Tag Archives: rules

The Dfeniton of Lvoe

Story of the Day for Tuesday Augus 21, 2012 


The Dfeniton of Lvoe



                             Love is the fulfillment of God’s law.

                                                            Romans 13:10


After my wife, Darla, graduated with her teaching degree, she went on to get a masters degree in the teaching of reading.

When we were first married, I would listen to people moan about children’s inability to read well. “The problem today,” they told me, “is that we don’t teach enough phonics.”

I was hooked on their argument, and felt it in the best interests of my wife’s career to inform her of this. “The problem today, honey,” I told her, “is that we don’t teach enough phonics.”

You will be shocked to learn that Darla thought I was talking outside my area of expertise. She believes that, while teaching phonics is important, the key to reading better is rooted in the concept called “Whole Language.”

“When we read,” she explains, “we see more than individual phonetic sounds. To read well, we must learn to see the whole: the entire word, the context.”

I don’t argue with her anymore. When our first child, Nikki, took a standardized reading exam in second grade, she was already reading at the college level.

You decide if Darla is right. Can you read the following paragraph?


Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch stduy at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in what oredr the ltteers  in a wrod are. The olny  iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer is in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. This is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.


The problem with some people who try to be religious is that they see the details but not the context.

God told his people to rest on the Sabbath Day. What a cool deal. God not only thinks it’s important to work, but also important to relax.

The Jewish theologians, unfortunately, saw the commandment, but failed to see the reason for it. As a result, they created dozens and dozens of nitpicky rules. You couldn’t check your clothes for fleas, light a lamp to read, or put a false tooth back in your mouth. You couldn’t chew your fingernails. You could tie a knot – as long as it wasn’t a camel driver’s knot or a sailor’s knot. A midwife may not help deliver a baby on the Sabbath.

By the time the Bible experts finished their rules for the Sabbath, it was no longer a time of rest and relaxation – it was a hardship.


Have you ever thought of God’s commandments as a burden? As something that keeps you from enjoying life?  Sometimes our problem is that we focus so closely on the rule that we fail to see the reason for it.

Wehn you setp bcak and veiw the wohle cnotxet, yul’ol dscvoer taht ervey cmmonad of God is smilpy the dfeniiton of lvoe.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Point of the Game

Story of the Day for Wednesday August 3, 2011

The Point of the Game

                  “You tithe your mint, dill, and cumin, but have neglected the more important laws: justice, mercy, and faith.” 

                                                                                       Matthew 23:23

The Caribbean Cup soccer tournament in 1994 pitted Barbados against Grenada, with the winner going to the tournament finals. Barbados, however, not only had to win, but had to win by two goals to advance to the finals.

The tournament rules prompted one of the zaniest soccer games ever played. You’ll have to pay attention because I’m not going to repeat this.


The tournament committee ruled that, if the game ended in a tie, the game would go into sudden death. The first team to score in overtime is declared the winner. But, and this is important, the final goal would be counted as two points.

Okay, raise your hand if you’re with me so far.

Barbados was ahead, 2-0, when Grenada scored with minutes to go. Even if Barbados now won by one point, Grenada was headed for the finals.

But, with three minutes remaining, Barbados wasn’t even advancing the ball. Two defensive players calmly kicked the ball back and forth in front of their own goal, and then, to everyone’s surprise, a Barbados player kicked the ball into his own goal.

It took everyone a moment to realize what was happening. If play ended with the score tied, 2-2, the game would go into sudden death. If Barbados could then score the winning goal, they would be declared the winner by two points, and advance to the championship game.

Once Grenada grasped what had just happened, they realized that if they, too, scored a goal against themselves, they would lose the game by one point, but would advance to the finals.

The final minutes of regulation play were sheer madness. Grenada was desperately trying – not to score against their opponent – but against themselves. But Barbados was determined to keep Grenada from kicking the ball into its own net. This was no longer looking like what a soccer game was supposed to look like.

The game ended in a tie. In overtime, Barbados scored the tie-breaking goal and was declared the winner by two points.


Rules can have unintended consequences. The religious people of Jesus’ day tithed. No problem there. But, then, in the interests of being “super holy,” they began the practice of tithing everything – even their herb seeds.

Jesus wasn’t impressed by these extra rules because, while they were sitting on their bums counting out seeds and setting aside every tenth one for God, they were failing to be about the true life of God: helping the poor, showing mercy, and learning the life of faith.

When we make rules that God doesn’t make, we end up missing the point of the game.

                                        (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)