Tag Archives: value

One Thing Is Still Marvelously Full and Free

I still miss Andy Rooney. Where’s the old curmudgeon when you need him?

Rooney’s commentary at the end of 60 Minutes was always the cream of the show. (Speaking of dairy, I still thank him for pointing out that milk that a cow would claim is just 3.2% fat; I’ve never touched 2% or “skim” since.) After his death in 2011, five weeks after his last television commentary (number 1,097), the man has been irreplaceable. Go to commercial. It’s over.

One of my favorite types of Rooney commentary came when he’d speak over a desk strewn with a variety of items and discuss how consumers were getting ripped off. I thought of him today as I reached for the toilet paper. (Quite a memorial!)

That toilet paper roll was one of those fat ones. The package promised more sheets per roll. And darn well should. If it gets any more expensive, it’ll be cheaper to use dollar bills.

But, more sheets rolled up on the roll or not, I think I’ve uncovered a nefarious plot to filch consumers. Reach for that roll and you’ll find that it rattles around, side to side, on the TP roller. Why? Because the roll is at least an inch narrower than TP rolls used to be. So, less total toilet paper. And I’ll betcha dollars to paper perforations that the price did not go down when the company went to narrower rolls. I’ll call the roll. I call it skimpy even if it’s fat.

Call them out on that (oh, we need Andy Rooney!), and I suspect the companies would give moving speeches about their heartfelt concern for the environment; they’re saving trees. I’ll believe that explanation at exactly the same moment I believe that hotel chains’ primary motivation for wanting to wash your bed linen and towels less often is their desire to help “save the planet.” Or maybe when the skimpy roll sports a lowered price. Not gonna happen. We pay the same or higher prices; we get less product.

I’m not usually much of a conspiracy theorist, but I smell a toilet paper conspiracy. I’d be tempted to suggest we all go back to using Sears catalogs and outhouses in protest (our forefathers were incredibly conscientious about such recycling), but you can’t find Sears catalogs. Or outhouses.

I think the TP narrow gauge rip-off is the T-i-P of a much larger pattern of skullduggery. Have you measured a frozen corn dog lately? They’ve been bobbed. Same price. Less dog. And research shows that since 2006 most ice cream manufacturers have gone from a full half-gallon, 64 ounces, down toward 48. If I’m paying money for what is already mostly air, albeit wonderfully sweetened and flavored, I want 64 ounces of it.

Coffee? We’re mostly getting 13 ounces or less now, not 16. And count your Saltine crackers. Fewer per package. Peanut butter “jars.” Same size? Not really. Notice the indentation in the bottom? In a wine bottle, that’s called a “punt,” and there are a number of good and plausible reasons for it. Only one reason for dents in peanut butter jar bottoms. And it’s not positive. Candy bars? Shrinking because of the companies’ over-arching concern for the health of overweight consumers. Right. Products shrink; prices stay the same. Feel the hand in your pocket? It’s not yours.

One thing is still marvelously full and absolutely free. The riches of God’s grace. And that you can count on.


   You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!



Copyright 2019 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

Warning! Paragraph One Is a Lie!

worship 01

Not only does size matter, it’s the only thing that matters.

That statement is a lie; it smells of the smoke of hell. But few lies are more deeply held by our terminally shallow society. We might as well tattoo it on our foreheads. We embrace it like a lover. We suck it in like life-giving oxygen even as its pollution shrivels our souls. Why not bow down and chant Paragraph One ten times daily? We can’t imagine that it might not be true.

But, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Wash your ears out with this!”

“Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything that counts can be counted.”

The statement has been attributed to Albert Einstein, but the online “Quote Investigator,” traces it to sociologist William Bruce Cameron (1963). I’d just trace its truth a good deal further back. Back to our Creator.

In a fallen world, spreadsheets and bank statements and analyses of gross national product, etc., probably must be counted. Quantified. Measured. Weighed.

But not everything can or should be. Not what really matters. Taking a cue from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I wrote a book one time entitled How To Measure a Rainbow. I’m pretty sure the point was, you can’t do it! But, oh, how we try!

Even in the one organization devoted to a King and kingdom whose life-giving values are always counter to this world’s dance with death we blindly fall to Paragraph One.

In his heartwarming memoir The Pastor, pastor Eugene Peterson calls his colleagues to be true to their calling and not desecrate their vocation by becoming “religious entrepreneurs with business plans.”

For years, he met with a group of pastors encouraging each other to live life with and love God’s people, something far deeper than just morphing into religious CEOs running organizations in competition with other religious CEOs. They were pastors calling people to worship God and find their identity in Him.

Occasionally, a group member desiring to “maximize his effectiveness,” meaning he wanted a bigger church so badly he could taste it, would cut and run. (Of course, there were other moves in and out and to different churches for valid reasons.) But the pastors tried to remind each other that bowing to size and seeking to worship (and be worshiped by) a crowd is idolatry and that God’s people, congregations of whatever size, are to be treated with respect and dignity as holy and of immense value not because they are large. Because they are His.

Knowing that we are God’s, we worship Him. Everything else springs from that worship. To worship means “to acknowledge worth.” If we are first and foremost worshipers of God, then our outreach and evangelism and mission work and service become the beautiful fruit of worship. If we don’t, it begins to rot by becoming just something else we try to count and quantify and stick on a pie chart so we can worship our work, our “effectiveness,” ourselves, rather than our God.

Worship reminds us that Paragraph One is a lie.


     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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