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In Other Words...
A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders
November 2019 Issue 2
GOODNESS: Fred Rogers (1928-2003) said, “Try your best to make goodness attractive. That’s one of the toughest assignments you’ll ever be given.” The Week, 10/11/19, p.23
GRATITUDE: Have you ever taken the time to thank every single person who made your cup of coffee possible? That simple thought sent A.J. Jacobs on a journey that ultimately resulted in his book, Thanks a Thousand. In a personal attempt to break out of his “default mental state” of “generalized annoyance and impatience,” Jacobs “pledged to thank every single person who made my cup of coffee possible.” As he wrote, “I resolved to thank the barista, the farmer who grew the beans, and all those in between.” It took him in a thousand directions, literally. His gratitude crossed time zones, social barriers, numerous languages, and a whole host of other variants. He ultimately stopped at a thousand participants who were deserving of his gratitude for that single serving of coffee. His book highlights research showing that “gratitude is the single best predictor of well-being and good relationships.” He also quoted Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast: “Happiness does not lead to gratitude. Gratitude leads to happiness.” Although Jacobs has not yet discovered faith in Christ, who is the first & foremost to thank, he has come to realize the magnitude of gratitude and its life-enriching benefits. Thanks a Thousand, A.J. Jacobs, 2018, p.2
LAUGHTER: Research confirms that we laugh 30 times as much when we’re with others. So, savor this holiday time with friends & family, and laugh often. Time, 7/6/15, p.89
PRAYER: A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood has the Oscar buzz as it opens in theaters on November 22nd. Tom Hanks plays the leading role of Fred Rogers with Hollywood taking a serious look at the esteemed legacy of Rogers. His historic PBS children’s show ran from 1968 to 2001; then he died in 2003. The iconic Rogers started his days at 5:30 a.m. and spent time answering fan mail. Each day he received 50-100 letters and he answered every single one. It’s now quite common to receive over 100 emails per day, but we only respond to roughly 25% of them. Rogers wasn’t dealing with email, but actual mail, and he wrote a reply to every one of them. His perfect track record is beyond comprehension, yet even so it pales in comparison to the perfection of our Lord who provides an answer to everyone seeking Him through prayer. Parade, 11/17/19, p.10
PRIORITIES: This week’s headline news includes stories about Fred Rogers as Tom Hanks portrays him on the big screen. Rogers was as authentic as they come. In 2010, Benjamin Wagner directed a documentary called Mister Rogers & Me. He stated, “Mister Rogers wasn’t playing a role on his TV show. The Fred Rogers of the series was very much the Fred Rogers in real life.” He grew up as an overweight, sickly kid who endured a lot of teasing. Yet he found deeper meaning in life through cherished relationships with God and others. He wore sweaters made by his mom for the show – she knitted one a month until her death in 1981 – and trusted her color choices because he was color-blind. The ordained Presbyterian minister treasured his faith and lived by a quote he had framed from Saint Exupery’s Le Petit Prince: “That which is essential is invisible to the naked eye.” The right priorities in life are seldom easily seen. Parade, 11/17/19, p.9
SCRIPTURE: In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared the week of Thanksgiving to be National Bible Week. The week was created to encourage people to read the Bible or listen to it being read, and that inaugural year was providential. Thanksgiving was on November 27th and the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor just ten days later on December 7, 1941. People were reminded of Scripture’s value the week before they would face one of our nation’s greatest challenges. On that day of infamy, the Bible was read on NBC in-between updated news bulletins about the attack. Every President since FDR has followed the tradition of honoring God’s Word by declaring the week of Thanksgiving as National Bible Week. May we treat the Bible as something for which we are eternally grateful, during Thanksgiving and all other weeks. VIP, November 2019, p.32
THANKFULNESS: Philosopher Eric Hoffer (1898-1983) claimed to be an atheist so his insight about gratitude is strangely ironic: “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” God Moments for Men, Andrew Holmes, 2012, p.34
THANKSGIVING: When Governor William Bradford issued his first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1623, he called for “all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones” to “assemble from nine to noon.” His intent was simple: “to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.” Few of us will listen to our pastor from nine to noon, for which many are thankful, so let’s at least offer thanks for the countless ways God has blessed us throughout this year (James 1:17). Denison Forum, 11/19/18
DATING: Lane shared his frustrations about dating with a counselor. He explained that no matter who he dated his mother never liked her. The counselor responded with what he thought was a perfect remedy. He suggested Lane bring home someone just like his mom, but Lane said, “I did that, and my dad hated her.” Laughter, Deborah DeFord, 1997, p.20
DINING: Mama D’s diner in Little Rock, Arkansas has addressed one of life’s most perplexing dilemmas for couples eating out. They’ve included a menu option called, “My Girlfriend Is Not Hungry.” Those adding this to their order receive extra fries, chicken wings, or cheese sticks to share with a dinner partner “who underestimates their hunger.” Mama’s D’s Facebook page boasts it’s “a solution for those who tend to dine with people that eat food off their plate.” Time to franchise Mama D’s idea. Examiner, 10/24/19, p.12C
FAMILY: Newton’s law of the Internet states, “For every action there is an unequal and opposite overreaction.” Expect it around family. Reader’s Digest, October 2016, p.41
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