Since I last posted Austin Hausner put on Christ several weeks ago. Austin is a co-worker of Garry Floyd, but they are on opposite shifts doing the same job, so they rarely see each other. Last fall they happened to run into each other and Garry started talking about the church and invited him to come. To Garry's surprise and delight, Austin came that next Sunday. I set up a study with Austin, but he disappeared -- won't return phone calls or emails. I figured he wasn't interested. But Garry ran into him again about a month back and invited him again. What Garry didn't realize was that Austin's life had hit a low and he had just decided he needed to make major changes. He came again. We studied and when we got to the topic of baptism I asked what he thought he needed to do. His reply was that he need to get baptized -- right now. And he was. We continue to study and he is making tremendous strides in changing his life.
And even more thrilling is that Jamie Johnson, who was baptized last summer, has been studying with his parents over the phone. His mother was baptized earlier this year and his father was baptized today!
I was asked this on LiveMocha, a place for people to learn foreign languages. Native speakers help others learn their language. I started out to learn Spanish, but I've been having so much fun helping people learn English, that my Spanish was pushed to the side. Hence, the question from a man in Iran: why is the "s" doubled?
But as I started answering the question, I found out that the problem is more interesting that it might appear. The problem is caused by conflicting rules:
The rule is that when you have a single vowel in a single syllable, it has a short vowel sound. For a long vowel sound, you add an "e" to the end of the syllable. Thus "car" versus "care" or "bar" versus "bare." This leads to confusion when you add endings because the "e" is typically dropped before adding the ending.
Let's take "bar," as in securing a door, versus "bare," as in without clothes. If I barred the door, the extra "r" is to say that the "a" sound is still short. If I bared my soul, then the lack of doubling says it has long "a" sound. But it is "he bars the door" and "he bares his soul" because adding an "s" doesn't cause the "e" to be dropped.
"Bus" causes confusion because to add an "s" sound to a word ending in "s" requires an "es." However, "buses" by normal English rules would rhyme with "fuses," the plural of "fuse." In other words, it would change the "u" to a long "u" sound. The only reason it doesn't is because there is no word "buse" in English.
To complicate things, there is an old English word "buss," which means to kiss. Doubling the "s" could cause confusion between the two words as the tenses of buss are busses, bussed, and bussing. But then "buss" is such an old word; most people don't know it these days.
The result is that it has become acceptable to spell the forms of bus as: (buses, busing, bused) or (busses, bussing, bussed). Most language purists say the former should be used and the pronunciation rule should be broken in this case. But you'll find others arguing that the pronunciaton rules are more important.
Is that confusing enough? What you learn about your own language trying to help someone else.
Some day I should write about why we say we will do something in January, but we finish it on January 5th. And why are we in the photograph that is on the cover of the book?
A young man from Orange County, California, called earlier this week after reading La Vista's web site. He wanted to find a church like it in his area. Turns out there was a church in his town. I gave him the preacher's phone number. Ken Dart, the preacher, called me today to tell me that the young man was baptized into Christ. ... Another lost sheep was found!
One son noted that some whom he was trying to teach were rejecting what he said because he still lived at home. "Clearly" he couldn't understand life because he wasn't up to his eyeballs in debt!
Ah! I remember those days. Before I wedded my lovely wife, I didn't understand because I hadn't experienced marriage. That was shortly followed by not understanding because we didn't have any children. And just wait until you have teenagers, then you'll see! But until then, we didn't know what it was like. As life moved on and our boys became young men, we learned we still didn't understand because we were lucky to have good kids.
I'm now waiting for the next phase of life: "You're too old to understand!"
Actually, all along I did understand. I knew the direction they were headed and why it wasn't good. It has never been because I was so clever; it was because I leaned on my Maker. My life isn't a fluke, it was designed by God and executed according to the Manufacturer's written instructions.
"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her" (Proverbs 3:13-18).
Life is good today because I'm standing under the best guide in the universe, letting Him show me the way. I'm blessed because God told me how to raise good children and I'm thrilled to be their dad.
James Johnson learned about the church about a month ago through La Vista's web site
. He came to services last weekend and started studying with me on Monday. After reviewing what we studied, he wanted to be baptized. So another child of God has begun the journey home.