5 Things the 3rd Week of September

1. We have discovered so many new things about life as we go through this change in efforts and focus.  Along with a change in schedule, daily activities, weekly focus and more, the biggest change has been learning to be a Christian outside of the role of being a pastor of a local church.  With so much of my life built around the life of the church for the past 30 years of ministry, it has been a new experience to understand life outside of that venue.  I’m still working on that one and will be for a while.

2. This was a hard football weekend with the Cowboys and Longhorns both losing in disappointing fashion.  The only solace I found was that I didn’t get to see the Cowboy game because it wasn’t shown in Houston and we recorded the Longhorns so we were able to fast forward through the worst parts of it.  Both teams have a lot of work to do, and I don’t know that either will get there this season.  I don’t even know which one is more likely to get it fixed.  That’s sad :(.

3. The events at the Naval Shipyard in Washington D.C. yesterday were tragic.  It’s way too early to speculate about motivations and causes, but that hasn’t stopped the 24 hour news channels from making guesses.  The recent events that supposedly happened at Spring Baptist during the memorial service for the slain Spring HS student have made me even more cautious about news reporting.  All the local news stations and the Houston Chronicle ran stories about shots being fired in the parking lot at the end of the service.  The truth though is that there were only REPORTS of shots being fired, but no one ever saw a gunman and no evidence at the scene verified these reports.  The fact is there were no shots fired, it was all hysteria spurred by unsubstantiated fears.  Upon being informed of this, none of the local news outlets has yet issued a retraction or apology.  Take what you hear on the news with a grain of salt. (I have no idea the origins of that phrase)

4. So I had to look it up and here is what the Phrase Finder says

The idea comes from the fact that food is more easily swallowed if taken with a small amount of salt. Pliny the Elder translated an ancient antidote for poison with the words ‘be taken fasting, plus a grain of salt’.

Pliny’s Naturalis Historia, 77 A.D. translates thus:

After the defeat of that mighty monarch, Mithridates, Gnaeus Pompeius found in his private cabinet a recipe for an antidote in his own handwriting; it was to the following effect: Take two dried walnuts, two figs, and twenty leaves of rue; pound them all together, with the addition of a grain of salt; if a person takes this mixture fasting, he will be proof against all poisons for that day.

The suggestion is that injurious effects can be moderated by the taking of a grain of salt.

The figurative meaning, that is, that truth may require moderation by the notional application of ‘a grain of salt’, didn’t enter the language until much later, no doubt influenced by classical scholars’ study of Ancient Greek texts like the works of Pliny. The phrase has been in use in English since the 17th century; for example, John Trapp’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, 1647:

“This is to be taken with a grain of salt.”

5. We are ready to start publicizing a trip to Transform 2014 next summer.  You can find out about the trip by visiting our website. Here is a video invitation:

Transform 2014 Invite

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