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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

September 2020   Issue 2


ANGER: Much has been shared about Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020) in the days following her death.  In a brief summary of some thoughts in her 2016 book, My Own Words, the Supreme Court Associate Justice said her colleague Sandra Day O’Connor taught her “to waste no time on anger, regret or resentment, just get the job done.”  Ginsburg noted that Antonin Scalia helped her learn to attack ideas, not people, because “some very good people have some very bad ideas.”  The indomitable friendship between Scalia and Ginsburg, judicial polar opposites, reveals the validity of such approaches to those who disagree with us. USA Today, 9/23/20, p.6B
During this pandemic it might be assumed that everyone is miserable, but a national survey of American adults reveals something different.  When asked, “How was your summer?”, the largest response was “average” (38%).  It was almost an even split between “worst ever” (16%) and “good” (14%).  “Bad” accounted for 30% and 2% said it was the “best ever.”  If we didn’t know this survey occurred during a pandemic, it sounds like the responses of any given summer, which reminds us that our attitude is far more important than our circumstances. USA Today, 9/22/20, p.1A
Our days are filled with choices, and those choices have consequences.  When thinking of how you will live today, Mark Batterson offers this powerful reminder: “Don’t wash your hands like Pilate.  Wash feet like Jesus.”  That simple matrix for decisions will change the world if we choose correctly. Play The Man, Mark Batterson, 2017, p.138
Kelly Clarkson summarized the human condition of us all when she said, “I mean, it’s no secret.  My life has been a little bit of a dumpster.”  The Grammy-winning singer was referencing her divorce, yet she reminded us of much more than that.  We are treasured by the Lord, but we’re humbled by that ever-present dumpster scent. People, 9/28/20, p.3
It shouldn’t surprise us that an art school specializing in creativity would come up with a fresh perspective for this unprecedented time in our lives.  A USA Today full-page article shared how art students are exploring the creative process in new ways at the Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix.  The crux of their success in this challenging pandemic was summed up by Monica Sauer Anthony, Vice Principal of Student Services.  She explained with a smile, “Instead of thinking about what we can’t do, we looked at identifying what we can do.”  Imagine what could happen in churches, communities, businesses and families if we focused more on what we can do. USA Today, 9/23/20, p.1D
All organizations naturally migrate towards complexity; never towards simplicity.  These increased complications often hinder progress even though some of them are necessary.  The recent death of Wilford Brimley resurfaced a quote he made about his simple approach to acting.  When he was asked how he prepared for a role, the actor replied, “I get up in the morning and get dressed.”  His no-nonsense approach to life made him a great pitch-man for Quaker Oats (“It’s the right thing to do”) and his demeanor was perfect for Robert Redford’s baseball coach in The Natural.  Simplicity doesn’t require the bar to be lowered; it just means sharpening the focus. People, 8/17/20, p.25
As if there wasn’t enough going on during the pandemic, doctors are now reporting increased incidences of people losing their hair.  We typically lose 50 to 100 hairs per day, but emotional stress can accelerate that loss significantly.  Dr. Emma Guttman-Yassky, incoming chair of dermatology at Mt. Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York City said, “It’s the stress of the situation.” Houston Chronicle, 9/25/20, p.A10
A study by Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and Green Peak Partners examined 72 executives at private and public companies with revenues spanning from $50 million to $5 billion.  In the end, this research concluded, “a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success.”  In the pursuit of achievement, we must have strong self-awareness of who we are and how we operate, what our strengths are as well as our weaknesses, and how we come across to others., 11/18/13
Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was a French philosopher whose name may not be readily known, but his ideas are quite prevalent today.  The year 2020 has vividly displayed his ideology of deconstructionism, and his “death of the author” mindset is rampant.  Dr. Al Mohler explained Derrida’s worldview like this: “a text, whether it’s a novel or, for that matter, the Bible, is to be read by the meaning the reader intends, rather than the author.”  Truth will always be illusive when we elevate ourselves above the author, or Author, and decide what we think the meaning should be. The Briefing, Al Mohler, 9/23/20


FRIENDS: It’s been noted that we are a composite of our five closest friends, and a British zoo seems to confirm that.  In August 2020, five parrots joined a colony of 200 gray parrots at Lincolnshire Wildlife Center and soon created a stir with their penchant for profanity.  Billy, Eric, Tyson, Jade and Elsie had to be separated because they were egging each other on in front of guests.  The zoo’s chief executive, Steve Nichols, said, “Most parrots clam up outside, but for some reason these five relish it.”  He explained that the five little sailors were moved to different areas of the park so they wouldn’t “set each other off.”  For good or for bad, we do tend to be ‘set off’ by our friends. Beaumont Enterprise, 10/1/20, p.A2
RESPONSIBILITY: Bev King was a West Texas Baptist deacon who owned a bank and much of his hometown, Graham, Texas.  He had a huge ranch outside of town but spent a great deal of time at the courthouse square whittling with other retirees.  A young salesman pulled into town one day and was indignant that the only hotel didn’t have a bellman to carry his bags.  He yelled out to Bev and his friends offering a tip for one of them to tote his suitcase up the stairs.  Bev obliged him and the brazen salesman told him about the most amazing ranch he’d ever seen while Bev carried his luggage.  He said the ranch was more impressive than anything he’d seen in West Texas and wondered who owned it.  Bev set down the bags and answered with his Southern drawl, “It belongs to me.”  The visitor smugly asked, “How in the world did you get that ranch?”  Bev simply replied, “Carried my own bags.” Don’t Quit Before You Finish, Jimmy Draper, 2015, p.231 – Dr. Draper’s book is an excellent resource for ministers – especially for mentoring young pastors


IN OTHER WORDS... began in 1991 and is produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry, Senior Pastor of the Westgate Memorial Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas.  Subscribers receive full access to our Web site of over 5,000 illustrations PLUS two email issues per month filled with fascinating facts, quotes, humor, and spiritual illustrations from headline news.  All content is copyrighted.  Visit to start a new subscription or send inquiries to:

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