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If not who, then when? If not where, then why? — Questions to ask when pondering the question, “What question should we ask?”

How To Visualize Your Prediction of How The General Election Will Affect Our Country’s Future

[As the reader, please just stipulate for the sake of this post that I am excellent at creating visual graphics.]

In this essay I will be presenting of a visualization of what I think about the presidential election and how it will affect America. Also how Donald Trump is different. I’m asking you to consider whether or not you agree. I think it’s likely that you will, assuming you’re a normal, well-adjusted voter.

Here we go.

Like most people, I’m a bit disillusioned about the political process. Generally speaking, I don’t hold out a lot of hope that any president will make that big of a difference in the grand scheme of the course of the nation.

So, for example, as a voter who generally chooses Republicans on my ballots, I do so with the hope that the Republican will win and the expectation that if he does, things will get better. But, and this is important, not necessarily a lot better.

So as you might imagine, like most sane conservatives, I was looking forward to Ted Cruz (or, you know, Rubio, or Kashich) getting the GOP nomination, and then the presidency. And assuming this happened, this is how I had pictured that future, probabilistically speaking.


Looking at the picture you’ll see that I, like all humans, don’t know the future, and I can only make guesses. Perhaps Cruz would have been amazing and great strides of progress would have happened in the U.S. of A. Or perhaps he would have done poorly and things would have gotten worse. But I was laying odds that things would get better – probably slightly to moderately better.

But it looks like that isn’t going to happen now; Cruz is out of the picture and perhaps we’ll have Hillary Clinton as our next Commander In Chief. Here’s my guess as to how that might work out.


So you can see that I had similar uncertainty, but I was expecting things to get moderately, or at least minimally worse in our great land.

Nota bene, if you primarily vote Democrat, you could just switch the colors (blue to red and red to blue) and the names and they would be pretty close to what you think.*

I mean, right? Wouldn’t you agree? I’m guessing yes – looking into the next four years, the normal, slightly cynical voters picture something like these pictures. And not just for this election, but as they picture the country with every presidential candidate since they’ve been old enough to vote. Every four years.

But … Trump. What do we do with Trump? What do we think will happen with Trump as our president?
How about this?


Yes, the outlook is different. It’s not going to be a little better or a little worse. The results are going to be more extreme. Much more extreme. There are a couple issues that are important to me that I agree with him on (at least as he states it now) and if he stands by those long-held convictions**, things might be golden. But I fear it’s much more likely that earth shattering, ground shaking insanity might emanate from a Trump White House and spring forth from sea to shining sea. (Yes, if you’re wondering, I did choose the color by taking a pixel sample of his hair)

What will happen? In 2018, will we be looking back fondly at the days of legislative gridlock? Will small and midsized nations be attacking us out of principle? Will comedians stop making jokes because the situation is simply not funny anymore? Will Donald ‘build a wall’ around our country’s heart so thick that we can’t be hurt by anyone, even those who love us most, and make Megyn Kelly pay for it?***

The question – Who knows what our status will be after four years of Trump? And sir, the answer: No one – least of all Trump, I fear. Thus I visualize the odds going off the chart towards the bad. But like I say, I’m not God. I don’t know the future.

Time will tell, my friends. Only time will tell.

* And yes, I did just google, “What does ‘nota bene’ mean?”
** Scare italics.

[So regarding guessing your thoughts about these matters, how’d I do? Was I close?]



Headline from local paper this week: “Lyme disease on the uptick in Minnesota”.

I’m imagining the editor thinking, “See what I did there?”

Yep. We see it.

Yesterday my seven year old did what Donald Trump couldn’t: Say “2 Corinthians” correctly on his first try.

Nothing says, “My Love for you will soon fade away and leave messy dead organic material all over your counter,” like flowers.

For the past few months, our adult Sunday School class has been taught by Andy Naselli, who went through the book of 1 Corinthians. He led us in some very intriguing and helpful discussions about a wide range of topics sparked by this engaging epistle. He has the entire book memorized, and each Sunday he recited the passage that we were to discuss on that day. The emotion he put into Paul’s words made this part of each class a highlight.

Andy is thoughtful, caring and knowledgeable, and he’s also quite funny. I started writing down some of his more humorous statements.

Here are 28 of them, all completely taken out of context:

28 Funny Quotes from Andy Naselli

1. Microsoft Word doesn’t like Greek words. They’re all underlined in red.

2. [Describing what a diatribe is] You do both sides of a conversation. Like it’s kind of fun after an argument. You do this and come back and win it.

3. You guys are ESV Study Bible owners, probably. It’s the inspired study Bible.

4. [Regarding mocking Christianity] I’m sure it’s all over TV. Can any of you testify? Now be careful – don’t say “yes”.

5. I’m memorizing 1 Corinthians 13 and I’m saying over and over again “Love is not irritable” and then I have to spend time with my kids.

6. So Don, you’ll probably get this in Year 4. So don’t write all this down.

7. [Attempting to recite part of First Corinthians] Nevertheless … [to class] Right? … Yet? … Same thing.

8. I’m all about processed food.

9. I’ll answer my own question, it’ll be faster.

10. Tom is a hard core guitarist who likes drums, so he can be our stronger brother.

11. I’m not saying you should grow long hair. We’ll talk about that in chapter 11.

12. You might think your dog has a conscience. It doesn’t have a conscience.

13. Some people like to say, “Don’t go to fast food. Don’t go to fast food.” My response is, “What if it’s Chick-fil-A?” Gotcha. Because that’s Christian fast food.

14. [regarding the shortness of time] We’re on page five of eight. This is hopeless!

15. [While talking about the ‘Do not deprive one another’ section] Everyone’s afraid to talk right now.

16. This is the section I wrote my paper on [on head coverings]. This week I went back and read it. And you’re not going to see it, so don’t ask for it.

17. I wanted to show you my [wedding] vows. My vows have footnotes.

18. [When Andy found out his handout sheets were put together wrong – while reciting the “One body with many members” section] Someone’s head’s gonna roll. Just kidding! Just kidding! We don’t want that part of the body.

19. Did you say prophesy? No? I read your lips wrong. But you were thinking it, weren’t you?

20. If we’re late, and we are, it’s her fault.

21. Since you’re the longest standing member, I’ll give you the last word.

22. [at the end of a class] We’re done… But I’ll let one more [ask a question] because you have a sad face.

23. [After someone gave some advice to help with getting his computer working] Thanks, ‘reseat-your-cable’ guy.

24. [Regarding a controversial part of the Bible] We might think that, but is there any other text that might clarify? Let’s just read the next three lines and see what happens.

25. Do you know how big a question you just asked? I teach a whole course–four credits, and it’s basically that question.

26. [Regarding a portion of the last chapter of 1 Corinthians] If you think that was hard to follow, try memorizing it.

27. If this has any interest for you, there’s a book that I’d recommend that came out this month. I forgot the title but it has the word ‘trinity’ in it, somewhere, I think.

28. [After attempting to explain a confusing part of the text] I know that’s kind of lame. You try! [whispering] Really, I have know clue what this means. [Louder] Ready to move on? …. No, this isn’t of first importance, it’s of tenth importance.

By the way, if you’re interested in reading some Funny John Piper Quotes, here you go.

I thought you might be interested in an odd thing that is happening with this, the Responsible Puppet blog.

Last September, I posted a Tuesday Stand Alone Statement about not wearing sunglasses when you’re talking to someone. To be honest, it was an inconsequential post.

So I was surprised when it slowly became one of my more popular post. I didn’t get it.

I have since learned, thanks to a helpful commenter, that if you go to Google Images and search on ‘sunglasses’ the third image links back to that post. For who knows why?

In the last month, it’s gotten more than 860 hits.

And here’s what makes me feel guilty: I just grabbed that photo off the internet somewhere. I can’t find it. I’ve tried, because I’d like to update that post to link back to it.

For the record, I no longer do that. I’ve learned my lesson: Now I try to make sure photos link back to the source (often Wikipedia).

In any case, I’m letting you know. Maybe you could go to the google search and click on my link. If enough people do that – it could go to position 2!

Update: Okay in creating the image for this post, I’ve found the source, but it just brings you to an error page if you click on it. So maybe I feel a little less guilty.


I’d just like to note in passing that the word “comfortable” is one that almost all speakers …
1. Mispronounce (Comfterble vs. Comfortable)
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.

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 ….


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).


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.

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.

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

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]





“Wow,” I thought, “An on-line ad for a car insurance company that suggests that it can save me money! I need to look into this.”

I perused the information provided. And I considered it.


If it had said, “Different Coverage for Less” I would have been less interested. But the ad clearly said, “Same Great Coverage For Less”. I thought, “Really?” but it confirmed this bit of knowledge three times, as if to answer me reassuringly, “Really.”

They truly had a clear picture of my situation: Indeed, I do work hard for my money. It’s scary how much the ad-writers know!

In fact, I was beginning to think that a friend of mine had ‘shared’ this company’s information with me, when I noted the text, “Sponsored” near the top. It was just a matter of good fortune that it came up as I scrolled. In any case, I was ready to act.

I wasn’t sure how to, though, until I spotted the handy “Learn More” button. Why, that’s exactly what I wanted to do!

So I clicked it and it brought me to a handy form to fill out my information. It took several minutes, but I thought, “I do want to ‘start saving today’, not later.”

And thus I endeavored to fill out the form, ignorant of that to which I was unaware of.

I admit, I should have noticed the clues. When they asked “How many models do you want to insure?” and the options were “0-20″,”20-50″,”50-100” and “more than 100” I thought, “Who owns more than a hundred cars?” But still I pressed on.

But then it asked, “Estimated Average Value of all Models” and the options were “0-$1”, “$1-$10” and “$10-$60”, and the like.

I thought, obviously this is a typo. I should let them know. They will be grateful. So I called the number at the bottom of the page and spoke with a personable insurance agent.

After we exchanged pleasantries, I said, “So anyway, surely your dollar ranges must be incorrect.”

And she said, “Oh, here we go again.”

And I said, “Oh, I see. It must be the case that you’ve been told numerous times about this error but your IT website developing programmer has yet to update the page and that is why you sound so miffed and/or irate.”

And she said, “No, that is not the case.”

And I said, “Oh, well, then it must be the case that it is a known issue with my browser software, Inter-Awesome”

And she said, “No, that is not the case.”

And I asked, “Please tell me then what is the case.”

And she said, “What you should, but clearly don’t, know, is that our company only insures Die-Cast toy cars.”

And after a few seconds I, being a bit stunned and confused, repeated, “Die-Cast T–”

And she impatiently interrupted, “You know – like hot wheels and matchbox cars”

And after a few seconds I, still being a bit stunned and confused, again repeated, “Hot wheels and Matchb–”

And she again, but with more ire apparent in her tone, interrupted a second time, “The ad couldn’t have been more clear! It’s obviously a small toy in the image! There’s a hand holding it! Did you think it to be a giant grotesque perversion of a human hand holding a full-size navigable vehicle?!?!”

And I thought, “I wonder how many exclamation points and questions marks I should add at the end of her last remark when I transcribe this interchange.” I decided upon two exclamation points and two question marks, respectively. In any case, I re-looked at the original image and saw that she was speaking accurately.


So I said out loud, “I see. That makes sen-”

And she, a third time, and with yet even greater emphasis, interrupted again, “I told that dratted marketer this was going to happen! I said, they’re going to think we’re selling insurance for real cars! The kind you drive! And he said, ‘I’ll put in a picture of a hand holding the car.’ And then he chuckled, he CHUCKLED, and said, ‘I’m sure that will make it clear enough for even the least-smart Facebook viewer’. But obviously he was wrong and his dratted chuckling was misplaced!”

And I thought, “next question – when transcribing, what word should I use to replace that very offensive word that she used not once, but twice in her exasperated rant.” I considered “dang”, “fracking” and “confounded” before finally landing on “dratted”.

But she was continuing: “I told him, ‘How about the words “Toy Car” instead of “Car”!’ I suggested -”

And now it was my turn to interrupt her.

“Ma’am?” I said, and then “Ma’am!”

And she stopped, sighed and said, resignedly, “What?”

And I said, truthfully and with a calm voice, “As it happens, I happen to be in the possession of more than two hundred currently uninsured die-cast toy cars”

She paused, as if not really believing me. And then she asked, in much the same way I had only a half hour earlier, “Really?”

And I responded in like manner, “Really.”

I’m pleased to say that our conversation went much better after that. And I can report that, while I think a $230 yearly deductable is a little steep and while I’m still unclear as to why liability is an issue, my 232 yellow 1971 mint Ford Mustang models are safely “covered”. For the 21st century and beyond.

Sometimes I make notes to myself suggesting future blog posts topics. Recently I made this note:

“Ignorance still effective”.

Looking at it, I don’t know what I had in mind. Any ideas?

So here we have the last set of funny quotes from Pastor John. They are generally on the theme of his thoughts about being a pastor and pastoral transition. The last two are the beginning and end of a pretty good story as told by the man called to replace him, Pastor Jason Meyer, in last week’s sermon.

As usual, 3 disclaimers:

1. All quotes taken from sermons.
2. All completely taken out of context.
3. None found in the Online Sermon Texts – but many are on the videos.

17 Amusing Quotes From Pastor John Piper

• This isn’t in my manuscript. This is dangerous. My wife tells me not to do this.

• And that’s where we’re going in a moment. In fact, not a moment – a second: Number 6!

• I wanted to get rid of one of my credit cards. I called them to close it down. She said, ”Did you cash out your points?”. I said, “Points?” I had 140,000 points. That’s $1400 dollars! What would you do with $1400 dollars? I’m not going to tell you what I did.

• I’m really dealing with John Piper here. I’m the preacher. I’m going to be called to account for obeying this more than any of you. At the judgment day. Let not many of you be teachers because you will be judged more strictly. You stood before those people and gave them eleven ways this works and here’s what you did: Boom, boom, boom, boom. It’s a scary thing to be a preacher.

• [Regarding our vision statement – ‘For the joy of all peoples’] The ‘s’ in peoples was put there on purpose. That ‘s’ turns us into a missionary enterprise. That ‘s’ means everything to us.

• If the Lord wills, we will live. I will finish this sermon, if the Lord wills. If a wacko walks in the door, shoots me between the eyes, it was God’s will. So make sure you don’t say wrong things at the funeral. My wife will stand up and correct you!

• Now I know there are people who are going to say, ‘You are so naïve, Piper. You are unbelievable!’ That’s what they’re going to say when they see this on the internet tomorrow, so watch the comments.

• What we need to be at the end of the age is a people who love each other so that that community of love become a protection against deception. Or if you’d like more rhyme than that: Solid affection for believers is a protection against deception. You could almost rap that. But don’t look to me to do that. At least not unless the video is changed.

• That’s another sermon.

• It’s Sunday somewhere in the world.

• We don’t choose our texts from Emily Dickenson

• … And I want to stress – that level of peace that we’ve enjoyed – is a work of God. Because Warm Fuzzies is not in John Piper’s reservoir. That isn’t the right word. Repertoire. That’s what I meant to say. It’s not in the reservoir either… You don’t know. You just don’t know.

• We could not choose a better day on which to end my ministry. Easter. This is awesome. It’s a dream come true. I mean the only better day would be my death day. And that could still happen! In fact, I was thinking – the farewell service that we have planned could be a funeral! But you don’t want me to go to that. I’m sorry. Just – that’s the kind of imagination you’re dealing with here. So morose. Happy morose!

• [In a question/answer session with Erik Metaxis, moderated by Jason Meyer]
Jason: Okay, the next one says – John ask Erik a question and Erik ask John a question.
Erik (to Pastor John): What’s the capital of South Dakota?
John: Oh, don’t ask that. . . But I’d like to ask –
Jason: The answer is Pierre, by the way.
John: I would not have known that.
Erik: You see, this is the kind of person you need in this establishment. Get a hold of this guy. He’s a bright young thinker.

• I’ll give you a dollar – no, I’ll give you a hundred dollars if you hit one of them. (To Pastor Jason Meyer just before he threw a rock and hit an eagle that had been dive bombing them).

• “Consider pledge or flying stone.
Consider vow or diving bird.
Let it be marked, let it be known:
John Piper keeps his every word.”
(In a letter – with which the promised money was enclosed – to Jason Meyer three weeks later*)

<To see this story – watch the first three minutes (or more!) of the sermon here.>

And one more quote from just before Pastor John retired:

• Entire books have been written on this subject and endless questions are going to be raised and I’ll let Jason answer these questions for the next thirty years or so. . .

By the way, as usual, I’d love to hear what your favorites are.

If you’d like see the other Piper Quotes posts . . .
Piper Quotes 1
Piper Quotes 2
Piper Quotes 3
Piper Quotes 4
Piper Quotes 5
Piper Quotes 6

And I’d like to also recommend heading over to my Dad blog to see my “Dads and Anger” series of posts. My hope is that these posts will help Christian dads avoid sinfully acting in anger against their kids.

And if you’d like to see information about the newest Bible Verse Memory CD made by me and other people at John Piper’s church, you can go here.


As I was looking at the last set of quotes that I have from Pastor John’s last sermons before he retired I decided to split them up into two posts because there were so many and some of them are fairly long. So this month I’m posting the more theological quotes from the last set and next month I’ll post what he had to say about preaching and pastoral transition.

For the months before he retired he spent several sermons talking about the key theological themes from our church – many of these quotes are along those lines.

As usual, 3 disclaimers:

1. All quotes taken from sermons.
2. All completely taken out of context.
3. None found in the Online Sermon Texts – but many are on the videos.

17 Humorous Quotes from Pastor John

  • There are no drop outs. Nobody’s lost who’s called. . . This is rock solid, covenant keeping power of a sovereign God. It’s not an inoculation on your arm, like “I got saved, I walked an aisle, I signed a card, so it can’t happen to me, I’ve got antibodies in my blood, against lostness.” It doesn’t work that way. Do you know what you’ve got? You’ve got the promise of God.
  • The term ‘Christian Hedonism’ is found in none of our official documents.  It’s not in the Constitution, it’s not in the church Covenant, it’s not in the values booklet, it’s not in the ten dimensions of church life. Nevertheless, some of us love this statement. It’s catchy and it’s … controversial and it’s not in the Bible and therefore zero pressure for you to like it, just because I do.
  • The point of an image is to image.
  • How does Paul respond? “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness. That the power of Christ may rest upon me.” What a man! What a crazy man! What a contrary-to-everything man … called a Christian.
  • Our goal is not to live a simpler life – you move to Northern Minnesota, eat organic, grow potatoes. I don’t know if you grow potatoes in northern Minnesota – our goal is to live with a wartime mentality.
  • “Would you bring another pillow for the den, please?” That’s not what prayer is for! To ring up the maid! … It’s not a domestic intercom.
  • “He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs. Who can stand before his cold?” I love living in Minnesota! Is that cold? That’s God! You haven’t felt cold yet all you Californians, just arrived.
  • I don’t know how people pray who don’t believe in the sovereignty of God to do the impossible. Because all the things I want to happen are impossible. If they’re possible I’ll do them.
  • So I’m going to close by reading from a hero. I have unabashed love for Jonathan Edwards. Okay? Unabashed love. If you want to get my back up, say something ugly about Edwards. Like talking about my mom, you know? He’s not perfect. Boy, oh, boy, was he not perfect. He wasn’t even a Baptist. Small flaw! Small flaw!
  • The highest good of the good news is Joy in God. Period. Nothing beyond it. You will never ever in the bible after that hear God say ‘Much more’ than God himself being your totally satisfying portion forever. ‘Much more’, like golf or something. No offense to golfers. Sorry, David. It just comes to my mind, because I find it so boring.
  • There aren’t any songs about complementarianism that I know of.
  • Where is anyone who leaps for joy, thinking, “I’m hated!”
  • Evidently John has a very elastic view of the last hour or the end of the age…. They were in the last hour two thousand years ago and we’re in the last hour [now]. That’s a stretchy hour.
  • [regarding the end times] I don’t know how far off they are. I have no idea. So if you think like I’ve been sounding like the man of lawlessness will come in 2014, wrong. I have no idea! Could be. Could be six more of God’s days. A week would be a good time for the end time. I hope that doesn’t discourage you.
  • There is nothing in Biblical Eschatology that says you, or your church or your family has to be a part of the ice age coming over the church and the world. Nothing! Which means – a picture in my head – okay, “the love of many will grow cold”. So this glacier is coming over the world to freeze out Christians at the end of the age – they’re all deceived. What’s our job? Torch it! Torch the glacier! So that a big hole happens in the glacier and you see God and it can be wide enough so that Minneapolis is red hot for Jesus when he comes!  Now Bemidji and  Duluth may have gone the way of all flesh. That’s just possible. Or maybe Duluth would be white hot for Jesus and the lake would be bubbling ….
  • I’m so tired of hearing, “The condition of society is the report card of the church.” No! This is God’s sovereign plan.
  • We like to say around here, “Go for it! You can only be killed!”


By the way, as usual, I’d love to hear what your favorites are.

If you’d like see the other Piper Quotes posts . . .
Piper Quotes 1
Piper Quotes 2
Piper Quotes 3
Piper Quotes 4
Piper Quotes 5

If you’d like to see other posts which had humor as a goal you can go to my attempts category.

And if you’d like to see information about the newest Bible Verse Memory CD made by me and other people at John Piper’s church, you can go here.


Hello, Biblical language experts who are currently creating the next translation of the Bible – here’s my suggestion/plea.

Don’t use ‘Trespass’ or ‘Trespasses’ as a noun. No current day English-speaking person on earth uses Trespass that way. Only as a verb. You know, ‘To Trespass’.

I know, it’s too late for the ESV, but maybe we can prevent this from ever happening again.

Now you might be thinking, “Is this just because you’re trying to write a Fighter Verse song with the word ‘trespass’ in it? Multiple times?”

Why yes – and it’s a really difficult word to – I mean, THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!




I know almost nothing about this book:

… but I’m guessing this:  There is a non zero number of people who look at symbol in the middle of the title and say to themselves, “Does ‘>’ mean ‘less than’ or ‘greater than’? Okay, let’s see. Is it an alligator mouth going for the bigger one  … or is it a rocket ship pointed towards the bigger one? I can never remember!”

Also, some are wondering if there’s a rap poem in the foreword.



I imagine that if this website had more room in the ad, they’d include some more helpful information:

1. Please note that we say “most affordable” but we don’t say “most pain free”. You might catch this from the fact that while two inch metal rods inserted into the jaw might a simple and cost effective way to permanently attach teeth to your gums, there may be a loss of comfort as these come into contact with the odd nerve or two.

2. We’ve put the handy red arrows for clarity. We aren’t going to leave teeth just floating in the air above the lower part of your mouth!

3. You can see how thinking outside the box can save you money. Why go to the expense of attaching three teeth when we can just glue the middle tooth to the outer two and then attach those?


Interested in seeing more of my attempts at humor?

BadAdTo Facebook I say:

Has it come to this? You’ve lowered yourself to selling ads to consultants who teach people how to murder other people?
With golf clubs?

Really, I mean, Really?

To potential consumers of the product I say:

How competent a teacher can “Jim McLean” be if he hasn’t taught this would-be hit-woman the basics?

Like how about “By all means, don’t let your intended victim get within reach of your iron” for example?

Or “Try, when you’re beating someone to death, not to do it in what looks like a wide open field.”

Or “When swinging, keep your eyes on the target”. This lady looks like she’s staring at the ground.

In any case, were I his marketing adviser, this is not the photo I would have used.

I do give him props for having an innocuous sounding web page, though.


Interested in seeing more of my attempts at humor?

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