Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Have a Blessed Day

Some phrases that originally had a religious meaning have been made largely neutral by years of use. For example, "God bless you" when sneezing and "Baptism of fire". "Merry Christmas" has become part of the vernacular. Years of use have rendered the greeting largely secular. I know some Christians will take offense at that, but I don't intend that. I mean that for non-Christians, it doesn't necessarily have a religious connotation. I'm not offended when people tell me Merry Christmas. I will even tell others Merry Christmas without even the slightest bit of religious intent.

But recently, I've been hearing "Have a Blessed Day" entirely too much. I've heard it twice at Target just in the last week. It DOES have a religious connotation. Its use bothers me because of its intent. It's more about making the giver of the greeting feel righteous than it is about caring about the recipient.

I don't want to oversell this and ultimately the greeting is not a huge deal with me. It's more of an observation than anything. I'm not going to go call someone out for saying, "have a blessed day" to me. I just want to figure out what is behind the new trend.

Maybe it is just making a statement, like i do with some of my provocative t-shirts. Am I evangelizing when I wear a t-shirt with a political or environmental message? Is my intent more about me feeling righteous than about caring about the recipient? Believe me, I see the possible dichotomy and hypocrisy here.

Hunting around for some background on the phrase on the 'net, I found someone that had written about it and made the statement, "It signals that you are a Christian to another stranger out there who may be a Christian—like a secret handshake. It is not overbearingly evangelical to those who are not Christians, and yet opens the door for further discussion if they so choose." I disagree. I think it IS evangelical, but it is up for discussion on whether it is "overbearingly" so.

There are several dictionary meanings of "blessed", but the most likely intended one is, "divinely or supremely favored". People that say the statement are not meaning it in a generic sense of having a contented day. I've asked people this and everything I've read indicates that the people saying it intend it in a religious sense. The very definition of evangelize is to preach that you are a Christian and to try and convert someone else to Christianity. I believe that people that say HABD are evangelizing.

I don't really care about the political correctness of the statement, but from a business standpoint, is it wise to have your workers say a statement that may offend non-Christians? As an owner, you really need to come off as vanilla because your goal is to sell, not to evangelize. If this lady said HABD in a non-work environment, I'd have a lot less problem with it. The topic of affiliation of ownership (political, religious, etc.) has been in the news lately because of the possible purchasing of the St. Louis Rams by Rush Limbaugh. It's at least tangentially related to this post but I think it's a big enough subject to be a post of itself and I won't discuss it here.

I guess my point is that we should all be free to make a statement, but maybe the workplace is not the place for it. The statements I make with my t-shirts are when I'm off work. I do not make any overt political or religious statements either vocally or otherwise when I'm with clients. Some clients may know my leanings, but that is because they ask or because they know me socially outside of work.

I'm shopping at Target to save, not to get "saved".

"And you stare at me
In your jesus christ pose
Arms held out
Like youve been carrying a load
And you swear to me
You dont want to be my slave
But youre staring at me
Like I need to be saved ..."

Jesus Christ Pose by Soundgarden


Laura said...

ACK. I just heard this on a coworker's voicemail message. In addition to blanketly saying that my call is VERY important to her... if they're all equally important, doesn't that make none of them important?

Have a blessed day. Blessed by what? And in that same logic as above... if all of our days are blessed, doesn't that make none of them special?

I'm not offended by it, I just think it's retarded and cheesy.

wunelle said...

Yeah, I love the doe-eyed innocence with which these people respond when questioned on things like this. But if I were to use as my standard greeting "live free of myths!" or "have a secular day!" you can imagine the shitstorm that would result.

Just look at the furor over the atheist bus campaigns that say something as innocent as "There's probably no god. Stop worrying and enjoy life." Religious folks--well, fundie christians--are apoplectic about these signs, when ANY religious display from a faith not their own amounts to the same thing: another person denying THEIR faith.

CyberKitten said...

*Totaly* weird!

dbackdad said...

Laura -- Apparently people have been saying it for a few years, but I've just noticed recently. But like you said, I'm not necessarily offended, but it is a bit retarded.

Wunelle -- Great points. I think I might have to adopt the "live free of myths" greeting. Or maybe just "live long and prosper". :-)

CK -- Indeed. It's a strange and wonderful country we live in. Maybe I stress the strange too much, but I still do consider it wonderful. But we have to be vigilant.

Laura said...

Have a Nice Day

Anonymous said...

I am a landlord and just rented an apartment (by handshake) with a man who then promised to deliver the deposit check the next day and sign the paperwork. When he left, he said "have a blessed day" and my heart sank. I told myself not to be prejudiced against Christians, but I find that people who flash their Christianity around are typically flakes and do not live up to their word. Needless to say, I was not surprised when the next day he backed out of the deal.

barbicakes said...

Wow what is wrong here? These reactions I would expect to come from someone saying F off, or whatever nastiness you could think of.
I'm a Christian this isn't something I say, it's individualized like someone saying hi or hello. You all should get over yourselves and brush it off because the street goes both ways here.