Signs of the Times

Sign over a Gynecologist’s Office:
“Dr. Jones, at your cervix.”
In a Podiatrist’s office:
“Time wounds all heels.”
On a Septic Tank Truck:
Yesterday’s Meals on Wheels
At a Proctologist’s door:
“To expedite your visit, please back in.”
At an Optometrist’s Office:
“If you don’t see what you’re looking for,
you’ve come to the right place.”
On a Plumber’s truck:
“We repair what your husband fixed.”
On another Plumber’s truck:
“Don’t sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.”
On a Church’s Billboard:
“7 days without God makes one weak.”
At a Tire Shop inĀ  Milwaukee :
“Invite us to your next blowout.”
At a Towing company:
“We don’t charge an arm and a leg. We want tows.”
On an Electrician’s truck:
“Let us remove your shorts.”
In a Non-smoking Area:
“If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.”
On a Maternity Room door:
“Push. Push. Push.”
On a Taxidermist’s window:
“We really know our stuff.”
On a Fence:
“Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!”
At a Car Dealership:
“The best way to get back on your feet -
miss a car payment.”
Outside a Muffler Shop:
“No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”
In a Veterinarian’s waiting room:
“Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”
At the Electric Company
“We would be delighted if you send in your payment.
However, if you don’t, you will be.”
In a Restaurant window:
“Don’t stand there and be hungry;
come on in and get fed up.”
In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
“Drive carefully. We’ll wait.”
At a Propane Filling Station:
“Thank heaven for little grills.”
And don’t forget the sign at a
“Best place in town to take a leak.”
Sign on the back of another Septic Tank Truck:
“Caution – This Truck is full of Political Promises”

Forward Thinking on “Reading Backwards”– Part Five
Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview, Part 2
Man Shoveling Snow in Lexington while Break Dancing
Forward Thinking on Reading Backwards– Part Four
  • Katoikei

    When I started out as a Christian I held fast to the teaching of Jesus with respect to non-violence and still do, but I have to admit I have wondered over the years where one draws the line.
    My very first pastor used to use a turn of phrase, ‘let the smack you on the right cheek, the left cheek and after that let ‘em have it’ (or something like that) Well, within my first few weeks of being a Christian, I was cornered by a young sailor who discovered that he was working with someone who was big enough to retaliate but would not. So, he set to repeatedly pounding my shoulder at every opportunity and particularly during lunch breaks. His accomplice, who stood by egging him on did not expect that one day, I might snap and return fire. It took a good few weeks of pounding for me to reach a place where I issued a warning. ‘If you hit me one more time you are going to regret it’ (very calmly and quietly) He ignored my warning and so received a karate punch to the nose, which rendered him unconscious, but might just as easy have killed him. His accomplice begged me to leave, for he was convinced that once his hero regained consciousness, I’d be dead man. It did not play out like that but instead in the office the following morning, my burly aggressor tip toed (giving as wide a berth as possible) around me and from that day on kept his distance. How far does one go in keeping this command of Jesus?

  • Anonymous

    This is a good point. I would say one goes as far as Jesus went….all the way to the cross. After all, you did take up your cross when you became a disciple, didn’t you. But this does not mean that you make yourself a punching bag by sitting around doing nothing. In your case I would have reported the bully to the proper authorities, and until something was done continue to just walk away and not give the person no opportunity to mess with you. As Ms. Miaki used to say— ‘Best way to avoid fight…..not be there.’

  • Brett

    I have struggled with this kind of thing, and am actually opposed to the death penalty (for many reasons faith-based on non), but I also would agree with C.S. Lewis in that circumstances must be considered when “turning the other cheek”…he states, “I think the meaning of the words was perfectly clear, insofar as you are simply an angry man who has been hurt, mortify your anger and don not hit back…even, one would have assumed that insofar as you are a magistrate struck by a private person, a parent struck by a child, a teacher by a scholar, a san man by a lunatic, or a soldier by the public enemy, your duties may be very different, different because there may be then other motives than egoistic retaliation for hitting back.” (Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”)

    I also believe that we are sanctioned by God to protect the weak, and if that is from a physical attack, we should not stand by and let them suffer. Self-defense is a whole other topic, and much harder to defend.

  • Katoikei

    Hi BenW3. I like that thought – ‘all the way to the cross’ The proper authorities in this case the military would have encouraged me to retaliate, after all those were the rules in the world, that is up until the time that the spirit of Jesus Christ came to nestle in my heart.

    Walking away was not possible as I was apprehended in my quarters and normally by surprise. I was a very tough young man (a rugby player) and so his punches were more of an irritation than something that harmed me. It was just that he kept it up, taunting me to respond. “Hit me! Hit me!” he’d repeat and I was determined not to live out of my old nature. Eventually, he got what he deserved and it ended his fight and ended the surprise attacks and created the correct distance between us. Respect.

  • Katoikei

    The second time I was attacked for my beliefs, I was fortunate enough to have the authorities present and even with them there I was better able to manage being stabbed in my arm with a coal stove over poker. Fortunately, it was not a red hot poker, but it pierced my arm at the elbow and grabbed the poker not aware that my skin had been punctured. I grabbed the poker and held it looking at my assailant and said, “Don’t you ever do that again!” as firmly and calmly as I could manage. Then the senior rate at my side exclaimed, “You’re bleeding!” I was rushed of to the medics to get stitches and a few weeks later I was drafted to another area. I guess the authorities took afforded the opportunity to keep the wolves off this young lamb. I learned self-defense while in the semi-military getting some tips from a black belt in karate. I studied a few course in how to manage difficult customers and have so far managed to negotiate with the mind when passions flare. I think I’ve only once used a karate block. The offender on the run with handcuff half attached had run into a nearby church. We cornered him and he jumped out and raised his arm, the handcuff flashed and I thought it was a knife (silly me) and immediately blocked his arm on the ascent, bent it behind his back and guided him back to the charge office. Minimum force is a legal term when dealing with criminals. It means that you can only render the force necessary to stop an attack, and no further. I often wonder about stuff like when I first joined the church and how they’d pray for the young men going to war and asking God to bless them. Does God sanction killing?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for sharing your story Katoikei. I understand your struggles. It is so hard to follow a Christian straight line in a crooked world. I would just leave you with a thought that there is a difference between using some force, and using potentially lethal violence. If I hold tightly to a small child’s hand as we cross a busy street I have not done violence to the child, but I have used strength, or force to make sure of the safe outcome. I think too little of the time when we think of the use of force we assume it must be the same as using violence. It is not the same thing.

  • Mike Holmes

    I like the discussion on here. I do believe in following Jesus’ command to it’s fullest extent, to the cross. I do not come from a pacifist background, and do not claim to be one now, but I sit somewhat close to it on the spectrum of ideas regarding violence. From an individual perspective I hope that I would never use lethal force in a scenario where it was possible. I believe that as a Christian we are held to Christ’s example and teaching. However, my struggles hit a little harder when someone else is involved. It is one thing if I am attacked, it is another if a girlfriend/spouse or child is under assault. I believe in turning the other cheek on my own face, however like Niebuhr, I’m not so crazy about turning someone’s cheek for them.

    You are right in saying that there is a distinction between force and violence, and I would argue between violence and lethal violence. I try to keep that in mind when I think through this issue. It is a tough one to wrestle with when trying to honor scripture as authoritative, yet not push it beyond what it says.

  • Katoikei

    Thanks Mike and BenW3 for your thoughts.

    ‘I think too little of the time when we think of the use of force we assume it must be the same as using violence. It is not the same thing.’ (BenW3)


    ‘You are right in saying that there is a distinction between force and violence, and I would argue between violence and lethal violence.’ ( Mike Holmes )

    I agree. I think that when that invisible line between right and wrong is crossed and the offender shows no conscience or intent on turning back, we’ve hit the wall and either we get the appropriate authorities to step in (if there is time) or we deal out whatever is necessary to end it swiftly. I witnessed this sort of thing in the recent riots in England when shops were broken into and people were harmed and there were no police around to save the day and as a result in one village the menfolk went out to push back the darkness.


  • Katoikei

    Hi Brett, I enjoyed a quick read of C.S Lewis’ sermon ‘The Weight of Glory’ but could not find the ideas you have presented, in it.

    ‘mortify your anger and don not hit back’ (Brett quotes ?)

    This brings to mind something written in James: ‘What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor? ‘ (James 4:1-13 NIV)