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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

September 2019   Issue 1

 

COLLABORATION: Two California professors installed three seesaws across the border wall between Sunland, New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which allows children on both sides of the border to play together.  Professor Ronald Rael, from the University of California, Berkeley explained that the “Teetertotter Wall” allows children to see how “actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side.”  There are no doubt political underpinnings to this story, yet it provides a visual reminder that life, like seesaws, doesn’t work without collaboration. The Week, 8/16/19, p.16
 
DECISIONS: On September 2, 2019, Justin Bieber made an Instagram post about his poor decisions.  He wrote, “By 20 I made every bad decision you could have thought of and went from one of the most loved and adored people in the world to the most ridiculed, judged and hated person in the world!  I started doing pretty heavy drugs at 19 and abused all of my relationships.  It’s taken many years to bounce back from all of these terrible decisions, fix broken relationships, and change relationship habits.”  Obviously, fame brings about pressures few of us can comprehend, but Bieber’s public confession should serve as a wise warning about the carnage of bad decisions. USA Today, 9/4/19, p.1D
 
EXPERIENCE: In 1961, Colin Turnbull wrote a classic book, The Forest People.  It chronicled fascinating interaction with the BaMbuti Pygmies who lived in the Ituri Forest, which is part of the Congo and can be found near the middle of a map of Africa.  These people of the dense forest had never experienced anything but the forest.  When a Pygmy named Kenge was taken on a trip to the open plains, he encountered a brand-new world.  He saw what he believed to be bugs in front of them so he asked what kind of insects they were.  It was explained that those “insects” were actually buffalo.  Kenge roared with laughter and insisted his guide quit telling him “such stupid lies.”  Because life in the forest never afforded him a view of distant objects, his experience denied the possibility of tiny objects on the horizon being large buffalo.  Forced to confront reality, Kenge learned the lesson most of us take for granted – things look different from a distance.  Like Kenge, we tend to believe our experience is normative and truthful, but it could very well be that our experiences have blinded us to truth. Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert, 2006, p.115
 
FEAR: On his July 30, 2019 Twitter feed, Bob Goff wrote, “Fear and insecurity will always try to talk us into settling for lesser things.” BobGoff@BobGoff, 7/30/19
 
IDENTITY: Sandi Patt(i)y has been singing professionally since 1978 and was one of the top Christian artists until an affair and subsequent divorce altered her life, ministry, and career in the early 1990s.  As the pieces of her life unraveled, and then later began to be restored, she came to grips with underlying issues about her own identity struggles that had plagued her since childhood.  When she was a young, aspiring singer, she was so excited to be with her parents when her debut album arrived.  Her dad cut the box open, and then the three of them spotted the same thing.  Her last name was misspelled.  Rather than Patty, it was Patti.  Her parents made the best of the situation and didn’t act like it was a big deal, but Sandi was in turmoil.  Her lack of confidence and shaken identity left her believing she wasn’t worth the correction.  She thought, who am I to ask for it to be changed?  She thought what mattered to her wasn’t important, so she let her new name define her career.  She laughed it off, pretended it wasn’t significant, and felt powerless to do anything about it.  This dynamic led to bad choices that ultimately hurt her and everyone around her.  After her season of restoration from church leadership, she decided in late 1994 to correct the initial mistake and take on her real identity.  She reclaimed her name as Sandi Patty, and has used that corrected spelling to represent an outward sign of inner healing.  Most of us will never have a platform large enough for people to even know our name, much less misspell it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t suffer from the same issues of internal personal turmoil.  Through Christ we are given the identity of being God’s child (John 1:12) and there’s no identity greater than that. The Voice, Sandi Patty, 2018, p.66 & 136
 
REGRET: Actor Johnny Depp met actress Winona Ryder in 1989 when they co-starred in Edward Scissorhands.  They became a couple, lived together, and were engaged from 1990-1993.  During that time, Depp got a tattoo on his arm that declared “Winona Forever.”  After their messy breakup he had it altered to “Wino Forever.”  When we apply Scripture to every area of our lives, we generally end up with fewer regrets.  Parade, 6/30/19, p.7
 
SUFFERING: Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) was accustomed to suffering.  Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was one of the five young missionaries murdered in the jungle of Ecuador while trying to share the gospel with Auca Indians in 1956.  Her second husband died of cancer, and she herself spent the final years of life dealing with the deterioration of her mind through dementia.  In a new book that shares thoughts never before published, Mrs. Elliot’s definitive words on suffering are written: “Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him.  Because I know that what God wants for me is the very best.”  She went on to state, “It is never for nothing.  And so I say Lord, in Jesus’ name, by Your grace I accept it.”  The relentless search for satisfactory answers about suffering will always prove futile unless we arrive at the same conclusion as she, God can be trusted. Suffering Is Never For Nothing, Elisabeth Elliot, 2019, p.54
 

EVERYDAY HUMOR

 
APOLOGIES: In Peanuts, Marcie explained to Peppermint Patty, “In First-Aid class I learned that if you have offended someone, the best treatment is to apologize immediately.”  We’d do well to think of apologies as part of First-Aid. Houston Chronicle, 10/10/18, p.D9
 
PROFANITY: Need a word for your frustrations that won’t get you in trouble?  Try this one: Chimichanga.  The founder of El Charro Café in Arizona was upset when she fumbled a burrito into some frying oil during 1950.  Not wanting to say anything inappropriate since children were around, she suppressed a word she had in mind and blurted out a nonsensical word that people have been ordering ever since. Reader’s Digest, November 2015, p.138
 
TRUTH: It sounds unbelievable, but it actually happened in a Los Angeles courtroom.  Counsel asked, “Are you telling the truth?”  The prosecutor yelled, “Objection; irrelevant.”  Of course, that happens outside of court too. Law & Disorder, Charles Sevilla, 2014, p.29

 

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