Thinking Out Loud

April 1, 2019

A Morning Devoted to Un-Truths

This weekend I’ve been cross-posting articles from Christianity 201, as that blog begins year ten today. It seemed only fitting to go back one last time for this article, appropriate to April Fool’s Day.

For much of the morning, in some parts of the world, people made (or are still making) outrageous, preposterous or untrue statements; waited a few seconds; followed by, “April Fools!” No doubt online there were false news stories, manipulated photos, and skillfully edited videos. In most cases, nobody gets hurt and everyone has enjoys having their gullibility quotient tested.

I don’t want to go so far as to say that Christians should never enjoy a good prank, but it’s important that this never defines us.

In Matthew 5:37 we read,

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

The context is about swearing oaths, but in The Message Bible, the definition is widened:

“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

The entire passage is paralleled in James 5:12

Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

Wikipedia notes how these verses impacted one Christian sect:

Quakers place importance on being truthful at all times, so the testimony opposing oaths springs from a view that “taking legal oaths implies a double standard of truthfulness” suggesting that truthfulness in legal contexts is somehow more important than truthfulness in non-legal contexts and that truthfulness in those other contexts is therefore somehow less important.

But by refusing to take an oath, many were imprisoned. The article also noted some of the variances we encounter today:

  • I swear on my mother’s life
  • I swear on my grandmother’s grave

The idea is that we are promising something that is precious to us to demonstrate sincerity. I didn’t grow up around people who use these expressions, but to be honest (pun intended) I often wonder that people who feel the need to add this might be the ones most likely not telling the truth.

This passage also means more than just whether or not we can be trusted when we make a statement, it’s also about whether or not we can be trusted when we make a promise. My wife and I often joke that we’ve spent a measurable percentage of our lives waiting for people who said they would arrive somewhere at a certain time. Before we even got married, I noticed that my wife was extremely punctual, and I’ve always hated being late and keeping people waiting. But often others find it easy to say they will be somewhere at a certain time and then think nothing of arriving a half hour later (and we’re not talking about being fashionably late to a large party or gathering.)

For the Christian, decision-making can be extra-complicated, as we desire to submit everything, big and small, to God’s will. But if commit to something, if we agree to do something or be somewhere, then we need to honor our commitments and agreements.

Freelance writer Fiona Soltes writes,

There’s much to be said for being a person of integrity and doing what you say you’re going to do. There’s even more to be said, however, for being a person who carefully considers decisions with God’s input and sticks to those decisions once they’re made. God is, after all, the same yesterday, today and forever. If we are to be like Him, we must show ourselves faithful and dependable, as well.

Jered Bridges commented on this passage in the context of living in a world filled with hidden cameras. He noted our ultimate accountability is not to the people we make promises to, but rather…

Proverbs 5:21 warns that, “…a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths.” (ESV) Ultimately it matters not if there’s a hidden camera watching you —- the eyes of the Lord penetrate far further than a grainy twenty-frames-per-second camera could ever go. It is in the healthy fear of those eyes that we should accordingly adjust our conduct.

~PW (2014, C201)


April 1, 2010

Audio Rights Sold to Strong’s Concordance

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:18 am

It’s not every day I get to use this forum to make an announcement involving our own company, especially one of this magnitude. Over the years, Searchlight Books has dabbled in distributing and has manufactured some music products, but never have we taken on anything like this. The following is the official press release issued this morning at the Christian Book Shop Talk site:

Searchlight Books of Cobourg, Ontario is pleased to announce that it has negotiated the audio rights to what is probably the number one selling Bible reference tool of the last fifty years: Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

“I had always wondered why there was no companion audio;” said Paul Wilkinson, owner of Searchlight; “especially considering the audio books market is one of the fastest growing sectors in our industry.”

He continues, “The story of how the purchase came about is rather amazing. I was leaving an industry event when I met a guy in the parking lot who said he was led to speak to me about something that would change the Christian publishing world. For a very reasonable sum, I could purchase the rights to release the best selling Bible study and reference title of all time. After some discussion, I signed the contract and wrote a check right on the spot.”

The project has had a tough time getting to market; “He told me that this isn’t the first time he has negotiated this particular deal, but in the end the finished projects never got released. He explained that he travels around to Christian product trade shows and conferences seeking out what he described as ‘a very special kind of person.'”

Wilkinson concedes that the project is very ambitious; “I don’t know how many CDs were talking about, but I suspect it will be a few more than actual Bible itself. I’m expecting to sell more mp3s than actual discs; but the first stage is to get the material actually recorded.”

Then there’s the challenge of finding someone whose voicing of the project matches the prestige of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance itself; “I’m not sure if we’ll hire a huge cast, but it will definitely be dramatic, with one voice narrating the key word, another giving the Greek or Hebrew equivalent, and another voice supplying the text references. We might go with a ‘next generation’ cast to try to draw a younger demographic into using Bible reference materials.”

No project release date has been set. If things go well, Wilkinson hopes to also release audio concordances for the Young’s and Cruden’s editions, as well as a Harmonized Gospel audio designed to play on 4-channel home theater systems with all four parts spoken simultaneously.

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