Monthly Archives: April 2013

Saying Very Little in Too Many Words

snoopy_writingBecause I’ve written some books, people occasionally contact me with their own book ideas. When they tell me what the book will be about, my reaction is often, “It sounds like you have an article, not a book.”

They have enough original content for an article. For a sermon. For a workshop. For a blog post. But not for a book.

Sadly, this is true of a lot of Christian books. The author has an interesting idea, a new twist for an aspect of the Chrtistian life, but they cover it within a chapter or two. They then pad the book with stuff you’ve heard before, Generic Christianity, while making obligatory connections to the original theme.

Such was the case with a book I just finished, “Firsthand.” Another example was “Not a Fan”–a far better book than “Firsthand,” yet basically only a couple chapters’ worth of content dealing with the “fan” premise.

With some Christian books, I should just read the first two chapters and consider myself done. And since I can usually get the first chapter free as a “sample chapter” on my Nook…hmmm.

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The Persistent .05%

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I work with lots of ministers, and ministers always have a “life verse.” I think it’s a requirement for getting a ministerial license. But, I admit, I’ve never had a life verse. It has always made me feel spiritually deficient.

However, there is one verse I apply to my work more than any other, so perhaps it qualifies as a life verse. Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, sin is not absent” (NIV).

As a Communications Director, my career is based on churning out words. This verse tells me, “The more words, the more chance there are mistakes.” Ain’t that the truth. You can’t crank out thousands of words every day without getting something wrong.

A very nice woman called me today to point out a mistake. She was nervous and apologetic about it, and was calling because somebody else asked her to. The idea of correcting me intimidated her, I think; she didn’t know how I would respond.

But I’m long past (most of the time) being defensive. Making errors in writing–whether mere typos or, as was the case today, factual errors–is just gonna happen. It’s been happening for over 30 years. I accept my fallibility. Probably 99.95% of what I write is clean, mistake-free. But that .05% won’t go away anytime soon.

So I told this woman the mistake was entirely mine, I apologized for it, and I promptly corrected it (you can do that with stuff on the web). No sense being prickly about it. I appreciate people pointing my mistakes, as long as they aren’t jerks about it.

And keep this in mind: whenever somebody talks a lot, or write a lot, there’s a good chance that some of it is just plain wrong. It applies to your local newspaper reporters, to TV pundits…and to your own preacher.

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A Month with Jim

The Office

My 2013 office calendar is, appropriately, from “The Office” TV show. Each month is a different character, with a few quotes. I just turned the page for April, and it’s…JIM!! My favorite character! One of the quotes is this piece of wisdom:

“No, I’m not going to tell my nine-months-pregnant wife that I find her replacement objectively attractive. Just like I’m not going to tell my two-year-old daughter that violent video games are objectively more fun. It’s true, but it doesn’t help anybody.”

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It’s the Law in Kennesaw

kennesawThis graphic has nearly 3000 shares on Facebook. And I’m thinking–seriously? People are in favor of FORCING citizens to buy and own guns?

I’m guessing most of these shares are by people who rant about government intrusion into our private lives, and who oppose the Obamacare mandate because they shouldn’t be forced to buy something they don’t want. But hey–let’s DEMAND that people keep deadly weapons as part of their family, whether they like it or not.

Seriously? Is this something to applaude? To trumpet across Facebook as commendable?

I looked it up: a firearms license in Georgia averages $75, renewable every five years. So this would be a huge windfall for local governments trying to make up budget shortfalls. And it would sure make local gunshop owners happy. Maybe some are on the Kennesaw city council.

Gun rights advocates like to complain that we aren’t enforcing the laws already on the books. In Kennesaw, nobody is apparently enforcing this law. Plus, Kennesaw does exempt anyone who is morally opposed to guns or who can’t afford to buy one. So it’s kind of a toothless law, when it comes right down to it.

The part about crediting guns with the low crime rate is an exaggeration. In fact, if you factor in all of the people in Kennesaw who DON’T own guns, in direct violation of the law, then the crime rate is actually quite high.

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An End to Tangles

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The no-tangle cord is truly an amazing invention. It works on telephones, computers, vacuum cleaners, and all those cords cluttering the stage at church. It has single-handedly reduced the world’s collective blood pressure by several points. The no-tangle cord is, indeed, the greatest invention of the 21st century…. Or it will be, once somebody actually INVENTS it. Will somebody get to work on this? A stressed out world awaits. And then you can move on to clothes hangers.

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