Recently a visitor to the Church came to me and started speaking all spiritually about the things of God. I enjoy it when people speak up and elaborate on current issues. What really caught me was the enthusiasm and conviction this gentleman used to quote the following Scripture; “Yes Pastor; where does it say again in Scripture, “Life is a journey not a destination”? I paused for a moment and answered; “I think it’s a phrase from an Aerosmith song man” …. “No wait; it is an old Nissan advertisement!” Actually it was a line from a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem. (And Aerosmith said it as well). I was just so intrigued by how we assume and calculate truth beyond the facts.  Currently Biblical literacy within the Church seems faint and very shallow, the priority of services seems to focus solely on giving man a life line and to salvage man’s need. Sadly, our churches have become “homo-erotic”. Man centered…Makes you wonder, how many concepts we hold on to that is basically false?Here are a few suggestions:

Biblical assumptions:

“A fool and his money are soon parted” is not in the bible. The quote is a proverb found in the poem “Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry” by Thomas Tusser
“God helps those who help themselves” is not in the bible. The quote is by Sidney Algernon (1622-1683) in his “Discourses on Government.”
“God helps them that help themselves” is not in the bible. The quote is by Benjamin Franklin in “Poor Richard’s Almanac” of 1757.
“Money is the root of all evil” 1 Timothy 6:10 says “For the love of money is the root of all evil” KJV
“Spare the rod, spoil the child” Proverbs 13:24 says “He that spareth his rod hateth his son” KJV
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Matthew 7:12 says “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” KJV
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Actually said by: John Wesley (Sermons, no 93, ‘On Dress’)

Cultural Assumptions:

What does the colour red mean to you? You may think of things such as danger, stop, love and passion. When the composer of a written text uses descriptions that include the colour red they are perhaps trying to make you think of these things.

If a composer were to describe a red sky they may be implying impending (coming) danger. Typically it is assumed in South Africa, and many Western countries around the world, that the following colours signify the following things:

Red: anger, passion, danger, stop
White: peace, purity, cleanliness, life
Black: death, sickness, evil
Green: go, nature, happiness
Blue: peace, serenity, boys
Pink: love, girls

This of course is not exhaustive – there are many, many more. When you approach a written text, remember that the use of colour is often an attempt to communicate through cultural assumptions. It is important to note that different cultures attach meaning to colours in different ways. In China red is a colour that has connotations of happiness. Significantly, the traditional colour for Chinese brides to wear is red. Notice also that red is the dominant colour on the Chinese flag. The colour green dominates the flags of many Muslim countries and this is because green represents Islam. These differences in meaning can have a significant impact on written texts. For example where in South Africa a written text that describes a lot of red may imply danger or passion; in China it may imply patriotism. Consider what a poem that uses red imagery might mean in South Africa and what it might mean in China. A South Africa responder is positioned to see anger or danger whereas in China the responder is positioned to see happiness.

Non-verbal Assumptions:

Sometimes we try to equate no answer for an answer. When someone stays quiet on a certain issue we might feel that they are construing or even being polite because they believe the opposite.There is a wonderful story of the desert fathers where two visitors come to see the wise old monk to receive some polite words of wisdom. He stays in absolute silence; and after a while the wise man’s student leans over and whisper in the old man’s ear “Father please say something; these men came so far to receive instruction.” The wise old man leans back to the student and whispers in his ear “If they are not impressed by my silence; how will they be impressed by my words.” No answer is sometimes just that! No answer. In the information age we firmly believe that it is our first amendment right to know everything, even what people didn’t say!

Social- economic assumptions:

We recently went through a global economic crunch! The reason was simple, our spending exceeded our incomes and our upkeep poised our downfall. The theory of supply and demand usually assumes that markets are perfectly competitive. This implies that there are many buyers and sellers in the market and none of them have the capacity to influence the price of the good.

In many real-life transactions, the assumption fails because some individual buyers or sellers or groups of buyers or sellers do have enough ability to influence prices.

Beyond that we can say that the majority of wealth is not enjoyed by the minority as supposed. Because the minority system of generating and maintaining a suitable economic form of stability is gravely over exaggerated and vastly deteriorating, we can not judge someone by the car he drives or the suit he wears or by the house he lives in. It might not even be his or hers. But the economic monster they are sustaining may be the proprietor.

Let stop assuming!

Rudolph B