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Tidbits – August 2022

Great Communicator on communication and diaper changes

Ronald Reagan was nicknamed “The Great Communicator” for his ability to connect with his listening audience. But that wasn’t something he was just born with – he thought a lot about it, as evidenced in this joke he told.

I’ve always thought of the importance of communication and how much a part it plays in what you and I what all of us are trying to do. One day…a sports announcer, Danny Villanueva, told me about communication. He said he’d been having dinner over at the home of a young ball player with the Dodgers. The young wife was bustling about getting the dinner ready, they were talking sports, and the baby started to cry. Over her shoulder, his busy wife said to the ball player, “Change the baby.”

Well, he was a young fellow, and he was embarrassed in front of Danny. He said, “What do you mean change the baby? I’m a ballplayer; that’s not my line of work.”

Well, she turned around, put her hands on her hips and she communicated.

She said, “Look buster, you lay the diaper out like a diamond, you put second base on home plate, you put the baby’s bottom on the pitcher’s mound, you hook up first and third, slide home underneath. And if it starts to rain, the game ain’t called; you just start all over!”

God can use even a stolen book …

A former homosexual, Rachel Gilson, recently explained how God turned her around. The author of Born Again This Way: Coming Out, Coming to Faith, and What Comes Next, shared that it began with her girlfriend dumping her for a guy who was basically homeless, living in his van. Then at an acquaintance’s house, a non-practicing Catholic, she noticed a bookshelf.

“…and one of my favorite hobbies is to look at people’s bookshelves and judge them, you know? So, I’m checking it out, looking up and down.  And there was a copy – there was a book on this shelf. The spine read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and so I thought, ‘Oh, I really want to read that book, but I was too embarrassed to ask my friend for it. So, I just stole the book because, again, I had no moral code, right?…. So, I was sitting in the library soon after that, reading Mere Christianity, and while I was reading it one day, I was just overwhelmed with the realization that God exists….. I was just overwhelmed with the reality of God. And not like a store brand, you know, like Zeus or something, but the God who made me and who made everything and who was perfect. It was like I could sense God’s holiness even though I didn’t know that vocabulary and the only thing I felt was fear. I’m arrogant. I’m cruel. I’m sexually immoral. I lie. I cheat. I’m reading a stolen book. It’s clear all of the chips are in the guilty category, right? I had no confusion at that moment either, but really quickly with that I also understood that part of the reason Jesus had come was to place Himself as a barrier between God’s wrath and me. And that the only way to be safe was to run towards Him, not away from Him.

SOURCE: John Stonestreet’s “On being saved from confusion: the testimony of Rachel Gilson” posted to Breakpoint.org on June 10, 2022.

Gratitude lurking…

In his autobiography, G.K. Chesterton expressed how even in the depths of despair, a man might not be so far from optimism. Though there is a chasm between the two, the bridge over is that of amazement, leading to gratitude.

“No man knows how much he is an optimist, even when he calls himself a pessimist, because he has not really measured the depths of his debt to whatever created him and enabled him to call himself anything. At the back of our brains, so to speak, there [is] a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life [is] to dig for this submerged sunrise of wonder; so that a man sitting in a chair might suddenly understand that he [is] actually alive, and be happy.”

The Journalist

In the past, he had to “pay dues”
And develop “a nose for the news.”
Well, he still has a nose,
But, my, how it grows
When the facts must conform to his views.

– F.R. Duplantier (used with permission)

Forgiving vs. excusing

“I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality…asking Him not to forgive me but to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says ‘Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology. I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.’ But excusing says ‘I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it; you weren’t really to blame.’ If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense, forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites….When it comes to a question of our forgiving other people, it is partly the same and partly different. It is the same because, here also, forgiving does not mean excusing. Many people seem to think it does. They think that if you ask them to forgive someone who has cheated or bullied them you are trying to make out that there was really no cheating or no bullying. But if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive. They keep on replying, “But I tell you the man broke a most solemn promise.” Exactly: that is precisely what you have to forgive. (This doesn’t mean that you must necessarily believe his next promise. It does mean that you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart – every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out.) The difference between this situation and the one in which you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.”

– C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory

10 reasons English is a silly language

Homophones – words that sound alike but have different meanings – are unique to the English language, but we have an awful lot of them. In looking at the examples below, I felt like I almost saw the thread of a story moving from one sentence to the next. If an aspiring student wants to try to make a coherent story using as many of these homophones as possible, please send it on in. You can reach the editor via our contact form.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
4) A weak spring means I have wind my wind gauge once a week.
5) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
6) Excuse me but there’s no excuse for this.
7) I need to read what I read again.
8) Wait just a minute – that’s making a mountain of something minute!
9) I object to that object and I’m not content with this content.
10) As there’s no time like the present, they’re going to present their present.

SOURCE: here and there on the Internet

Marriage matters materially

“What do you think distinguishes the high and low poverty populations? The only statistical distinction in both the Black and White populations is marriage. There is far less poverty in married-couple families, where presumably at least one of the spouses is employed.”

– Economist Walter Williams (1936-2020)

Someone wants you to talk

Many a famous quote can’t be traced back to the person who was supposed to have said it. Here’s three of just that sort, the first two likely not said by who there are attributed to, while the third remains a maybe. So why pass them on? Well, after reading these three on the problem with silence you’re going to feel challenged to speak… even if you don’t know who exactly issued the challenge.

  • “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” – attributed, almost certainly falsely, to Martin Luther
  • Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. – attributed to, but probably not by, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • “When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become your sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.” – credited to Abraham Kuyper (and it may be so)

A law even a libertarian could love

“Even many of us who believe in free enterprise have fallen into the habit of saying when something goes wrong: ‘There ought to be a law.’ Sometimes I think there ought to be a law against saying there ought to be a law.

– Ronald Reagan


Up Next


In a Nutshell

Tidbits – June 2022

If you ain’t Dutch… Readers from a Dutch background are undoubtedly familiar with the slogan, “if you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.” Those same readers might be surprised to know that the Dutch are not the only ones to come up with a bit of rhyming nationalistic bravado. Below are just a few of the many out there: “If you ain’t Greek, you must be weak.” “If you’re in a hole, look for a Pole.” (It’s admittedly unclear if this is a nationalistic slogan about how helpful the Polish are, or perhaps just a bit of practical advice on how to get out of pits.) “To be Swiss is bliss.” “Only a Czech deserves a peck on the neck." (As is well-known, Eskimos kiss by rubbing noses, the Tookinese do it by rubbing ear lobes, businessmen by rubbing elbows, and apparently, Czechs prefer pecks on their necks.) “Aussies rule!” (It may not rhyme, but they make up for it with vigor.) “Only the best of the lot, get to be a Scot!” "If you ain't Finnish... then keep going." "If you ain't Canadian, that's okay too." Imponderables • Do the “Alphabet Song” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” have the same tune? • How come wrong numbers are never busy? • Do people in Australia call the rest of the world "up over"? • How can there be self-help "groups"? • How do you write zero in Roman numerals? • Why do the signs that say "Slow Children" have a picture of a running child? • What was the best thing before sliced bread? • Why do people tell you when they are speechless? TV was pretty weird two decades ago too We've got thousands of channels and nothing good to watch, and so much weird stuff to avoid. But lest we despair, let's remember that the former days were not all that different than today (Eccl. 7:10). In 2004, this is what RP was warning readers to watch out for, as it was "coming to a TV near you." The Swan – Women undergo drastic plastic surgery and then compete in a beauty pageant. The Littlest Groom – Dating show. A 4-foot-5 man dates a bevy of similarly sized women, then gets to date some full-size ladies and must choose one. Playing it Straight – Another dating show. Woman seeks suitor from a group of good-looking guys, but some of them are gay. She wins if she picks a straight guy. My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancée – Yet another dating show. Woman tries to convince her family to let her marry a jerk. She wins big bucks if her family doesn’t love her enough to object. Temptation Island – Adultery show. Couples are separated and then sent to two exotic islands where models tempt them to cheat on their partners. Fear Factor – Gameshow. Contestants compete by bobbing in a barrel of cows’ blood, and by eating maggots, eyeballs, and worms. Rather than just lament the bad, we can celebrate the good, as we've done with our articles "200 movies King David might watch" and "100 documentaries that make learning a joy." Couldn't count, but had a way with words “There are only three ways to teach a child. The first is by example, the second is by example, and the third is by example.” – Albert Schweitzer Oh, what a feeling! Some years ago a minister heard several other ministers rave about the high-powered Christian meetings they had attended. They all talked about how warmly they had felt and what a great shared spiritual experience it had been. After overhearing this, the first minister decided to share with them his own experience of a meeting he had come from the previous night. He described in great detail the feelings that had come over him when 40,000 sang the same songs. What an unforgettable experience! His colleagues all agreed and wanted to know more about the extraordinary event. What was it all about, they wanted to know. Who was the special man who organized it? “Oh,” he replied, “It was a Paul McCartney concert.” This little story is told by Sjirk Bajema in the Feb. 2004 issue of Faith in Focus, and there is a moral to his tale: feelings alone are no guarantee of God’s presence or His approval. Christians who seek to experience God must not neglect His Word, lest they lose sight of the fact that while the love of God is an extraordinary experience, extraordinary experiences can (at least temporarily) be had apart from the love of God. Bad, like ham left out of the fridge all day  The following are taken from an email that circulated some years back that was supposed to be a compilation of some of the worst/most brilliant analogies and metaphors written by American students. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever. To get your team going  “Being defeated is often only a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” - Marilyn vos Savant “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice there is.” - Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut...


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