"As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring'." (Acts 17:28b)

ON QUOTING OTHERS

It's almost funny. We develop our little pet peeves. One Iíve encountered is the notion that we can't/shouldn't quote from uninspired writers. What an absurd position! I was rebuked one day by a dear sister for reading from Jim Bishop's book, The Day Christ Died. This was the same lady who later took me to task for teaching a camp song to the congregation not written by one of "us". I pointed out that 95% of the songs in "our" hymnals are not written by "us" but by Luther and Wesley and Crosby and Watts and Tennyson and others. Then I asked her if she thought "our" songs were somehow inspired. She walked away in a huff. I was huffing a little myself as I recall.

So, what's the point, Goad? Truth is truth no matter who says/writes it. If the Pope speaks truth I can "amen" it. Even Paul when speaking by inspiration at the Areopagus in Athens quoted uninspired Grecian poets. Christ used dirty parables (drawn from the soil) to illustrate his spiritual lessons and make them more easily understood.

Some Christians need to lighten up a bit and give communicators of the Good News a little rope. I've used popular songs to make a pungent point. Speakers often use actual life stories to address the truth of scripture. I've quoted Shakespeare and Mark Twain and Peanuts to make a truth ring clearer. And I have biblical precedent in the example of Paul.

An illustration from life often brings biblical truth into sharper focus. A humorous interjection or a special quote may be just the right trick to add color and understanding to an otherwise mediocre sermon or speech. Packaging is vital. Madison Avenue knows this. Auditors easily get bored. The attention span of most is shorter than speakers care to admit.

Illustrations and quotations are spice that can add flavor to homilies that otherwise might be boring. - Steven Clark Goad