I have looked forward to a rail journey to Prague, to playing Schnitger organs, to visits to the US, even to a Carlisle jaunt last week to relive my mis-spent youth on the Cathedral organ. I look forward to our autumn trip to Houston, even to watching a few films on the way.
Hugely excited? No. Is this because I am a grumpy old man? Is it simply a matter of semantics? Is the fault, if fault there be, in me?
A quick random trawl of a few church websites just now yields:
- fantastic venue, fantastic celebration (same site). Fantastic means unreal – mind you, they use that too.
- inspiring vision. Who does it inspire? It clearly inspires them, but for them to tell me that it does or will inspire me is presumptuous.
- fabulous space. Really? Do they really mean the stuff of fables?
- stunning public space. Rail journeys, hotels, views, décor, cosmetic … all these are now stunning. They knock you out.
- vibrant church. Ye Gods.
- amazing. So remarkable as to elicit disbelief? I don’t think that’s what they mean.
- awesome. My granddaughter with her Texan accent uses this in a way that sounds entirely natural. It is charming. But used by aged hipster ‘worship leaders’ it is an embarrassment,
I am turned off by word-inflation in any context, but the church should know better than to indulge in it. It speaks of insecurity, desperation, panic and, worst of all, insincerity. People are not stupid – they see through it.
There are no words left to express real admiration, awe and excitement.