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Articles, Entertainment, Humor, Satire

The pitch meeting for "Redeeming Love"

PRODUCER: Do you have a new movie for me?

SCREENWRITER: Yes, sir. This is gonna be gold, trust me. It’s an adaptation of a steamy romance novel set on the western frontier.

PR: What? You do know our company is called Pure Flix, right? Not Impure Flix.

SW: No, it’s a Christian novel.

PR: A “steamy” Christian novel?

SW: Yeah.

PR: . . .

SW: What is it?

PR: I’m trying to find a multiverse where “steamy” and “Christian” belong together. Those terms aren’t exactly bedfellows.

SW: But our main characters are, if you know what I mean.

PR: What?

SW: Well, the female protagonist is a prostitute.

PR: Okay, this is not your best movie pitch, I gotta tell you.

SW: It’s a redemptive story, though.

PR: How so?

SW: Well, it’s called Redeeming Love. So...

PR: Oh, I see. It’s right there in the title: “Redeeming.”

SW: Yeah, and it’s sold over three million copies since its publication in 1991. It’s really popular with the Christian ladies. It could make us a ton of money!

PR: In that case, I guess I can take a look at the script.

SW: Yeah, it’s a love story inspired by the book of Hosea.

PR: You mean, from the Bible? About the prophet named Hosea who was commanded by God to marry a sexually promiscuous woman named Gomer?

SW: That’s the one—only in the movie, her name is Angel, and she is forced into prostitution at a young age.

PR: Oh no!

SW: Yeah, life’s basically thrown everything but a feral prairie dog at her, so the audience will feel super empathetic—what with her poor, miserable, wretched life.

PR: But that’s fairly incongruous with the story of Hosea, where Gomer is kinda playing the part of the antagonist.

SW: Sure, but this isn’t the literal book of Hosea. I mean, it’s a fictional story.

PR: I’m confused.

SW: That’s because you haven’t heard the story yet.

PR: Okay, fine. Tell me the story.

SW: Like I said, Angel’s been mistreated her whole life, and she ends up as a prostitute. Then this man named Hosea—

PR: Hey, that’s the name of the prophet!

SW: Exactly, sir. Remember, this is an allegory.

PR: But you just said…

SW: Anyway, this guy named Hosea—he goes into town one day, sees Angel, and immediately wants to marry her.

PR: Oh, love at first sight?

SW: I mean, kinda. God basically tells him he’s gonna marry Angel.

PR: Oh, really?

SW: Yeah. So he pays double price to spend time with Angel.

PR: Whoa, whoa, whoa. We can’t have that in a Christian movie.

SW: No, he just wants to talk with Angel. To, you know, get to know her as a person.

PR: Oh, okay.

SW: So he goes to see Angel, and she’s just standing there fully naked—

PR: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Why is she stark naked? We can’t have that in a Christian movie.

SW: What can I say? I mean, it’s a brothel. It’s basically like a nudist colony, right?

PR: I’m pretty sure prostitutes aren’t naked all the time.

SW: Well, we’ll just…frame the shot so certain parts of her body are blocked from view. How’s that?

PR: Fair enough.

SW: So Hosea tells Angel she’s going to be his wife because God says so.

PR: Really? He just out and says it?

SW: Sure. I mean, haven’t high school kids been doing that to their crushes for, like, forever?

PR: Oh, good point.

SW: Exactly. So Hosea spends a ton of money to spend time talking with Angel. He woos her with his prophecies about their upcoming marriage, and after he badgers her for a long time—

PR: He badgers her? So she’s not interested at all?

SW: Not a lick.

PR: I’m sorry, this doesn’t really sound like the book of Hosea.

SW: No, this is a work of fiction.

PR: But you said—

SW: Anyway, after a lot of convincing, Angel finally agrees to be his wife and he takes her to his farm.

PR: Well, shucks. That sounds like a fairly short movie to me.

SW: No, it’s not over yet. The best part’s coming.

PR: Oh, really?

SW: Yeah, yeah, yeah. After Hosea finally gains Angel’s confidence, the two start getting…intimate.

PR: Intimate? How so?

SW:

PR: You mean…like they finally have an open and honest discussion by a warm fire or something?

SW: No, I mean…intimate.

PR: You mean…like snuggling next to a warm fire?

SW: No.

PR: Oh, you mean like a romantic…

SW: Yes!

PR: …candle-lit dinner?

SW: No! There is no fire and no candle!

PR: So, they…eat a romantic dinner in the dark?

SW: No, I’m not talking about “dinner table” intimacy, I’m talking about “bedroom” intimacy.

PR: But why would they take their dinner to bed?

SW: There’s no dinner! Forget dinner. There’s no food whatsoever!

PR: You’re going to have them go to bed without any dinner? How is that intimate?

SW: As a husband and wife, they enjoy what husbands and wives enjoy…you know, when they’re…husband and wife. Alone. With no one else around to watch (except for the audience, in this case).

PR:  . . .

SW:  . . .

PR: Oh! Now I understand.

SW: Yes…

PR: They start kissing, and then we cut to them covered and snuggling afterward. That’s sweet. And props to you for giving a positive portrayal of marriage and all.

SW: No, they start kissing, but that’s only the beginning.

PR: The beginning of what?

SW: We’ll spend, like, a couple whole minutes watching them kiss and take each other’s clothes off and fondle and copulate and—

PR: What the cuss?!

SW: Uh, did you just say “what the cuss”?

PR: This is poo on a stick!

SW: What is?

PR: This whole load of hooey you’re trying to sell me! There’s no way in Sheol we’re going to actually show two characters getting intimate onscreen.

SW: But they’re married. It’s totally legit.

PR: Who would even agree to do that?! It’s not like Christian actors are standing in line waiting to shoot nude or sex scenes. You won’t get Kirk Cameron or Neil McDonough—

SW: Okay, so we’ll…get an intimacy coordinator. That’s all the rage these days, right?

PR: That doesn’t change the fact that you’re pitching a Christian film with onscreen sex. What’s gotten into that hip, edgy brain of yours?

SW: Look, consider this: all the film’s sex scenes—

PR: All of them? You’re planning on multiple sex scenes?!

SW: No, no, no. Only, like, two. And they’ll both involve just the main characters—who, I might point out, are married. And unless someone edited the Bible lately…

PR: Sorry, I’ve not read that copy lately.

SW: . . . Where is Proverbs? Aren’t the books in alphabetical order?

PR: No, Proverbs is in the Wisdom Literature section.

SW: Where is that? Is it reverse alphabetical order?

A few minutes later... 

SW: Here it is! Hiding right there in the middle. Strange. Okay, Proverbs 5:19. “As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love.” I’m basically using that as a script for one of the scenes. This movie is, after all, based on the Bible.

PR: Wait, you just said—

SW: This isn’t illicit sex we’re talking about. It’s married sex. The best kind. The kind that any woman would want to drag her husband and children to the theater to watch together.

PR: Married sex isn’t supposed to be a spectator sport!

SW: Look, we’re not gonna be filming real sex. It’s just simulated. Nothing really happens.

PR: Oh. So, even the kissing will be a special effect?

SW: No, they’ll be kissing for real.

PR: So them taking off their clothes will be a special effect?

SW: No. They’ll take their clothes off.

PR: So the fondling will be a special effect?

SW: No, he’ll really be touching her.

PR: So the thrusting will be fake?

SW: Why would that need to be fake? It’ll be real thrusting.

PR: So when you say, “Nothing happens,” you really mean…everything happens.

SW: No, nothing does happen. I mean, they don’t actually…“do the do.”

PR: But they do do everything else leading up to “the do,” which they simulate with thrusting?

SW: Right. Non-sexual thrusting.

PR: When is thrusting not sexual? When are fondling and thrusting not sexual?

SW: When it’s acting? I mean, the actors we’ll hire probably won’t be in an actual relationship.

PR: So, if two people aren’t in an actual relationship, any intimate activities they engage in are magically unsexual?

SW: Not when you put it like that. But in this case, yes. None of the sex will be actually real. It’s simply actors doing everything married couples do (except the “final act,” of course) in front of a camera, with footage that will be considered by audiences to be hot and steamy. Only a prude would consider that sexual. It’s not real.

PR: Is your brain even real?

SW: Okay, let’s take a step back. I think we’re losing perspective. The whole point of this movie—the whole point—is to be redemptive, right?

PR: I suppose. I mean, it’s in the title.

SW: Right. Exactly. So, in order to redeem this movie, we need to show audiences just how hot and steamy married sex can be.

PR: We need to do that?

SW: Yes! If Hollywood wants to take us down the road of porn-inspired content, we’ll turn the tables with our Christian sex scenes—but with the actors’ critical body parts strategically blocked.

PR: Wait. So the actors won’t be naked?

SW: That’s not what I mean. The actors will be in various stages of undress, but we won’t see it. That’s all that matters, right? Who cares if the actors have to actually get naked on set and touch each other in…“Proverbs 5:19” places? We won’t see any full nudity ourselves. By placing his hands on her, the actor will be protecting the sexual well-being of the audience.

PR: But not his sexual wellbeing—or hers, for that matter.

SW: That’s just the thing. Instead of getting professing Christians to play the roles of Angel and Hosea, we’ll get people who won’t put up a fuss. It’ll be perfect. I’m sure we can find actors who lack a scriptural sexual ethic. That’s the ideal recipe for shooting godly sex scenes that will whack people over the head with the good news of steamy love.

PR: You mean “redeeming” love?

SW: Right. What did I say?

PR: What about the other sex scene?

SW: What about it?

PR: Can they keep their clothes on for that one?

SW: Ah, a compromise. I can dig it. Sure, we’ll choreograph it so the actors can remain basically fully clothed. It’ll be so pure, it’ll rock the audience’s socks off!

PR: Keep those socks on – we have enough clothes coming off in this project already.

SW: Will do, sir. You’re the boss.

PR: And I don’t want the male protagonist’s first name to be Hosea. This story just isn’t a very accurate allegory.

SW: Okay, we can call him…Mike. Or Michael.

PR: Fine.

SW: Yeah, Michael Hosea.

PR: I guess that will work.

SW: Good! Oh, and I just had another great thought.

PR: What?

SW: You know that fully clothed sex scene?

PR: . . .Yeah?

SW: We can use a screenshot of that scene for the official movie poster.

PR: What?!

This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared at Cap Stewart's blog Unpop Culture, and is reprinted here with permission. Cap is also the author of the online curriculum Personal Purity Isn’t Enough: The Long-Forgotten Secret to Making Scriptural Entertainment Choices, and has contributed to numerous print and online publications, including Zondervan Academic, The Christian Post, and The Gospel Coalition.

Gender roles, Humor

#chairchallenge highlights male/female divide

We live in a curious age in which the self-evident isn’t. So if you have a friend muddled about whether men and women are different, here’s some help. It’s the #chairchallenge already making its way around the Internet, and while women can do it, men can’t. What’s involved? One easy-to-lift chair, one wall, plus at least one male and one female participant, both ideally wearing shoes. Stand facing the wall, toes touching it, and then move back two footsteps (not paces – just the length of your own feet). You should now be standing two full foot lengths away from the wall. Place a chair under you touching the wall (or have someone else do it). Bend forward over the chair at a roughly 90-degree angle and lean the top of your head against the wall. Grab the chair by its seat and raise it to your chest. Then, stand up! That’s all there is to it! We tested this out at our house, and I found while I could almost, sort of, kind of do it in my socks, there was no way once I had shoes on, as that brought me just a smidgeon further away from the wall. Meanwhile, my wife did it with ease. So why the consistent results? A number of possible explanations have been offered: Men generally have larger feet, putting them further from the wall. Women generally have a lower relative center meaning more of their weight is over their feet making it easier to move off the wall. Women are generally more flexible than men, making it easier for them to shift the center of mass. Whatever the reason, a sharp male/female divide is evident and that makes this not only a funny experiment to try, but also an important one. God says we are created male and female (Genesis 2:17) and for different roles (Ephesians 5:22-33). Our rebellious world dares insist the opposite: infinite genders, no notable differences between them. Now we’ve got an experiment that makes the self-evident obvious again. ...

Humor

Comedy as a calling

An interview with the Panic Squad’s Andrew Bright (he’s the upside down one)  ***** Andrew Bright is a professional comedian and a professing Christian, and while that’s not as rare as the albino spotted zebra, comedic Christians are hard to come by. His improv comedy troupe, the Panic Squad (www.PanicSquad.com) is well-loved across the US and Canada, and known for their hilarious and clearly clean comedy. What follows is an edited version of our interview. Did you always want to be a comedian? While I loved making others laugh from a young age, I never imagined becoming a professional comedian. I guess it seemed so out of reach, something other people did. In junior high and high school I was searching for a way to fit in. I wasn’t super good looking or exceptionally smart, wasn’t athletic. But I was funny. I used humor as a way to be noticed and make friends, and defensively, as a way to deflect insults and mask the pain I experienced.  I enjoyed the fact that I could always make my friends laugh, but never imagined a use for my wit and humor beyond just that. When did you first try doing improvisational comedy? The first time I saw improv comedy was at Trinity Western University (TWU) in BC. I was blown away. Here were guys and girls on stage getting suggestions from the audience, making up scenes and jokes off the top of their heads, and getting big laughs. It looked like so much fun, I wondered, "Can I could do that?” When I tried out for TWU’s improv comedy league, “11:07” I discovered I had a real knack for improv comedy and was affecting others in a positive way. I had always loved acting, and making others laugh, and here was a venue created for just that. I thrived in this environment, the way anyone does when we discover God’s purpose for us. God wires us all differently, to be good at some things and not so good in others. It’s an amazing thing when we begin to operate in a role that fits with the unique way God created us. How did you turn this into a full-time job? Though improv comedy was a highlight of my years at TWU, I didn’t see it as a career option – it was my fun hobby. So along with some other TWU grads and students, we started putting the word out and would take anything we would get our hands on. If a youth group was willing to give us some gas money, we’d come and perform. We also began promoting some regular performances at a Christian coffee house in New Westminster, BC. Our first show had an audience numbering 6 people (and two of them were parents of a group member!). A humble beginning for sure! A few months later, however, we were breaking fire codes with over 500 people packing the place out. While the Panic Squad was started as a hobby in 1996, God blessed our work and three of us quit our day jobs to make it a full-time career in 2001.  At the time I had been married for just a year, and left a job in public relations in Bellingham, WA. That first year was very lean, my wife teaching second grade at a small Christian school and me trying to grow a career in comedy. It was an incredible year of fear, trust and surprises. At times it still doesn’t feel real. I just celebrated my 15th anniversary with my wonderful wife, have four amazing kids, and get to perform comedy across the United States and Canada for a living. We’ve learned some hard lessons along the way, been blessed with opportunities and shaken by disappointments, but it’s been a great journey. I feel like I am living Ephesians 3:20-21. Someone watching one of your shows would see you guys are decidedly different. What makes your brand of comedy different, not only from the typical secular comedy, but even from most other Christian comedy? We hope the first thing people notice when they watch our show is that we’re funny, real funny. As comedians, that’s our job and we take being funny seriously. The second thing you’ll notice is that our comedy is squeaky clean. Not clean by comparison to dirty comics, not clean enough for most venues, but simply clean. All the time, for any venue. That’s also very important to us.  Clean is clean. You shouldn’t have to define or qualify it. I think where excellence meets standards is what sets us apart. There are very funny, talented comedians who choose to perform material that is offensive. We’re out to prove that you can be committed to standards and still be successful. We perform clean comedy, and we put on a great show. There are also comedians who market themselves as clean, or Christian, but they’re simply not funny. They have standards but no talent. Would you trust your home to a Christian electrician who knows nothing about electricity? Excellence gives you a credible platform. No matter your message, if your life or work is in opposition to what you’re saying, no one will listen. Our work is comedy, so we had better put on a funny show. On your first DVD Your Title Here your teammate Cliff Prang talked about how performing your best requires a real unselfishness. He described improv as “setting each other up for success, working together, listening to each other, yielding to each other.” Improv sounds like quite the appropriate medium for Christians, one in which you serve one another in love (Gal. 5:13) to bring out the best in all of you. What else do you love about improv? Improv is unlike stand-up comedy, or sketch comedy, where the audience sits and watches. With improv, the audience is a part of the show. It’s all about relationship. There is a genuineness or humanness to improv. I love the fact that we can’t do this alone – we need the audience in order to do well. I love that I have no idea what will happen next in a scene. I love that there is grace in improv. There is transparency, for better or worse. The audience knows we are making it up as we go, and when something fails miserably, it can be just as funny, because it’s real. Improv is such an incredible metaphor of life. I think that’s one reason improv is so attractive to audiences. It’s clear during the show that you really enjoy interacting with your audience. At the shows I’ve attended that interaction continues afterwards too – is that common? It is. I think our off-stage personas set us apart from a lot of other acts. We have never been under that impression that we’re a big deal. I’ve never understood people who see themselves that way. Our identity is in Christ. He’s the big deal. We genuinely like people, too. We’re not the type of act that does the show and then disappears backstage until we can get to our hotel room. One of my favorite things is getting to know the people at our shows.  Improv being so relationship-driven helps, too. At the end of a show you can’t help but feel like you know us, and we know you, a bit more.  I love it when someone comes up and tells me, “I’m the one who shouted out, ‘radio-active chicken livers,’ when you asked for something you’d find in a high school lab.”  Lets me know I’m hanging with my kind of people. This article first appeared in the December 2014 issue....

Humor, News

Tearing down tyranny, one joke a time...

November 9 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which, for 28 years, divided socialist East Germany from the free West. To mark the anniversary some old East German jokes gained new life. What sort of jokes? Jokes that mocked the State for its incompetence and vindictive pettiness. Jokes that could get an East German arrested back then if the police found out he'd shared them. But if jokes could land you in jail, why did people risk telling them? Because every punchline was an act of resistance. A government that couldn't take a joke was a government that had overstepped its bounds and this became a small way of pushing back. So to mark the anniversary here are a few of the more popular jests from 30 years ago. Why do Stasi (East German secret police) officers make such good taxi drivers? – You get in the car and they already know your name and where you live. The five rules of socialism: Don’t think. If you think, don’t speak. If you think and speak, don’t write. If you think, speak and write, don’t sign it. If you think, speak, write and sign it, don’t be surprised. What would happen if the desert became a socialist country? Sand would become scarce. Three East German political prisoners were sharing the same cell and got to talking about what they were in for. The first explained, “My watch always ran ahead, and I would always arrive at work early, so they said I must be spying.” The second fellow shared, “My watch always ran slow, so I was always late for work, so they said I was guilty of sabotage.” Then the third fellow said, “I was always exactly on time for work so they said my watch much be from the West.” Asking, how could it happen here? We mark this anniversary as a tribute to those brave and wise souls who fought tyranny in the past. But we also mark it so we can learn from the past to hopefully avoid the same sort of mistakes going forward. When we see the trouble Big Brother brought the East Germans, we'll be motivated to pre-empt the same sort of government over-reach here... before it gets to the point where we're arrested for telling jokes. With that in mind, here are a few jokes worth telling while we still can. Three Americans businessmen were sharing the same cell and got to talking about what they were in for. The first explained, “I charged more for my goods than anyone else. So they convicted me of price gouging.” The second fellow shared, “I charged less than anyone else for my product, so they convicted me of anti-competitive dumping.” Then the third fellow said, “I charged the same for my product as everyone else, so they convicted me of price-fixing.” Here's a switch worth making: let's treat convicted murderers like we've treated the unborn and let them be executed, and treat the unborn like we've treated convicted murderers and give them life. A cheap Albertan fellow heard that women drivers get better insurance rates so he phoned up his insurance company and asked, "If I identify as a safer driver, can I get this cheaper rate too?" "I'm sorry sir," the insurance rep replied, "You can't simply identify as a safer driver and expect us to take that seriously." "Okay," he said, "but what if I identify as a woman - can I get the better rate then?" To which the insurance rep replied, "Of course ma'am. What do you think we are – a bunch of transphobic bigots?" What should a Christian think of mocking humor? Some Christians argue that humor, and particularly biting humor, has no place in Christian dialogue. Passages will be cited such as 1 Peter 3:15 and Proverbs 15:1: "...give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." But this "absolutely no mocking" understanding overlooks that God Himself mocks foolishness, with one of the funnier examples occurring in Isaiah 44:14b-17: "He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, 'Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!' And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, 'Deliver me, for you are my god!'” During His time on Earth, Christ had a biting way with words as evidenced repeatedly in Matt. 23 in thrusts like these: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean" (vs. 27). "Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" (vs. 24). Ah, you might say, it's one thing for God to do something and quite another for us to do the same. There is truth to that, but let's also remember that we are called to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1, 1 Cor. 11:1, 1 Peter 2:21). And let's remember, too, how others in the Bible have used humor or in other ways shown approval for mockery. For example, Luke evidenced a dry wit in Acts 17:21, poking fun at the Athenians: "Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new." Solomon wasn't pulling any punches when he compared beautiful women without discretion as being "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout" (Prov. 11:22).  David in Ps. 52:6-7 spoke of how the "righteous will...laugh at" the foolish fellow who "trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others." More texts could be cited, but this last one is a must – in 2 Cor 10:5 we are told to "tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God." It takes wisdom to know when to tear down arguments and when to answer more gently, but one general (and certainly not absolute) rule is that the broader the audience, the more pointed we can be. And vice versa. So if one of our coworkers is bald, bearded, and loves wearing his summer dress even into the depths of fall, we won't want to start a conversation by making fun of his fashion sense. But when politicians and judges and celebrities start insisting that men should be allowed to compete as women, that is an idea that must be mocked – to treat it as anything less than insane is to give it too much credit (Prov 26:4). So as we mark the Berlin Wall's demise some 30 years ago, we can remember that humor has been used as a weapon for a lot longer than that, by both God and man. To learn more about the godly use of pointed humor, a great small book on the subject is Douglas Wilson's "A Serrated Edge."...

Humor, Satire

Say what? Insights from the "Devil's Dictionary"

Ambrose Bierce (1842- circa 1914) was an American satirist best known for his Devil’s Dictionary. In it he sought to “improve” on Noah Webster’s famous work by providing definitions that weren’t so much devilish as cynical. And a cynic was, so Bierce defined him, “A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. “ Now God says unbelievers are fools (Ps. 14:1) so it follows they shouldn’t be our go-to source for wisdom. That makes it all the funnier/that-much-more-embarrassing when an unbeliever sees something we’ve missed. It is, for example, quite a shock to the system when Bierce sees through the fundamental flaw in the conservative political position, noting that most who go by this label aren’t principled, but are simply “conserving” whatever it is the liberals pushed through in the years preceding! If even an agnostic – if even a blind man – can see through the folly of unprincipled conservatism, we Christians – who have been gifted God’s illuminating Word – really have no excuse for supporting it. This is a rebuke delivered via the mouth of a donkey. What follows below are a few of the diamonds from Ambrose’s dictionary, sifted out from the dross. Admiration: Our polite recognition of another’s resemblance to ourselves. Christian: One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. Conservative: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from a Liberal who wishes to replace them with others. Education: That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. Egotist: A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. Idleness: A model farm where the devil experiments with seeds of new sins and promotes the growth of staple vices. Once: Enough Quotation: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. Radicalism: The conservatism of tomorrow injected into the affairs of today. Referendum: law for submission of proposed legislation to a popular vote to learn the nonsensus of public opinion. Tariff: A scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of his consumer. And finally, others have taken up Bierce's diabolical definitions. Here are a couple selections: Classic: A book which people praise but don't read – Mark Twain Sweater: Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. – Ambrose Bierce (commonly, but mostly likely mistakenly, attributed to him)...