Tag Archives: hypocrisy

“Pass the Bread, Fred”

Story of the Day for Labor Day 2012….September 3rd 

 

“Pass the Bread, Fred”

 

                  Get rid of all . . . hypocrisy . . .

                                                      1 Peter 2:1

 

 

Dr. Foerster’s patient was fully conscious as the German neurosurgeon performed brain surgery to remove a tumor. As Dr. Foerster touched one region of the brain, however, his patient erupted in compulsive pun making. The patient was unable to control his wild word associations.

Arthur Koestler, who mentioned this incident in his book, The Act of Creation, calls Foerster’s Syndrome the inability to refrain from making puns.

I mention this because my college roommate was a jovial guy, but it was obvious that he got dropped on his head when he was a child, because he had Foerster’s Syndrome in a big way. He didn’t learn and retell the puns of others; he was the sole originator and distributor of endless groaners.

Once, one of the college administrators told him bluntly that punning was the lowest form of humor, but this indirect plea for mercy didn’t dampen my roommate’s enthusiasm for punning in the slightest.

 

Paul, from Elkhart, Indiana, once wrote in to Reader’s Digest about a family dinner. His parents, Fred and Adah, invited Paul and his three siblings for a Sunday meal.

Everyone, except for Adah, was in a silly mood and began rhyming their requests.

“Please pass the meat, Pete.”

“May I have a potatah, Adah?”

“I’d give the moon for a spoon.”

After a while, Adah had heard enough. “Stop this nonsense right now!” she shouted. “It’s Sunday, and I would like to enjoy my dinner with some good conversation, not all this silly chatter.”

Then, in a huff, she snapped, “Pass the bread, Fred.”

 

The most annoying aspect of criticizing others is when I find myself dropping into the same kind of behavior. When I criticize people for being late for appointments, I will soon find that I’m late for an appointment.  Lately, I confided to my wife that I thought someone was a gossip. I took a minute before I realized that I was gossiping about someone else who gossips.

 

Now that I’ve recognized my unfortunate habit of acting like a hypocrite, it has, somewhat, tempered my judgmentalism toward others.

The next step Jesus wants me to learn is to be calmer about others – even if I’m never guilty of doing what they do. After all, others have some vices I don’t. For example, I relish the fact that I’ve mustard the strength to resist the impulse to ketchup to my old roommate in the punning department. I just don’t have the hot dog personality he has.

(I can hear my old roommate now, saying, “Marty, let me be frank with you – you’re not very punny!”)

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

They Can See Right Through Us

Story of the Day for Monday March 5, 2012

They Can See Right Through Us

                  When you fast, don’t be like the gloomy-looking hypocrites. They contort their faces so it becomes obvious to everyone that they’re fasting.

                                         Matthew 6:16

 Have you ever noticed that people who are trying to look cool don’t really look cool; they look like they’re trying to look cool?

 

When I order sub sandwiches they have a tip jar at the end of the counter. I like to tip workers, but sometimes they’re attention is turned elsewhere and they don’t see me giving my generous tip. So, I like to wait until they see me – but here’s the trick: I try to make it look like I’m furtively sneaking a tip in their jar yet hoping they’ll notice. That way, they’ll see me as both humble and generous at the same time.

 

Jesus thinks I’m a poser when I do that, and, of course, he’s right. Posing is a big deal to him because our vanity destroys the most critical attitude of a believer: humility. Only humble hearts receive undeserved gifts. And that’s what Jesus came to give us.

Becoming proud of our humility is an oxymoron. It doesn’t impress God, and, if you must know the dismal truth, it doesn’t impress other people.

 

Daniel M. Oppenheimer is a cognitive psychologist at Princeton. He published a study about the benefit of using simple language, and entitled it: “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity.”  (I found his title a little ironic until I realized this was meant to be humorous; his subtitle says: “Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly”)

Oppenheimer wanted to know if people think we’re more intelligent when we use complicated language rather than using simple words. He found that 86 percent of university students admitted that they deliberately use complicated words in their essays to make their papers sound more valid or intelligent.

 

His study revealed that, contrary to prevailing wisdom, people do not think you’re more intelligent when you write obscurely – they think you’re less intelligent. In other words, whenever we try to impress others with our intelligence, our attempts backfire.  They can see right through us.

 

Jesus watched the “religious” people as they prayed and gave alms to the poor, and fasted. All of those things are good. But he observed that these people wanted other people to notice and admire their spirituality. Yet, craving attention is not spiritual, so he called it for what it was and warned us not to imitate that kind of hypocrisy.

 

But, if you still insist on trying to impress people with your spirituality, let me give you a tip: the key is subtlety. And, if you need any help, come with me some day and watch me pay for a sub sandwich.

                                                 (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)


The True Danger of Spiritual Pretending

Story of the Day for Tuesday November 8, 2011

The True Danger of Spiritual Pretending

                       A man by the name of Ananias, along with his wife Sapphira, sold some property.  But, with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back part of the money for himself, and brought the rest and laid it at the apostle’s feet.  

                                                    Acts 5:1-2

I have never liked this story.  It seems grossly unfair that, because they didn’t give all their money to the church, God killed them both.  Shouldn’t Peter have said, “Why, thank you so much!  What are generous offering.  God will bless you for this”?  Instead, they both wind up dead as a doornail.

If we listen carefully, however, we discover that the problem is not about giving money at all.  Peter tells them they didn’t have to sell the property, and after they did, they could do what they wanted with the money.

The problem was that they pretended to give all of the money from the sale of their property to the church (but secretly held some back for themselves).  They were lying to the church.

Hypocrisy is lying. We want to impress others and make them think we are more godly than we really are.  We love the admiration we get from this.  But deep down there is the fear that, someday, we will be exposed and the world will know that we are frauds.

Spiritual posturing is a dangerous cancer.  It’s also contagious.  If I pretend I’m holier than I really am, it puts pressure on those around me to pretend they are holier than they really are.  As long as the pretense works – we become insufferably self-righteous.  When we are exposed as frauds, then our hypocrisy becomes a stumbling block to others.

Tony Campolo, in his book, The Kingdom of God Is a Party, tells the story of a young man who turned his back on the church.  His little sister suffered much from cancer before she died.  His dad, a pastor, said there is no sorrow because she is in heaven.  So,  the whole family wore plastered smiles to show the world their great faith.

The night after the funeral, this young man went to the church and sat up in the balcony.   His father was unaware of his son’s presence. His dad walked to the front of the church and began to cry.  The crying turned to uncontrolled wailing.  Then his father looked up at the picture of Christ on the wall, shook his fist, and screamed, “DAMN YOU!”

When the son returned home that evening, there was his dad and family – all wearing their forced, artificial smiles.

I still don’t like the story about Ananias and Sapphira very much.  God’s punishment seems pretty severe.  But maybe that is how forcefully God had to act to impress on me the true danger of spiritual pretending.

                                                                             (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

“Pass the Bread, Fred”

Story of the Day for Wednesday September 14, 2011

“Pass the Bread, Fred”

                   Get rid of all . . . hypocrisy . . . 

                                                                 1 Peter 2:1

 Dr. Foerster’s patient was fully conscious as the German neurosurgeon performed brain surgery to remove a tumor. As Dr. Foerster touched one region of the brain, however, his patient erupted in compulsive pun making. The patient was unable to control his wild word associations.

Arthur Koestler, who mentioned this incident in his book, The Act of Creation, calls Foerster’s Syndrome the inability to refrain from making puns.

I mention this because my college roommate was a jovial guy, but it was obvious that he got dropped on his head when he was a child, because he had Foerster’s Syndrome in a big way. He didn’t learn and retell the puns of others; he was the sole originator and distributor of endless groaners.

Once, one of the college administrators told him bluntly that punning was the lowest form of humor, but this indirect plea for mercy didn’t dampen my roommate’s enthusiasm for punning in the slightest.

 

Paul, from Elkhart, Indiana, once wrote in to Reader’s Digest about a family dinner. His parents, Fred and Adah, invited Paul and his three siblings for a Sunday meal.

Everyone, except for Adah, was in a silly mood and began rhyming their requests.

“Please pass the meat, Pete.”

“May I have a potatah, Adah?”

“I’d give the moon for a spoon.”

After a while, Adah had heard enough. “Stop this nonsense right now!” she shouted. “It’s Sunday, and I would like to enjoy my dinner with some good conversation, not all this silly chatter.”

Then, in a huff, she snapped, “Pass the bread, Fred.”

 

The most annoying aspect of criticizing others is when I find myself dropping into the same kind of behavior. When I criticize people for being late for appointments, I will soon find that I’m late for an appointment.  Lately, I confided to my wife that I thought someone was a gossip. I took a minute before I realized that I was gossiping about someone else who gossips.

 

Now that I’ve recognized my unfortunate habit of acting like a hypocrite, it has, somewhat, tempered my judgmentalism toward others.

The next step Jesus wants me to learn is to be calmer about others – even if I’m never guilty of doing what they do. After all, others have some vices I don’t. For example, I relish the fact that I’ve mustard the strength to resist the impulse to ketchup to my old roommate in the punning department. I just don’t have the hot dog personality he has.

(I can hear my old roommate now, saying, “Marty, let me be frank with you – you’re not very punny!”)

                                                                  (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)