Assorted

Tidbits – July 2019

Doubt your doubts…

“We don’t just need answers for people’s difficult questions. We need questions for people’s easy answers.”
– Andrew Wilson (as seen at Challies.com)

Long term planning

Reader’s Digest has a number of columns in which readers can send in their true, humorous stories. This one came from an obstetrician:

“I sometimes see unusual tattoos when working in labor and delivery. One patient had some type of fish tattoo on her abdomen. ‘That sure is a pretty whale,’ I commented.

“With a smile, she replied, ‘It used to be a dolphin.’”

SOURCE: Laughter the best medicine II

Robert Conquest’s Second Law of Politics

It’s not clear whether Robert Conquest (1917-2015) ever stated the “Three Laws of Politics” commonly attributed to him. But whether he did or didn’t, someone should have because there’s insight here worth sharing, particularly in his second law:

2. Any organization not explicitly conservative will, sooner or later, become liberal.

That’s quite the claim, but history bears it out. How many of our universities were founded by godly men, but how welcome are Christians on these campuses today? Hospitals begun by churches now kill their patients upon request. Amnesty International went from being an advocate for political prisoners to advocating for legalized abortion. Closer to home, Reformed denominations that stopped teaching their confessions have started ignoring and opposing them.

But why do things flow in just the one direction? Why don’t we ever see an abortion-loving, man-hating feminist organization drift from their founders’ feelings and decide that, hey, unborn babies and men aren’t so bad after all? Why couldn’t they take a conservative or even Christian turn? It doesn’t ever happen like that, but why doesn’t it?

It comes down to this: getting things wrong is always easier than getting them right. There’s no end of ways to raise our children wrong, or do our taxes wrong, or assemble IKEA furniture wrong, but there’s only one Truth, and only a narrow path to it.

This has implications. Unless we are actively heading in the right direction, we are heading in the wrong direction. That’s true in politics, certainly, but it’s just as true when we are charting the direction for other organizations in our circles. Business leaders, school board, pastors and church consistories can’t let themselves drift. We mustn’t be quiet about what we know and believe. If we don’t actively hang on to God’s Truth, both energetically and loudly, then drift is inevitable. Or, as Jesus described in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders (Matt. 7:24-27) if we don’t build on a solid foundation, we will be swept away.

That sounds scary and it would be if we had to chart the right course on our own. But God has given us His Word. Now all we need is the courage to follow Him both loudly and proudly…and we can ask Him for that.

Consistently inconsistent

“Gender is a social construct but I am woman hear me roar but anyone can be a woman but not uterus no opinion but transwomen are women but I demand women’s rights but men are women but men are scum but drag queens are beautiful but appropriation is evil.”

Matt Walsh in a May 14 tweet

4 things you didn’t know about the Bible?

  • How big is the Bible? At almost one million words, it is as long as 10 typical thrillers, or 15 mystery novels.
  • The word Bible comes biblia, which is Greek for “books.” Biblia, in turn, was probably derived from the name of the Lebanese port of Byblos, where the Greeks got their paper supply
  • The 1229 Synod of Toulouse forbade anyone but priests from having the Scriptures.
  • The Bible didn’t come with the chapter and verse divisions we have today. Stephen Langton (c.1150-1228) is credited with dividing the Bible into the chapters our Bibles have now. Jewish Rabbi Isaac Nathan ben Kalonymus might have been the one who came up with Old Testament versification, back in 1440, while a French printer (Robert Estienne (1503-1559) is credited with creating the verse divisions we use for the New Testament.

SOURCE: Jerry MacGregor and Marie Prys’ 1001 Surprising things you should know about the Bible.

A political upgrade?

“Could one start a Stagnation Party—which at General Elections would boast that during its term of office no event of the least importance had taken place?”

– C.S. Lewis writing to his brother in 1940

 And now you know the rest of the story…

In their heyday, the 1980s big hair band Van Halen made the news for a diva-esque demand they had in their contract. Each venue was to provide them with a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown ones taken out. Critics saw this as a ridiculous extravagant request that showed just how kookie Van Halen had become.

But some years later lead singer David Lee Roth explained that the “no brown M&Ms” rule wasn’t silly at all – it was a test.

At the time the band traveled with a huge set, packed away in a whole fleet of semi-trailers, that had to be constructed at every venue. And it had to be done just right or there could be major safety concerns. Every venue received a thick instruction book to follow but because it was so big Van Halen was worried that the construction crews might not look at it all that carefully. That’s why the band “hid” their M&M demand somewhere in the middle.

That way when the band arrived at a new venue one of the first things they would do is check the backstage area for a bowl of M&Ms. If it was there, and there were no brown ones, then they could be confident that this venue’s staff had read through the instruction book carefully. If there were no M&Ms, or the bowl still had brown ones, then they had heads-up that this venue might be taking shortcuts, and they would have good reason to double-check everything.

This story shows (and what Proverbs 18:17 teaches) is that we really can’t have a good understanding of something if we just hear from the one side. It was only when we heard from David Lee Roth that further details came out. That’s particularly important to keep in my mind in our increasingly quick-to-judge era.


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