June 1, 2020

We all know that words matter.  What we say and what we think really do effect people in a multitude of ways.  Washington Irving said, “ A tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.”  Robert M. Helsel said,” He who dares to speak with a razor sharp tongue, shall in end, bare the final scar.”  Well, I think we can all agree that being overly critical and unkind can produce real issues between the speaker and the recipient. 

If that is the case, how about those times when we just do not get the message correct.  We know what we mean but it just does not come out as intended.  We all do it at times. 

I have examples below showing the brighter side of providing a “mixed-message”.  These are actual statements written to deliver information and content.  Church Bloopers, if you will.  Let’s take a look.

  • Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled.  Proceeds will be used  to cripple children.
  • The outreach committee has enlisted twenty-five visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
  • The Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10:00. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
  • Low self-esteem support group will meet Thursday at 7:00 to 8:00 P.M. Please use the back door.
  • For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth into Joy”.
  • Miss Carlene Mason sang, “I will not pass this way again, giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  • Ladies don’t forget the rummage sale. It is a good chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house.  Bring your husbands.
  • The sermon this morning: Jesus Walks on Water.  The sermon tonight: Searching for Jesus.
  • Next Thursday, there will be tryouts for the choir.  They need all the help they can get.
  • Barbara C. remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions.  She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.
  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement Friday.
  • This afternoon there will be a meeting in the north and south ends of the church.  Children will be baptized at both ends.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7:00 P.M. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.

Care must always be taken to say what we mean and mean what we say in a fashion that is straight forward, concise, and meaningful.  “I’m saying the obvious”.


July 15, 2016

Over the years there have been very few books I could just not put down.  American Assassin, by Vince Flynn is one of those.  A very good friend “turned me on” to Flynn’s writing and I certainly owe him a big favor.  American Assassin is one of fifteen (15) books in the Mitch Rapp series and even though not the first written in the series, it’s the first you need to read.  Given below are the Mitch Rapp books:

  • American Assassin
  • Kill Shot
  • Transfer of Power
  • The Third Option
  • Separation of Power
  • Executive Power
  • Memorial Day
  • Consent to Kill
  • Act of Treason
  • Protect and Defend
  • Extreme Measures
  • Pursuit of Honor
  • The Last Man
  • The Survivor
  • Order to Kill

American Assassin goes into great detail as to why twenty-two (22) Mitch Rapp is driven to join the CIA as a field operative in the war on Middle-Eastern counter-terrorism. Flynn spends a great deal of time defining the process of weeding out individuals that eventually make the cut. From eight (8) recruits, only two survive, Rapp and an operative named Richardson. In doing so, Flynn develops a vivid picture of each fascinating character as they are introduced chapter by chapter.  This is one of the very best characteristics of the book; the depth of each character.  These people are definitely NOT saints.  There is no “turn the other cheek” in their mode of operation.

“Assassin” details Rapps first assignment as a rookie operative and takes us from Virginia to Zurich, to Moscow, to Beirut, to Hamburg.  We see the seamy side of terrorism as well as the wealthy and posh side.  We are introduced to Russian terrorists, morally deprived Swiss bankers, Palestine arms dealers, as well as CIA manpower driving specific programs to destroy Jihad activities.


Vince Flynn is almost as interesting as his books.  Flynn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1966. He graduated from the St. Thomas Academy in 1984 and the University of St. Thomas with a degree in economics in 1988. After college he went to work for Kraft General Foods where he was an account and sales marketing specialist.

In 1990 he left Kraft to accept an aviation candidate slot with the United States Marine Corps. One week before leaving for Officers Candidate School, he was medically disqualified from the Marine Aviation Program, as a result of several concussions and convulsive seizures he suffered growing up.  While trying to obtain a medical waiver for his condition, he started thinking about writing a book. This was a very unusual choice for Flynn since he had been diagnosed with dyslexia in grade school and had struggled with reading and writing all his life.

Having been stymied by the Marine Corps, Flynn returned to the nine-to-five grind and took a job with United Properties, a commercial real estate company in the Twin Cities. During his spare time he worked on an idea for his first book and for a series of books thereafter. After two years with United Properties he decided to take a big gamble. He quit his job, moved to Colorado, and began working full time on what would eventually become Term Limits, his first publication.

Like many struggling artists before him, he bartended at night and wrote during the day. Five years and more than sixty (60) rejection letters later he took the unusual step of self-publishing his first novel. The book went to number one in the Twin Cities, and within a week had a new agent and two-book deal with Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint.

Flynn was diagnosed with stage three metastatic prostate cancer in 2010, but continued to write his best-selling thrillers until he died at the age of forty-seven (47).  His death was a great loss to the publishing world and every individual looking for that next great book.  He left a great body of work that is enjoyed by individuals over the world.

I can definitely recommend this book to you. Remember—start with American Assassin.  Read that one first.

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