Got Any Steeples?

If I don’t understand what someone is saying, I’m a foreigner to the speaker, and he’s a foreigner to me.  

1 Corinthians 14:11   


“Got any steeples?”  

“Um,” I said, “got any what?” 

“Got any steeples?” 

Even though I was confident I didn’t have any steeples, I hedged by saying, “I don’t think so.”  

Robert, who was fixing my fence, looked puzzled. “I left some here last fall.”  

When you don’t understand something, and others think you should, there’s no point in blurting out your ignorance. Those who learn from me resort, instead, to sly subterfuge.  

“So,” I asked, “what do you want steeples for?”  

Robert looked at me as if I was a duck that had been whacked over the head with a shovel. 

“To nile the bob whar.”  

To . . . nail the barbed wire! “You want some staples!”  

Robert didn’t answer, but gave me a strange look – as if uncertain whether it was worth his time to engage in conversation with a dazed duck.  


Robert, to put it mildly, was not awed by my intellectual prowess. But, in my defense, you should know that Robert grew up in Oklahoma – which can stunt anyone’s linguistic clarity.  


Once, this guy was walking down the street when he noticed a man struggling by himself with a washing machine at the doorway of his house.  

“Can I help?”  

The man smiled, and between heaving breaths, replied, “Yeah, thanks!” 

With one man on each end they lifted and grunted, and pushed, but nothing happened.  

“Sorry,” the Good Samaritan told the man, “I don’t think the two of us can get this washing machine inside by ourselves.”  

“Inside? I’m trying to get it out of my house.”   


Ask a non-Christian what we believe, and most will say our faith is about trying to be good enough to get to heaven, and condemning everyone else who isn’t as holy as we are. Have you ever wondered whether all of them reject the mercy of Jesus, or whether, sometimes, they simply don’t know what we’re trying to say?  


This evening, I asked my wife if she was awed by my intellectual prowess.  

From the blank look she gave me you’d think I came from Oklahoma, or something.  

(copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)