[forthright] An Oak or a Squash?

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 15:51:30 -0200
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

Today's Prayer: Checks and Balances

COLUMN: Reality Check

An Oak, or a Squash?
by Stan Mitchell

   "Therefore everyone who hears these words
   of mine and puts them into practice is
   like a wise man who builds his house on a
   rock" (Matthew 7:24).

I confess I don't know what to say when someone
compliments me by saying: "I liked that sermon; it
was so easy to understand."

Does that mean complex ideas were expressed in a
clear and understandable manner, or that I
delivered a "sermon lite"?

Why do we put such a premium on ignorance? There
was a time people read good books and thought
things through. Now our belief systems are based
on sound bites and bumper sticker slogans. The
scary part is that so many Christians have decided
that they know all there is to know about God's
will, judging by their failure to attend Bible

Should preachers dumb down their message, or err
on the side of challenging a little too much?
Bertrand Russell once declared: "Most Christians
would rather die than think. In fact, most do!"

If we don't think, we will die. If we don't study,
our Christianity will become anemic. Christians
could weather tough times better if their root
system was already sunk deeply into bedrock when
the storms came. Don't assume that you know it
all; that's the first step to never growing.

Before he became president, James A. Garfield was
president of Hiram College. One day the father of
a student asked him about the curriculum. Garfield
began to describe the courses and requirements.

"Mr. Garfield," the father declared, "couldn't you
make it a little easier?"

"Yes, I suppose I could," Garfield replied, "but
then I am reminded of the fact that when God wants
to build a tall, strong oak tree, he takes a
hundred years. But he only takes three months to
make a squash. Which do you want your son to be,
an oak or a squash?"

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