Aphorism

Aphorism 2018-03-19T15:19:33+00:00

“Hey Fletch” Sunday is for Aphorisms

From around the globe, people tune in on Fletch’s warm and sound advice. He’s a friend and “church doctor,” bringing an objective perspective, broad knowledge and vast experience. Your question will get a personal reply from Fletch.

‘Aphorism’ from the Greek φορισμός—a delimitation, distinction, definition. A terse saying, laconic and in memorable form, expressing a general truth or principle; an astute observation.

Overeducated Beyond My Intelligence

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Overeducated Beyond My Intelligence

Many folks will say, “I’m overeducated beyond my intelligence.” This oft misquoted phrase comes from a 1922 Harvard monograph in education by Dearborn, Lincoln & Shaw. Their exact wording was, “over-educated beyond their performance ability.” 

The context was that school children, “pass examinations and acquire knowledge, but are unable to use their acquired knowledge successfully in any occupation of high intellectual level.”

The problem with more and more education is that we may not be able to use it in real life. We pass exams in school but can we successfully master the test of life?

A Clean Desk

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Clean Desk

W.C. Fields had a great comic sketch from the 1935 film “The Man on the Flying Trapeze.” He had an enormous roll top desk that had hundreds of files messily deposited on it. Yet, he could find any document in seconds.

Most of us are not like that. When we get to work in the morning, a huge plus to productivity is a clean desk. In 1933, Ernest Hemingway wrote a short story, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” Many of us need a place free from clutter. Your productivity will most likely increase when you can focus on the vital projects for today, not distracted by piles of junk everywhere.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Theme parks and museums have become experts in how people leave a ride or exhibit. The designers know that people will “buy stuff” when they exit through the gift shop. 

When Tami and I went through an art exhibit, it was both compelling and disturbing to exit through the gift shop. The good aspect was that we could easily purchase a book about the traveling exhibit. The down side is that we were inundated with so much junk that we could buy. Do we really need a Van Gogh refrigerator magnate or door bell? Hmmm …

Let’s not Confuse Facts with Feelings

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Let’s not Confuse Facts with Feelings

DRF—All of us can make a decision based on feelings. It might be that new car or that new dress. We decide on what ‘feels good’ in the moment. There can be nothing inherently wrong with an emotionally-based decision.

The price tag on that new car or dress might be hard to explain. Our spouse might want the reasons for the sporty car over the family sedan. At that point, we retreat to feelings over facts. We try to come up with flimsy facts to support our emotional decisions. They fall flat.

We have confused facts with feelings.

My Favorite Rabbi is from Nazareth

Sunday, May 20, 2018

My Favorite Rabbi is from Nazareth

A Rabbi is a Jewish teacher. We often forget that Jesus is called a Rabbi in the Scriptures. We also forget that he was Jewish. His teaching amazed his listeners. It was stunning, nothing like they had ever heard before.

I like to say that “My favorite Rabbi said …” Then I like to quote something from the New Testament. It helps us remember the context of Jesus’ life and teaching.

Burn a Bridge When You Leave, Smell the Smoke Forever

Sunday, May 13, 2018

DRF—It is so easy to be upset and say the wrong thing when you leave a church. The problem with ‘burning bridges’ is that people remember what you said. Even more, you will remember your words for a lifetime. While you may justify those words to yourself, you know that they were wrong.

You will smell the smoke forever. Better is to leave well. Bless those around you. Have kind words. Speak the truth in love. Be gentle. If you were treated poorly, don’t return evil for evil. Bless those who curse you.

Bitter in a Christian Sort of Way

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Bitter in a Christian Sort of Way

DRF—Of course, this is an oxymoron. Yet, we see it all the time. A person is bitter and a regular church attender. They can’t let go of something in their past. They are bitter. But, as a Christian, they can express it in a ‘Christian sort of way.’

It might come out as a prayer request or a ‘thought for leadership.’ What is really being expressed in part of their bitterness in life.

Bitterness Is a Choice

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Bitterness Is a Choice

We all have choices. Two psychiatrists, Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, taught me at Dallas Seminary. They wrote a book, “Happiness Is a Choice.” 

There should be another book, “Bitterness is a Choice.” I couldn’t find that title on Amazon. It would probably never sell. However, we all know that it is true. People choose to hold on to bitterness. 

Sure, I get mad and bitter at things. As the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger. Do not give the devil an opportunity.” Every day I need to release those things that make me angry and bitter. Why hold onto them? Some mystical thing happens when we sleep with angry and unresolved thoughts. 

Perhaps if someone would write that book, the title should be “Bitterness Is a Bad Choice.”

Set Event Horizon at Six Months, Minimum

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Set Event Horizon at Six Months, Minimum

DRF—Church leaders need to have a grasp of the day-to-day. More vital is that leaders plan and strategize for the future. How will today’s unemployment figures help or hinder hiring in six months? Will there be a glut or dearth of people who are looking for a job? What are the major activities that are planned or need to be planned for the next six months, one year and two years? Those need massive planning of human and financial resources. Church leaders need to set an event horizon at six months, minimum.

Digital Film Is Expensive

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Digital Film Is Expensive

DRF—I learned about photography when film was expensive. I shot with a camera that used 120 film and you only got 12 exposures on a roll. I carefully weighed every photo opportunity and only took pictures that had significance.

Now with digital “film,” we can take hundreds of “free” photos. Wired magazine reports that the world upload 1.8 million photos each day. The article says: “The mobile revolution that Steve Jobs started put a camera in every pocket, along with the tools to edit them and, later, platforms like Facebook and Instagram on which to publish them. Anyone with a smartphone could capture a moment and share it in real time. Here I am at the party. Here I am at the concert. Here I am at the beach.” 

The aphorism is irony. Digital film is “free” to use, but costly in time to review all those images.

The Check Is in the Mail

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Check Is in the Mail

DRF—Your church is about to receive a $100 million dollar donation from a prince via email. Your uncle is giving you his Ferrari. Your church wants to give you a 50% raise. Oops, it is April Fool’s day—just a week late (I could’t do an April Fool’s joke on Easter!) All of those get the same response, “the check is in the mail.” It just isn’t going to happen. 

I can’t claim ownership to this adage but love to use it. By the way, all the questions for “Hey Fletch” come from real life. The Quote Investigator found that “in 1897 Mark Twain released a travel book titled ‘Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World,’ and the fifteenth chapter presented the following epigraph. Truth is stranger than Fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

The Resurrection Changed Everything

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Resurrection Changed Everything

DRF—I can’t claim ownership of this adage. Somewhere in the depths of church history, someone first said this. For us mortals, death is still the great divide. It is a deep river to be crossed. Yet, we don’t look for a ferry man to cross the river Styx as the Greeks did. Jesus was resurrected. While the waters of death may be deep and troubled for our physical bodies, our minds and spirits know the truth. We will be welcomed on the other side!

Parenting is Simple—Any Child Can Operate One

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Parenting is Simple—Any Child Can Operate One

DRF—To get a driver’s license, you pass the state test. To get a High School or College degree, you attend four years of classes. However, to become a parent, just wait nine months. Often the only exams that are used are pregnancy and ultra-sound.

Kids sense this lack of skilled preparation. They are born with skills to get their parents to do what they want. Kids innately possess abilities that range from tears to coy smiles, tantrums to angelic playtimes. Kids can “operate a parent” with amazing ease. 

And now, I’m a grandparent. I’m “out of the pan and into the fire.” My granddaughter soon will be asking for my Amex card …

Humor, Trace

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Humor, Trace

DRF—I’m guilty of having dry humor, sometimes arcane or zany. I can’t tell a canned joke to save my life. Spontaneous humor, puns, play on words, situational comedy … these are my bread and butter. Problems arise with newcomers in my life. They don’t know that I have shifted gears, going from the serious to verbally playful. 

Without a verbal clue, people think that my outlandish stretching of a story is really the truth. So emerged the helpful line at the end of story, pun or joke: “humor, trace.”

And for those more literal minded people, it let’s them know to laugh. Humor, trace.

Laugh Today Because It Is Today

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Laugh Today Because It Is Today

DRF—We all have plenty of reasons for angst in today’s society. The tension that we feel is like that of the early church … we live in a violent society. The Apostle Paul said it so well in Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.” Net Bible ®.

So as you can, laugh and enjoy what God is doing today. Tomorrow has enough of its own problems. Celebrate today and laugh. See the good things that God is doing and the humor in today’s events. Laughter is great medicine for the soul.

The Apple Watch Won’t Make You Exercise

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Apple Watch Won’t Make You Exercise

DRF—There are two types of people in the world, those that love Apple products and those that hate them. A major news story criticized the Apple Watch because it did not make people exercise. This is confusing a tool with an action. If I buy a hammer, I shouldn’t carp, ‘that hammer didn’t build my new house.’ Tools only work when they are put into action. The journalist forgot that the Apple Watch is a tool.

A tool is just a tool and will sit idly by until put into use. Human agents use tools with creative energy and sweat-producing intensity. When we confuse a tool and an action, we create excuses for our inactivity. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to relax, and your poverty will come like a robber, and your need like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:10-11 NET Bible®

We Failed with Excellence

Sunday, February 25, 2018

We failed with excellence

DRF—Many individuals and churches have the value of “excellence.” It seems that we often ‘fail with excellence.’ In Austin one year, I just didn’t fall off my bicycle, but I broke nine bones doing it. That is ‘failing with excellence.’ Accidents, mistakes and defeat are going to happen. Some fail because of valuing the wrong objectives. Some pseudo-wins are ‘pyrrhic victories.’ These victories cost so much that they are tantamount to failure.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:44-45: “But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Failure is going to rain down at some point in our lives. A good response to ‘failing with excellence’ is to see that God works in all things—to honor him on the sunny and rainy days.

Criticizing Others is a Reflection of My Insecurities

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Criticizing others is a reflection of my insecurities

DRF—Nick Carraway, the narrator of ‘The Great Gatsby’ quoted his father: “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” God has given us all so many gifts. Why carp about others?

We are insecure and hope to feel better by belittling them. My sharp criticism says more about me than about their actions. A better way is to deeply enjoy the security that Jesus offers.

“Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” Matthew 11:29-30 NET Bible®.

The Church Moves at Glacial Speed

Sunday, February 11

The church moves at glacial speed

DRF—This is so unfair to glaciers! Churches can move slower than sheets of ice. This is especially true when hiring staff or implementing changes. Weeks and months can pass and nothing happens. Then, like a glacier calving an iceberg, there is a flurry of action. With an announcing ‘boom,’ everything seems to happen at once. A better way is to set an orderly process of casting vision, planning, communication and process-implementation.

Sunday is for Aphorisms

‘Aphorism’ from the Greek ἀφορισμός—a delimitation, distinction, definition. A terse saying, laconic and in memorable form, expressing a general truth or principle; an astute observation.

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