Why is life the way it is? I mean, take my seasonal job where I take orders over the telephone: The girl in the next seat over got an order from a woman who spoke the same three languages that she herself did. It just made her day! She was all aglow as she told a supervisor that's why she loves this job. I had an outstanding order that day too, ... from the colonel. He wanted to send some items to his son stationed in Germany. When we couldn't send those items because of customs regulations, that was because of our "incompetence." After much searching I found three items we could send that he wanted. Because I didn't know what he wanted and what was possible right off the bat, that was because we were "incompetent" again. When I asked about the spelling of the city in Germany--because it can be spelled two different ways and I was only familiar with the other one--that was because I was "incompetent." When after much searching he couldn't find the German phone number, it was only because of our incompetence. Finally, he was ready to pay with his credit card, but in switching to his speaker phone he broke the connection and I never did get his order; he called the company and had a supervisor take it. When I called him back, he told me this and ascribed it to more of our incompetence.
How can I love my job dealing with characters like that? I'm just glad my dad was only a lieutenant colonel; he was never very happy with me either.
But the girl and I had the same job! It's sorta like these modern Bible translations; some people are very happy with the familiar language, while I find problem after problem until finally they are utterly unusable.
And it's more than that. I bought a jar of peanut butter on sale being at the end of its shelf life. When I opened it I was using a plastic knife to scoop it out, being happy to save on doing dishes. But come to the bottom of the jar, and I'd have broken that dinky little knife trying to get it out. I had to use the regular kitchen knife. Now, why are our tools like that? They'll work happily on the shallow stuff but not on the deep.
Now, take church. We should be respectful of God's house. After the plant where I worked closed down, I took to eating dinner at a charity outlet in a church building. Well, the neighbors got to complaining about the rowdy group lined up there, so the church posted a bunch of rules. Smoking was only to take place in the back and there was to be no violence, either physical or verbal.
By and by, a woman came with her boy who had a violent mouth. I didn't feel it was my place to correct him as he was not my kid and I didn't even know his family. Another night a biker type--black leather jacket, earring, carries a knife--got to discussing with his buddy how they were going to beat up this guy who'd done them wrong. I told him to discuss his violence elsewhere because we have a rule against it here. No, he didn't stick me; he respects people's codes. So why did I feel comfortable rebuking the one and not the other?
Then take women. Now there's an enigma if ever there was one. A girlfriend once told me this other boyfriend of hers wanted to have sex with her. I explained to her why she shouldn't, but she went and did anyway, got pregnant, had his baby, and then he dumped her. She didn't listen to me. But girls calling Dr. Laura get royally scolded by her, and they actually listen. Aside from a single reference in Titus that the older women are supposed to instruct the younger, I know of no explanation for it.
This one gal called Dr. Laura to complain about her husband who wanted her and her friends to speak only English in his house, in America, but they were more comfortable with Spanish. It's politically correct to honor diversity, but Dr. Laura was of the strong opinion that she should respect her husband's wishes. She said it was a matter of courtesy, that if women wanted to stay married, they should not be discourteous to their husbands, and that if she was normally courteous in other areas, she should extend that courtesy to her husband. She told her to tell her friends when they came over, to speak English. "Ingles," was what she told her to say to them, "Ingles."
But I can understand that. I mean, just as I took the time to go over the rules posted at that church dinner, I've done the research to know what God wants spoken in his churches. In his English-speaking churches in America, he wants us "in matters of high concernment, [to] habitually use the same words, and appeal to the same formulas"221 given in the dialect of the KJV. From Malachi we understand that God is insulted if we don't give him even the same honor ascribed to our earthly masters and authorities. If a woman honors her husband enough to tell her friends in her house to speak Ingles, then out of honor to God, I'll tell those in American churches to use the KJV in the service and reserve the NIV for trivial matters, just as I'd tell the smokers on those church grounds to do it around back.
I once was taken to court, by some Christians no less, because I was honoring the Ten Commandments, in particular the one that says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain." The rest of it says, "For the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Although the original decision went against me (it was later overturned by a higher court), it ultimately went bad for my opponents and everyone who attached himself to their sin regardless of his position, because as the NIV puts it, "The LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." I used The New Idiots Version when dealing with idiots.
Then there was the woman who wanted a Bible quote for her natural health business, so I gave her one in Isaiah about the eagles renewing their strength, in the NIV, for her to use, mixed in with her Tarot and all kinds of nonsense. The NIV is fine for nonsense applications, just as smoking is allowed in back.
I'm not like a policemen in America going down the line telling the bums to extinguish their butts outside God's house, but if one of them lights up around me, I'll tell him the score, and when it wasn't a non-smoking line, they could at least avoid smoking in the enclosed shelter by the door, and I would expect preachers to at least avoid using the New International version in a traditional service.
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Copyright © 2002, Earl S. Gosnell III
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.
Permission is hereby granted to use this paper--with credit given, of course--in intellectually honest non-profit educational material.
Any particular questions or requests for permissions may be addressed to me, the author.
Scripture quotation marked NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION or NIV was taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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