This has happened to me again and again. I’m sitting in some huge meeting with hundreds of the Lord’s people representing churches across our state or country. A large number of preachers are in the audience. The speaker is sounding forth on some subject of importance to us all.
Suddenly, the speaker comes out with a statement that gets a hearty “amen,” something that sounds profound and undergirds the point he is making. He goes on in the message and everyone in the room but one person stays with him. Me, I’m stuck at that statement. Where did he get that, I wonder. Is it true? How can we know?
If “Facebook,” that wonderful and exasperating social networking machine, has taught us anything, it’s to distrust percentages and question quotations.
A Facebook friend’s profile contained a quote from President Kennedy. I happen to know the quote and while I cannot prove JFK never uttered those words–how could we prove that someone never said a thing?–I know how the line got attached to the Kennedys. It’s a quotation from a George Bernard Shaw play.
Some see things as they are and ask ‘Why?’ I see things that never were and ask ‘Why not?’
In 1968, at the funeral of his brother Robert F. Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy spoke those words as applying to him. It’s a terrific depiction of vision. For most of us, I imagine it was our first time to hear the quote. The source was not given in the oration, which may have led some to believe Senator Kennedy made it up.
One thing we know, however, is President John F. Kennedy is not its source. Nor is any Kennedy. And yet, keep your eye out for that quotation. Half the time, its source will be listed as one of the Kennedys.
Accuracy is important for all of us, but particularly those of us called to preach the Truth to get people to Heaven.
Unfortunately, because we speak so often, our sermon machines devour a lot of fodder. It figures that sometimes we are going to get our stories wrong.
That’s why a statement from a preacher hit me so hard and drove me to do a little research.