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Chappo on life, death, and following Jesus

If I was the type to create Super Apostles then John Chapman would be right at the top of my list. But he’d doubtless hate that. I love Chappo, and he frequently tops the list of “things I love about growing up in a ministry household”… Chappo is a family friend, which is splendiforous (a Chappoism).

Gordo has been posting the transcript of an interview between Chappo and Kel Richards over on his blog (part one, part two). It’s heartwarming and encouraging stuff to read the reflections of a wise saint who has lived his life pursuing God’s glory and telling people about Jesus. I highly commend them to you. Here’s a sample, where he talks about being/getting old…

“John: When you get old, you don’t become a different person. You’re the same person who was always there, only it takes you longer to do things. Why I thought I’d be able to catch up I’ve no idea. See, when you become old, you don’t become different.

One of the nice parts about living in this [retirement] village is, collectively, we’ve got an enormous amount of knowledge. If you want to know how to do something, there’s somebody here to teach you. And, that’s the nice part about living with a hundred and twenty, hundred and fifty people. Amongst us all, we’ve got a massive amount of skills. You want to learn to use the computer, the computer club’ll spend time, and they’ve got it, to do with you. If you want to play chess and board games, there’s someone who’ll play with you in the living, in the sitting room.

Kel: So if old age is just like the rest of life, then older people, even though death is approaching, don’t give any extra thought to God.

John: Don Howard* used to tell a story of a man he visited in Burwood East. And he urged this man to turn to Christ, he was fit and well. And he said Don I don’t need God.

Don said I visited him in hospital where he was lapsing in and out of consciousness. And Don said you don’t have a lot of time left, you should turn to Christ. And he said you don’t think a fit man like me is about to die do you?

Now you see, if you’ve spent a lifetime of saying no, why would you suddenly say yes? There’s no more new information to have. I’m a sinner; Christ died for me; I need to repent; I need to trust him. If I don’t believe that when I’m seventeen, there’s odds on I won’t believe it at 37.”

*Don Howard is my grandfather.

Orwell’s guide to better writing

Gordo posted a simple summary of an article by George Orwell about how to write better. It’s pure gold. You should read his summary. Or the article.

Orwell on metaphors

A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically ‘dead’ (e. g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles’ heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a ‘rift’, for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.

Those of you who don’t already check out Gordo’s blog regularly should do so. He works for AFES (with Izaac) at Cumberland College.

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