Years ago I came to know a young man who rode with a motorcycle gang. He had grown up on a mission field where his parents served. When his family returned to the US, he seemed unable to adjust to life. He lived a troubled existence and was killed in a street fight with a rival gang.
Experts who track the changing vocabulary of the English language chose unfriend as the New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year for 2009. They defined it as a verb, “to remove someone as a friend on a social networking Web site,” such as Facebook. On that site, friends allow each other to access the personal information on their Facebook pages. They may never meet face to face or even exchange greetings online. In our world of fleeting cyber acquaintances, we are beginning to realize that having a true friend means more now than ever before.
People who study sharks tell us that they are most likely to attack when they sense blood in the water. The blood acts as a trigger to their feeding mechanism and they attack, often in a group, creating a deadly feeding frenzy. Blood in the water marks the vulnerability of the target.
The story is told of a young preach- er named Augustus Toplady, who was taking a walk through the English countryside when a sudden storm swept across the landscape. Toplady spotted a wide rock formation with an opening—a cleft—where he sought shelter until the storm passed. As he sat out the deluge, he contemplated the connection between his shelter and God’s help in life’s storms.
In a TV commercial I saw recently, the kids argued in the back seat of the car about where to stop for dinner. One wanted pizza; another chicken. Mom, in the front passenger seat, said, “No, we’ll stop for a hamburger.”
I once resolved to read all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays in one year. To my surprise, fulfilling the task seemed far more like entertainment than work. I expected to learn about Shakespeare’s world and the people who inhabited it, but I found that Shakespeare mainly taught me about my world.
While we were out for a family drive, a spotless white sign with perfect red lettering caught my attention: “Gutters and Windows—Quality Work Guaranteed.” The sign was pristine, but I feared the house and barn directly behind it might collapse at any moment. The paint was peeling, the windows were cracked, and the gutters were nonexistent!
During the celebration of the Chi- nese New Year, it is customary to use certain words in print and conversation. One word is often used by itself. It is the word full, meaning “abundance of” and is used to wish someone material prosperity for the year ahead.