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Upon entering a little country store, a stranger noticed a sign reading, "Danger! Beware of Dog" posted on the glass door. Inside, he noticed a harmless old hound dog asleep on the floor besides the cash register. He asked the store manager, "Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?" "Yep, that’s him," he replied. The stranger couldn’t help but be amused. "That certainly doesn’t look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world would you post that sign?" "Because," the owner replied, "before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him."
In Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster told of Billy Graham preaching at Cambridge in 1955. For three nights he tried to make his preaching academic and enlightened, but with no effect. Graham finally realized that presenting the intellectual side of faith was not his gift and began preaching the simple message of Jesus rescuing us from our problem with sin. Foster wrote, "The results were astonishing: hundreds of sophisticated students responded to this clear presentation of the gospel. It was a lesson in clarity and simplicity that he never forgot."
Suppose you were to move into a large house in San Francisco with a group of ten randomly selected homosexual men in their mid-thirties. According to the most recent research from scientific sources, whose authors are without exception either neutral or positive in their assessment of homosexual behavior, and with the use of lower numbers where statistics differ, the relational and physical health of the group would look like this.
Four of the ten men are currently in relationships, but only one of those is faithful to his partner, and he will not be within a year. Four have never had a relationship that lasted more than a year, and only one has had a relationship that lasted more than three years. Six are having sex regularly with strangers, and the group averages almost two partners per person per month. Three of them occasionally take part in orgies. One is a sadomasochist. One prefers boys to men.
Three of the men are currently alcoholics, five have a history of alcohol abuse, and four have a history of drug abuse. Three currently smoke cigarettes, five regularly use at least one illegal drug, and three are multiple drug users. Four have a history of acute depression, three have seriously contemplated suicide, and two have attempted suicide. Eight have a history of sexually transmitted diseases, eight are currently carrying infectious pathogens, and three currently suffer from digestive or urinary ailments caused by these pathogens. At least three are HIV-infected, and one has AIDS.
Thomas E. Schmidt, Straight & Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexual Debate, 127
Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews.
Problem: "Left inside main tire almost needs replacement."
Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tire."
Problem: "Test flight OK, except autoland very rough."
Solution: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."
Problem #1: "#2 Propeller seeping prop fluid."
Solution #1: "#2 Propeller seepage normal."
Problem #2: "#1, #3, and #4 propellers lack normal seepage."
Problem: "The autopilot doesn’t."
Signed off: "IT DOES NOW."
Problem: "Something loose in cockpit."
Solution: "Something tightened in cockpit."
Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear."
Solution: "Evidence removed."
Problem: "Number three engine missing."
Solution: "Engine found on right wing after brief search."
Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud."
Solution: "Volume set to more believable level."
Problem: IFF inoperative.
Solution: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
Problem: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
It appears … that at least 75 percent of homosexual are currently carrying one or more pathogens, but these men are not necessarily feeling sick or infecting others. It appears that at least 75 percent also have a history of at least one sexually transmitted disease, but these men are not necessarily very sick or currently sick. It appears that at least 40 percent get sick within a given year, but again they are not they are not necessarily very sick. On the other hand, to estimate the number who are sick at any one time is to underestimate the general danger of serious illnesses for any individual homosexual, a danger that is constant and cumulative."
Thomas E. Schmidt, Straight & Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexual Debate, 118
And how endlessly interesting these problem texts make the Bible! Joseph Parker well said, “When the last word has been said about the Bible it will no longer be the Word of God.” We never get to the end of the Bible. It is as wise in its reservations as in its revelations. Enough is reserved to give faith scope for development. Everything needful to salvation and godliness is written with such clarity that all the simple-hearted may understand; but there are other matters which, with wise divine purpose, are presented less lucidly, or even enigmatically, so as to challenge enquiry—matters fascinating, mysterious, or more intricate, but all yielding rich and sanctifying reward to devout exploration.
J. Sidlow Baxter, Studies in Problem Texts, p. 5
"Early in my ministryI discovered that as windows admit light to a house, quotations and illustrations can shed clarity on a lesson, sermon or speech."
A CLEAR PICTURE
There is a painting in a palace in Rome by Reni. It is painted into the ceiling of the dome, over 100 feet high. To stand at floor level and look upward, the painting seems to be surrounded by a fog that leaves its content unclear.
But, in the center of the great dome room is a huge mirror, which in its reflection picks up the picture. By looking into the mirror you can see the picture with great clarity.
Jesus Christ, born in a manger at Bethlehem, is the mirror of God. In Him we see a clear reflection of the Father. Jesus said, ’If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.’
No power on earth has done more to tame the hostile forces of humankind, and cause us ...
Weasel words from mollycoddles will never do when the day demands prophetic clarity from greathearts. Manly men must emerge for this hour of trial.
"If politics is like show business, then the idea is not to pursue excellence, clarity or honesty, but to appear as if you are, which is another matter altogether."