On not using your (un)gifts

I guess you could say (and some have actually said) that I should chill out . . . that I should have more grace, let things slide.  Probably so.

Still . . . when the ineptitudes of those in charge of church activities turn assemblies into farcical follies (OK, that was too strong, but I’m into wordplay as a device), my spirit groans and sometimes faints — even as it allows for the inevitable weaknesses of siblings.

The image below is of an actual  handout.  This page was given to a large class in a highly educated church.


How many errors can you find?  Don’t count the underscoring of the commas.  I count 10 (see below).¹

This criticism is not really about an individual, so I sincerely hope no one will take it that way.  (I don’t believe there’s any likely way that this could get back to the person, but I don’t want to cause any hurt or defensive feelings.)  We could also have made an example out of a realtor who fabricates a middle syllable in the word “real-a-tor” (sic) — or, as I heard on the radio today, a syndicated sports talk show host who puts a similar middle syllable in the word “athlete.”

The presenter who produced this handout has an earned Ph.D. and has many talents.  Skill with written language is not one of them.  (I do not make this observation based on a single example.)  I do believe this person has very good intentions, a spiritual mindset, and a servant heart, but she doesn’t always (not) use her (un)gifts.

The simple point is this:  we all need to know what our talents are and what they aren’t.  Once we know what we know, we may simply allow other people some opportunities — other people that can probably do the stuff better!  Or, if we must be involved in this or that because no one else is there to do it, we need to know what we don’t know, so we can ask others for help.

Few should be teachers.  Fewer should be preachers.  Fewer yet should be song leaders.  And fewer yet should produce written material or PowerPoint slides.  (You get the point.)


¹  Errors

  1. There is an opening quote mark without a closing one.
  2. “Assurance” is inappropriately capitalized.
  3. There is no punctuation after “mine” (and all the other punctuation considerations can be rolled in here . . . if you don’t like punctuation in your PowerPoints/handouts, shame on you, but at least you should go for consistency, and not have any commas at all).
  4. “Oh” is actually spelled “O” in all the hymnals I know of — OK, this one is negligible.
  5. The word “of” is missing between “foretaste” and “glory.”
  6. “Devine” (sic) is inappropriately capitalized.
  7. “Divine” is misspelled.
  8. “Salvation” is inappropriately capitalized.
  9. “Walk” should be “lost.”
  10. “Born of the” should be “Born of His.”



6 thoughts on “On not using your (un)gifts

  1. Bob Bell 07/13/2014 / 8:53 am

    I will never be the person that tells you to “chill out”. The world actually needs more people to say what they think. I would only point out that you neglected to capitalize “Realtor” in your essay. If you are wondering why Realtor should always be capitalized, it is an interesting story.


    • Brian Casey 07/14/2014 / 9:31 am

      Your first sentence is (perhaps surprisingly) moving. I deeply feel the value of affirmation — whether it’s from students, old friends, or whomever.

      I just read up on Realtor (REALTOR(R)). Thanks for the tip. Despite the copious explanations, I take the reasoning for the caps, at its root, as provincial and snobbish. But that’s the way I feel about a lot of logo stuff. (It might stem from the fact that a youth minister I once knew made an issue of a logo he created while serving a church. He felt it was his property and forbade the church from using it after he left. I daresay there had been no “pre-nup” signed, and I think he was making something out of nothing.)

      On Sun, Jul 13, 2014 at 8:53 AM, NT Christianity wrote:



  2. Gary D. Collier 07/14/2014 / 5:34 pm

    Why would I want to “walk in Jesus’ blood”? That’s what the Pharisees wanted to do. Besides, I thought it was “washed in his blood.” But then, I don’t know the purpose of the slide or the context of the lesson.


    • Brian Casey 07/15/2014 / 8:05 am

      Hadn’t thought of walking in Jesus’ blood that way. That’s funny. And not.

      Context. Hmm. If the slide had been intended to illustrate the proliferation of mistakes in slides, and the proclivity to make such mistakes, it would have taken on a different significance! 🙂


    • Gary D. Collier 07/15/2014 / 8:59 am

      I meant the context in which “walking in Jesus’ blood” was used. The president of People Airlines (years ago) said, “If people see coffee stains on our pull-down trays, they think we do sloppy engine maintenance.”


    • Brian Casey 07/16/2014 / 9:38 am

      The whole handout was replete with errors, and I had noted the “walk in His blood” error, as you have noted it. I guess I’d say that the immediate literary context was the handout itself — ostensibly a quote of a stanza of a gospel song, used for devotional purposes in a large class. The larger, and more important, literary context would be the text of the whole song; the quote was in many respects “scribally” erroneous. Sloppiness! — as in your People’s Airlines reference!


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