Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Words Change - The Story Never Does

Today the phrase "cutting red tape" implies that a person is blasting through needless regulations to get things done. It's pretty amazing how the phrase has changed in a pretty short period of time.

Thomas Edison's laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey was the world's first great R&D facility. In six years, the invention factory at Menlo Park secured more than 400 patents. This was in an age where changes were few and the pace of invention was a fraction of the speed it is today. But not with Edison. The U.S. Patent Office watched and waited for packages that were wrapped in a certain kind of red tape. They knew these came from Edison's lab, and they cut these first. Packages wrapped in that tape might change everything.

So red tape was a good thing, and cutting it was something you did out of eagerness to see something new and of value. Not any more. Think of the words that have changed in our lifetime and imagine how hard it would be to explain American slang. Words that are tied to time or a particular culture can be difficult too. 

I chuckled to myself recently at the associational Bible drill when one of our New Hope kids who was using a KJV bible because no NIVs were present tripped over the archaic word "shew" (as in "Shew yourself an approved workman..." Changes happen over time.

And cultural differences? Try explaining what "lilies of the field" means to natives of Somalia, a land where no lilies grow.

But the story doesn't change.

I stood in front of some kids in VBS one year and told the story of Christ's crucifixion. Using nails and a crown of thorns from Israel, I did my best to make it understood. One child asked to touch the thorns and when he did, he looked directly at me and said, "He must have really loved us."

Yes He did.

1 John 5:11 (Msg)
This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in His Son.

That friends hasn't changed. We can haggle over translations, denominations, signs and wonders, church models and the like, but through Jesus, God's Son, born of a virgin, crucified under Pontius Pilate, laid dead in a tomb, risen on the third day - through placing our faith in Him - we have life. Life for today and eternal hope!

Words change - the story never will.

Tell somebody!


David Wilson

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