I’ve been aware of two good reasons to stop when you see the stop sign open out on the side of a bus:
1. You don’t want to hit kids.
2. You don’t want people to think you’re an over-rushed weasel.

But I recently witnessed (at my daughter’s bus stop) a car drive past one of these stop signs and was shown another reason:

3. Bus drivers have radios at their disposal with which they can call in your license plate number. And as you drive by them, they are not moving, making it very easy for them to do so.

It might be wise, when choosing the shower head that you might be using in the years and decades before you move out of your house, to choose one that costs more than six dollars.

I’d just like to note in passing that the word “comfortable” is one that almost all speakers …
1. Mispronounce (Comfterble vs. Comfortable)
and
2. Use incorrectly or non-literally.

When we say someone is comfortable, we don’t mean they are are able to be comforted, but they are already comforted.

I’ve already listed two reasons why I wear a tie to church.

Here’s a third reason: My wife thinks I look good in a tie.

Your mileage may vary.

(By the way, Andy says this should be my first reason.)

Hello, Manufactures of Gasoline – while I appreciate the low prices of the current market, I’d be willing to pay more on average. Could we just compromise and agree to a fixed moderate price of, oh say, $3? For the next five years?

The Internet’s Contravolution of a Popular Idiom

The idiom “Apples to Oranges” is a phrase I like because it is such a helpful and efficient way of saying (to most English speakers) a fairly complex idea. It expresses the idea that two things are different enough so that comparison between the two is somewhat ridiculous.

But what about a situation, in arguments or discussions, where “Apples and Oranges” doesn’t work to capture the situation adequately? What if (for example) the two items are significantly disparate and different that comparing them is significantly more wrong-minded than comparing Oranges and Apples? Both of them are fruit, after all. And they’re both round and … so forth.

What idiom do people use in such a situation? I’m glad you asked. For as I did a Google search, I learned that people have (many, many times in internet history) wanted to express this but they’ve done it in different ways.

Very different ways.

For example …

ApplesandOranges1A. Some writers use a creative way to say the items in question are okay to compare (and the compared items really are just apples):

[For the record – all of these lists include only real examples I found on the internet and I have kept the italics untouched. Also the spelling and punctuation]

— It’s not apples and oranges, its granny smith vs golden delicious.

— It’s not apples and oranges; it’s two different kinds of apples.

— … were not apples and oranges, but more like apples and half apples.

— it’s not apples and oranges. McIntosh and Granny Smith might be more apt.

— It’s not apples and oranges, it’s apples and exploding apples

— Success and failure, as far as hedge funds were concerned, were not apples and oranges, but perhaps, first-rate apples and second-rate apples.

ApplesandOranges2– It’s not apples and oranges, it’s 300 green apples vs 1 or 2 red ones.

— Like I’ve said, it’s not apples and oranges – it’s just a lot a little tiny apples – or applesauce – but it’s still apples.

— For in fact it’s not apples and oranges, it’s apples all the way down.

But most of them need a way to indicate comparison of the objects is more unwise than comparing Apples and Oranges. For example ….

ApplesandOranges3

B. Some of them choose foods that are more disparate than Apples and Oranges:

— That’s not apples and oranges. Its Apples and Lemons.

— It’s not apples and oranges…its more like apples and bacon

— It’s not apples and oranges, its apples and turnips

That’s not apples and oranges, that’s apples and Tang.

— But when heterogeneity becomes too large, you might end up combining not apples and oranges but apples and onions.

— Ironic it may be, but this is not Apples and Oranges, it’s Apples and Meat in some sort of funny way.

— Our personality contrast is not apples and oranges – it’s apples and three-month-old-leftover-tuna-casserole.

— When we look more closely at The Body’s Way, strength and flexibility are most definitely not apples and oranges, but rather … um … a delicious layered apple and orange parfait.

— That’s not apples and oranges, it’s apples and BBQ ribs or something.

(It’s the ‘or something’ that makes this my favorite of this group).

ApplesandOranges4

C. Others feel like comparing food to food is still too similar to compare to what’s happening in the debate at hand.

— Its not apples and oranges, its apples and cars.

— ‘It’s not apples and oranges; it’s apples and bricks

— It’s not apples and oranges its apples and jackhammers.

Thats not apples and oranges, thats apples and astroids in another solar system.

— WOW thats not apples and oranges thats apples and the the space shuttle!

That’s not apples and oranges. That’s apples and prostitutes.

— You can’t compare puppies to babies. That’s not apples and oranges, that’s apples and babies.

That’s not apples and oranges; that’s apples and decorative bars of soap.

That’s not apples and oranges. That’s apples and elephants, maybe even apples and

aircraft carriers.

— it’s not apples and oranges, it’s apples and friggin hand-grenades.

— That’s not apples and oranges. That’s apples and monkeys. Not even the same species*

— That’s not apples and oranges, its apples and flying space monkeys.

For brevity sake, I’ll just say that other items that writers thought were more different from apples than oranges include ..

(That’s not apples and oranges – that’s apples and ….)

Chartreuse, doorbells, row boats, panzer tanks, telephones, pear trees, porcupines, moon rocks, BMWs, Rocks, Sewing Machines, hex bolts, turtles, carburetors, screw-drivers, playing a piano, cement, ICBMs, ammo, rocket ships, light bulbs, tablecloths, orangutangs, and lugnuts.

 

D. But for some, comparing apples to any object was too coherent. They chose more esoteric paths:

— That’s not apples and oranges – that’s apples and playing a piano.

— It’s not apples and oranges. It’s apples and black holes.

… not apples and oranges but apples and ideas about apples.

— HTML version and CSS version are separate and unrelated things: not “apples and oranges” but “apples and green”.

— Stop. You’re comparing apples and unicorns. Not apples and oranges; oranges exist in reality.

— That’s not apples and oranges; it’s apples and non-Newtonian physics.

— It’s not apples and oranges: it’s apples and buses, where one party can’t begin to imagine buses.

That’s not apples and oranges, that’s institutionalized segregation/wage slavery and oranges.

— They are not apples and oranges. They are apples and the French Revolution.

E. I feel here I must include the set of those whose author didn’t want either apples or oranges in the second half of the phrase.

— That’s not apples and oranges; it’s cars and coconuts

— That’s not apples and oranges. It’s cupcakes and anvils.

— It’s not apples and oranges. It’s magnolias and six-shooters.

— It’s not apples and oranges — it’s covered wagons and starships

— Seriously though…it’s not apples and oranges. It’s like saying you can’t compare a sports car and communter car.

— … is comparing not apples and oranges, but bananas to lawn chairs.

— That’s not apples and oranges, its a spec of dust and the entire planet.

— It’s not apples and oranges, it’s watermelons and glockenspiels.

— it’s not apples and oranges. it’s a human body with a dog head. In proportion. In proportion!**

F. And then there are some that had appeared to have lost the path altogether. Like they started out in the right mindset with the apples and oranges idiom, but something went really wrong.

— Its not apples and oranges, its whether or not a country is being held to reparations.

— It’s not apples and oranges, its religous freedom.

That’s not apples and oranges, that’s chicken and egg. [This one kind of warps my brain a little bit]

— Its not apples and oranges, its common **** sense.

— Its not Apples and Oranges, Its truth and lies.

— Space and time were not apples and oranges, but mates—joined, homologous, inseparable.

G. And here are category-defying entries that I threw in, just for the fun of it.

— It’s not apples and oranges. it’s apples and carrots. the only things that are similar are batman, video game and arkham universe.

— This is a book about fruit, but not apples and oranges. The other fruit. This is a book about sex, but not just sex. Sex is never alone.

— Kanye interrupted an acceptance speech. Chris beat on his girlfriend. That’s not apples and oranges. That’s apples and domestic battery

— It’s not apples and oranges, it’s where Magic Hat stole the name of that beer. Period.

— It’s not apples and oranges. It’s more like bananas and sucking out the inside of an orange with a shop vac.

And finally, from a Superman Vs Goku discussion:

— It’s not apples and oranges. It’s applying a principle to a feat and then applying the same principle to other feats

In any case – I think it’s clear – humanity can get very random when it wants to.

* Yes, for the record, in case you weren’t aware of it – apples and monkey are a different species.

** Second ‘In proportion’ added.

I’ve already mentioned one reason I wear a tie at church. Here’s another:

I wear a tie so that other guys who wear ties don’t feel goofy or out of place.

We’ve all been there. We’re talking to one of our pastors who is soon to be giving a sermon and we want to say something that will encourage and inspire them as they prepare to open the Word for our congregation. Maybe they’re an associate pastor who very rarely gives the sermon. Maybe ‘speaking in public’ isn’t their forte. Or maybe they place ‘speaking in public’ between ‘being crawled on by large spiders’ and ‘dying’ as they rank their list of fears.

So you want to be helpful. But be careful – there are some remarks that aren’t as encouraging as you might think. And since lead pastors might be taking vacations during the upcoming holidays forcing non-lead ministers to give the Sunday message, I thought now might be a good time, as a handy resource, to list a few of them. So here are …

Five Comments you might think are encouraging/helpful for a pastor about to give a sermon, but actually aren’t:

1. The Video:

Hey, Reverend – you may notice the video recorder in the back, saving for all of posterity every single word you say as you expound on Second Chronicles. But don’t worry – most likely only a few people will see it when they post it on the church website next week. Like your mom. Oh, that’s right, she doesn’t use the internet. So it might be nobody. That is, unless you accidentally say something horrifically embarrassing. Then it’ll go viral and the whole world will watch that seven second clip over and over. But then you’d be famous. So it’s win/win.

Reason it’s not helpful: People in the pews might be distracted by his strained and singular focus on the camera lens.

2. The Research:

I must say, I’m really impressed. The massive amount of inquiry it must take to give a sermon on Matthew 5 … well it must just occupy weeks and weeks to read all of the commentaries to make sure you’re not saying something ridiculous about the text. Studying the greek, listening to famous 19th century preachers exposition, reading the text (and the context) in several different versions (including the ‘Message’). And don’t forget the really popular bloggers! Why, if I hadn’t spent a whole bunch of days exegeting, I’d be sure I’d missed something crucial, decisive, fundamental and/or essential. I’d feel like I was flying blind. So it’s just great that you’ve made sure to do all that.

Reason it’s not helpful: Your pastor, knowing that he’s done each of those things, might be tempted towards pride.

3. The Obvious:
Pastor, I was just reading James 3 the other day – you know the part that says, “Not many of you should become teachers because we know that teachers will be judged with greater strictness.” Yeah, that part. Well, you’re a braver man than I am. I’d be all – what if I say something about the church (for example) that’s different from what the bible says? A great, big, extra helping of judgment in the form of a rabid jaguar, recently escaped from the local zoo, that’s what, maybe!

Reason it’s not helpful: Some scholars feel the word “teacher” here only applies to those speaking to modestly sized groups of people of less than a dozen or so*.

4. The Inflammation.

What’s that, Reverend? It’s not your goal to offend this Sunday’s service attenders? No, no, that’s your job! You want them to think, and the best way to do this is to dive headlong into really, really controversial topics. No, no, I don’t think it will get you into trouble with the elders. They’ll just say, “What happens in the pulpit, stays in the pulpit.” The very angry letters you receive you can just laugh off as “small-minded”. And really, letters from our church constituency to the denominational leadership demanding forced resignations are fairly rare.

Just think over and over – “Not peace, but a sword …. Not peace, but a sword.”

Reason it’s not helpful: What if he says something you disagree with?

5. The Equipment:
I can’t help but notice that you’re using one of those teeny tiny very-near-your-face skin colored stick microphones. Well, be careful. My wife’s brother’s mother in law once was using one of those and it slipped and she accidentally stabbed herself. In her ear**. She had to go to the emergency room and everything. The doctors were calling other doctors over: “Hey, this lady split open her eardrum with something other than a q-tip!”

So, you know… Don’t do that.

Reason it’s not helpful: Your pastor might be tempted to use the “pierced eardrum” excuse to get out of preaching.
===

In short, if the pastor you’re “encouraging” cringes or starts to back away as you’re talking with him, you might want to try a different approach. Like maybe just, “I’ll pray for you.”

Did I miss any?

* Actually, no scholars feel that. And I don’t know why a zoo’d even keep a rabid jaguar.
** True story. And no, the pastor I told it to was not encouraged.

After more than a year of writing, recording, mixing and mastering – we’ve finally finished the new set of songs.

Here’s our sample video (it’s bluegrass!)

..

Here’s the link to the Amazon page

Here’s the link to the iTunes page

And here’s the official description:

“This CD contains 39 helpful and encouraging songs – passages from fourteen books of the Bible.
Featuring the talents of 35 musicians (adults and children), the musical styles are varied, including folk, jazz, pop, blue grass, doo-wop, string quartet and even Gregorian chant. The arrangements are designed so that you will enjoy listening to them and will learn the songs quickly and easily.
 
Here are some of the familiar passages on this CD: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6) — The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) — Unless the Lord builds the house those who build it labor in vein (Psalm 127:1) — “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25-26) — Fear not, for I am with you (Isaiah 41:10) — “My Sheep hear my voice and I know them” (John 10:27-30).
 
Every Fighter VerseTM Songs CD includes word-for-word Bible passages (English Standard Version) set to music. These passages are specifically selected to help believers fight the fight of faith. The Fighter VerseTM Songs also coordinate with the Fighter VerseTM Bible memory program from Children Desiring God. Your children will memorize scripture without even trying-and so will you!”

The next time someone in your sphere of people bothers you because they are too nice, or too harsh, or too happy or two-level headed or too flighty or too … consider:

Perhaps God put them in this situation as a counter to your effect on it.

There is a non-trivial subset of the population that experiences a temporary loss of peace and sanity (if only at a low level) if they have to eat food on a styrofoam plate. I recommend other materials for serving food to your guests.

As I understand it, the English language (as used in America today) has two meanings for the word “Fail”.

1. Being unable to meet a goal (even if you did real, extensive and competent work towards meeting the goal).

2. Being unable to meet a goal because you didn’t really try or because you tried in a poor manner.

Generally speaking, our culture doesn’t call you a “failure” unless you’ve failed in the second way.

If you’ve failed in the first way, you needn’t be ashamed.

In modern day America, it is often the case that when someone says, “Thank God!” they actually mean, “Finally, I’m getting what I deserve.” So instead of humble thankfulness, this phrase indicates bitter entitlement.

This is very close to using the Lord’s name in vain.

 

If you are talking to someone, take off your sunglasses. Your eyes are valuable to the conversation.

 

 

In the entire set of lyrics in the song “Bless the LORD (Ten Thousand Reasons)” there is exactly one rhyming couplet.

Two years ago today, August 1st, 2012, Pastor Jason started as Bethlehem’s ‘Associate Pastor for Preaching & Vision‘*. I thought I’d commemorate the date by posting some of the funny quotes from his sermons since then. As always, these quotes are completely out of context and are from his sermons. I hope you enjoy them.

31 Funny Quotes from Pastor Jason Meyer

I get so many sweet notes of encouragement. In fact, even when you ask me to do something, it’s given in such a sweet way that I just love it. Like: Will you please look at the camera more? Oh! Yes! Thank you! I love you! Thank you for telling me that! I’m going to try to do better about that.

[Regarding calling other Christians ‘brother’ and ‘sister’] I work very hard not to use those words as a cover-up when I can’t remember a name. Hi Pastor Jason! Oh, hi … brother!

Let’s go with me into a labor room. What do you see there? Well, I’ll tell you, what you shouldn’t see. This is an awful trick for a dad. They give you one of those things that measure contractions? You know what I’m talking about? So that the contraction’s there on the little machine and you see it going up like this and you’re tempted to think, “Oh, that was a small one, why are you in such pain? Oh that- I see now, that was a big one.” But see … never … no. No. Husbands, no! They should not have those machines in there.

But what you do see in one of those rooms is never this. You never see a woman, after she goes through such horrible pain (I’ve never seen pain like that, as when I saw my wife in labor) But here’s what you’ll never see: When the baby is handed to the mother, you’ll never see a mother say, “I went through all that for this? That wasn’t worth it.” You never see that. And you never will. Because the pain is swallowed up in Joy.

Do you want to know my new year’s resolution? I’ll tell you my new year’s resolution. It’s to spread a passion for the Supremacy of God in all things for the Joy of all people through Jesus Christ. If you think that’s cheating, it’s not!

[Regarding his early fatherhood] I could not feed my daughters without opening my mouth. My wife and I used to joke about this – no, you don’t need to open your mouth.

Women find it hard to stand that men have a ‘nothing box’. You know, you’re driving somewhere, “What are you thinking about?” “Nothing.” And we really mean it!

When Pastor John came to my office to see if I was interested in being a candidate, one of the questions he asked me was, “Are you somebody that doodles about structure?” I said, “No… Are you?” And he said, “Yeah.”

You can be called a Yankee very quickly if you say things like ‘Pop’.

Let me talk to the kids for a moment: Kids, you may not do this in your family but it’s amazing in most families how we can study our brothers and sisters to learn how to ‘provoke’ them. How to get a rise out of them. I didn’t just do that with my brothers and sisters I did that with my dad, too. And I found it to be a sinful pleasure to provoke him because he was such a laid back guy. To get a rouse out of him at all was really doing something. So I found out that if I would stand behind him and flick his ears …. and keep doing it, there was a battle of wills going on … eventually he would: Jason, would you stop it already! And I would feel a smug sense of satisfaction that I had gotten a response out of him. So, kids let’s be clear: I’m not calling you to do that. I don’t want any letters from angry fathers getting their ears flicked. I’m calling you to provoke something positive.

“It’s not good to hide it under a bushel, No! Right?”

[Jesus and the fig tree] It’s not an injustice on a tree!

I want people to turn to 2 Corinthians 11. Everybody look it up. It will be worshipful to hear pages turning.

Someone asked me “What book are you going to be preaching on” and I said, “Second Corinthians” and he said, “Why? Are you mad at us already?”

All of the members of the Godhead are in your salvation. Think you might make it?

[On using ‘Caught in a trap’ as a sermon illustration] I almost didn’t do it because it was so clever, but then I remembered that Pastor John quoted Bono, so I thought I could quote Elvis.

If you don’t like nuance, you don’t like the Bible.

I wouldn’t join a church that couldn’t kick me out.

If I was really good I could have thought of four P’s, but I wanted to be more correct than clever.

You’re not going to go to Home Depot and go to the parapet aisle.

The sovereignty of God allows you to share the gospel without being a jerk.

When I was a kid, I heard people say, “Heaven is like an eternal church service”. So what I did as a kid is I took my church service, which bored me to death, and multiplied it out through all eternity. And it wasn’t good news.

God helps those who help themselves – Baloney!

There’s another word that I coined for ‘messiness’. It’s called ‘normal’.

So many questions can be answered by reading the next verse.

[About symbolism and writing romantically] It’s going to read differently than a medical document, or you write really bad love letters.

Chocolate-covered crosses? Chocolate-covered torture devices? Chocolate-covered electric chairs? … So I was waxing eloquent to my kids about how we don’t have chocolate crosses and Kara leaned over and whispered “I got chocolate crosses this year.” So chocolate crosses: It’s not sinful, it’s just strange.

I would like to sing – Just once! – “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” the week after Easter.

When we hear the phrase ‘Pedal to the Metal’ ministry, we think, “I don’t have much under the hood”.

[On poor grades and boasting] No one can boast in their ‘F’. No one can say, “My ‘F’ is better than yours”

It’s kind of like when you go through a drive through and you order a 2 or something and they say, “Would you like me to supersize that for you?” Now the answer to that question, by the way, is “no”. The last thing we need is more salt and grease and sugar. But if God asks you, would you like paradise supersized, the answer is, “Oh yes, Supersize away!”

My favorite analogy for this is when I was growing up I watched the movies “Back to the Future” It think part two was my favorite. My favorite name for a villain in any movie is “Biff”. Remember him? Biff, he goes back to the future gets the sports almanac and then he can bet on all the games because he knows who’s gonna win, becomes very wealthy. I remember thinking as a kid, he would be a real idiot if he knew who was going to win and didn’t bet on that team . . . and then it dawned on me: we have the Almanac.

* For the record, 4 months later when the transition was completed, they took the word “Associate” off his title.

====

I’d sure be interested to hear your favorites!

Here are some other posts about Pastor’s Meyer and Piper:

Nine Piper-Meyer Myths Dispelled

John Piper Good Quotes: Part 7 (The Last)

Good Quotes from Pastor Meyer

Good Words To Soon-To-Be Pastor Meyer

Tuesday Tip: Memo To Pastor Meyer

I found this under the heading “Main Things” – in a document I wrote, dated 11/24/1998

Always do either what you should do or what you like doing. If possible, do things that are both, but never do things that are neither. . i.e. don’t do something you don’t enjoy just to avoid doing what you should do.

 

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who say “There are two kinds of people in the world, those who say ‘There are two kinds of people in the world,’ and those who don’t,” and those who don’t.

[I could have made this longer, but I was limited by punctuation]

 

 

 

 

Whenever I compliment someone, and they say, “I’ll take that as a compliment”, it makes me nervous.

One of the sons of my former pastor wrote a book about what it’s like to be a pastor’s kid. It’s a good book. Here’s my review.

Let’s first get the negatives out of the way –

1. It’s a bit repetitive. I would have liked to have had a chance to edit this book.

2. It’s not clear how representative this book is. Barnabas says right up front that research and statistics is not his forte and that he wouldn’t be providing numerical data. This is too bad, because I’d really be interested to know how universal these issues are with PKs.

Not too harsh, I trust?

Here are some positives:

1. It’s illustrative.

If you’ve ever wanted a good description, filled with anecdotes, of what it’s like to be a Pastor’s kid, here you have it. This is a book who’s existence makes the world better, for that reason alone.

2. It’s not all negative.

A major aspect of this book is “These are the hard things that PKs have to deal with”.  And they are hard. But I was grateful for the last chapter, in which Barnabas lists for us some of the upsides of being a PK. It was refreshing.

And being a Bethlehem Baptist Church member, I was happy to see the word “Forward by John Piper” on the cover. Because I assumed (correctly) that this meant that this wasn’t going to be an angry book of harsh stories. About the worst thing he has to say about Pastor John is that he always drives the speed limit.

3. It’s a book I would recommend to many people for different reasons.

- For all people in churches who are going to be ministering to (or otherwise dealing with) pastor’s kids (for example, Sunday school teachers and youth leaders and other kid’s parents) – I encourage them to get this book for chapters two and three which lists out the unrealistic expectations that many have for pastor’s kids.

For all pastor’s kids, I would recommend that they read … well all of it – but chapter four “Identity Crisis” is especially helpful, challenging and perhaps hard to read, but is ultimately uplifting.

For all pastors, I would recommend they read chapters six and seven which explains how their kids need them – with ideas like “Laugh, play, be affectionate”, and “have hobbies”.

For all dads who are trying to parent in a strong Christian environment, I recommend chapter five and six. Many of the ideas apply to all dads (and all parents). One of the ideas I found most intriguing is that we should apologize to our children with specific sins (i.e. don’t just admit, “I’m a sinful dad”). It’s good stuff.

For all church going people, the book provides many thoughts on what we should and should not expect of pastors and (directly and indirectly) their kids.

4. It delves into the Gospel.

Barnabas asks the question – what does a PK need? His answer is Grace.

“It is the grace of God that allows anyone to make headway in the struggles to overcome sin. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that enables followers of Jesus to make good decisions in the face of temptations, and the spirit lives in anyone who acknowledge Jesus as their Savior, as the one and only means to get right with God. The ultimate grace was the sacrifice of the perfect, sinless Jesus for the sake of all humanity to give up His heavenly glory, live a human life and agonizingly die on the grotesque cross so that we would not have to face eternal punishment of dishonoring the perfect God.”

Barnabas Piper says that a PK needs grace from his parents, his need grace from the church, he needs to show grace towards his family and his church and he ultimately and most importantly needs the eternal grace that only God can give him.

This rings true. For each PK and for all of us.

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