Saturday, June 30, 2007

Great old narrations

Last week in our church, Warren used the old story about the man playing cards at the back of the church to remind us of some great Christian truths.

Warren did this well. It was not too long, and it gave some variety to the beginning of the service. It reminded me of my parents' 78 rpm gramophone record of Tex Ritter [I think] reciting The Touch of the Master's Hand on one side and If Jesus Came To Your House on the other.

I don't like the latter. It sounds too much like the green plaque my parents had on the kitchen wall. I know people mean well, but
Christ is the Head of this House
The Unseen Guest at Every Meal
The Silent Listener to Every Conversation

gives me chills. While I believe it to be true, I prefer the more encouraging
Only one earth life
Soon it will pass
Only what's done for Jesus will last

I think other people have "Christ" where I recall this having "Jesus" in the last line.

But I love The Touch of the Master's Hand. I don't think I could recite it myself, because I choke up when I try. The parts that make me cry are the lines about the person who is rejected by other people, and who has walked away from God, and the lines which tell of how God values us differently and can bring hope and new life.
The Touch Of The Master's Hand

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar. Then two! Only two?
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"

"Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three..." But no,
From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
And going and gone," said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand.
What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply:
"The touch of the Master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.

A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,
A game -- and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.

-- Myra Brooks Welch

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Words that make me cringe, part 12

David McKay
My name is very common. In the 1950s it was the most common name in Scotland, I'm told. During the past 50 years or so, I've discovered that there was an Australian racing car driver with my name and that John Farnham's first record producer was a David Mackay [who also composed the theme music for the British TV series Bread, and arranged As Time Goes By for the Judi Dench-Geoffrey Palmer TV series].

On coming to Bathurst, I saw that one of the ophthalmologists at the sickeyeatrist place we go to was called David McKay, though he now practised in Orange. Then, when I went for a consultation, the eye doctor had a dairy farmer's notes and not mine, beause he also shared my name. One morning, he and I were both at the eye place at the same time, and when I thought my name was being called out, another man jumped up and went into the room with the eye doc. Didn't get to meet him, but.

And we called our youngest son, David, fulfilling my wife Joan's desire to have a little redhead called David. [Justin mised out on this, because he was born with dark hair and didn't meet that criterion.]

I can't copyright the name, and I have to live with the above geezers sharing it. But what makes me cringe is the American bloke who lives in Australia who founded the Jesus Christians, who specialise in donating kidneys. I think donating kidneys is a great idea, but to make it a condition of being a Christian is wacko.

And I think it is quite different from a person choosing to give a kidney to someone they know, because in that situation it is done out of love and not some misguided religious duty.

At least this David likes to be called Dave, which I eschew. However, unlike the other geezers above [excepting of course, our Nug, aka David] he pronounces it the same way I do, whereas most people make it rhyme with sky.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Words that make me cringe, part 11

(See additional lyrics)

Is there anything worse than printing the subsequent verses of a song away from the musical notation and in a little box on the last page of the printed copy?

How are we supposed to sing and play?

Words that make me cringe, part 10

Math [singular] when spoken by Aussies, such as local high school girls. The same girls talk about going to the bathroom, whereas Aussies say Maths and do not refer to the toilet as the bathroom, but as the toilet, the loo, etc.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Words that make me cringe, part 9

Literal and also literally

Because they don't usually get used accurately.

Frequently heard: The air conditioning was turned up so high, I literally froze to death ...[but lived to tell the tale].

I also think literal is used to describe a bible translation if it is awkward-sounding, or merely because it is not the NIV or TNIV. But every rendering of the bible into another language almost always involves changing the word order, and putting the text into the idioms and syntax of the new language.

The result always sounds different from the original, even Young's Literal Translation [which sounds almost nothing like English].

People say they interpret the bible literally, but sometimes this means that they think we can bypass interpretation and restate what the Scriptures say in its own words.

And literal is used sometimes by preachers to stupefy thir congregations with their brilliance. In my experience, so often what is said is misleading, and often completely wrong.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Words that make me cringe, part 8

I know I'm naughty, but I always listen carefully when this word is uttered, because I assume it has been used as if it were singular again. Usually it is.

This one's for Gordon:
Wrongly used: That's no criteria

Rightly used: There are several criteria that determine if a piece of music is worth listening to.

It derives from a Greek word, whose singular is [in English transliteration] criterion. The plural in Greek, transliterated into English is our friend criteria.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Words that make me cringe, part 7

Gives me the heebie-jeebies for lots of reasons.
The old song that says
Lotsa folk talkin' 'bout heaven ain't-a goin' there
could be altered to read [though not as tastefully]
Lotsa people flippantly referring to hell repeatedly
Could be headin' there

The idea of hell makes me cringe, but I think that's a good thing. I don't think Jesus talked about it to make us feel warm and cuddly, but to warn us that it is waiting for all who turn their backs on God and who break his righteous laws.

The word frightens me, because I know I ought to be sent there, because I am one of those rebels. It also sobers my thinking, because the people I see every day, who have no regard for God, are en route.

This could be one reason I can never sing along with the AC/DC anthem. Why ever did they compose it? Did they believe it, or were they shaking their fists in God's face, who any moment could quickly give them the biggest reality check they had ever known?

But I think that I ought to be revolted by hell, because there is none of God's kindness, mercy and patience there, balancing his holiness, justice and hatred of our sin and of sinful people.

Have you seriously considered God's wonderful way of escape from your own rebellion and the consequences of it, through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ? This year, I'm celebrating 50 Christmases since I embraced this gift, by God's grace.

Moron you and I

I said my post was about words that make me cringe, but then gave two examples which don't make me cringe!

For Gordon, here is one which does make me cringe.

My mother-in-law [who never makes me cringe ... ask her] gave a Mozart CD to Joan and I.