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You know how it is: You’re saying something, but before you can finish saying it you think of something else you have to say, and it seems important, so you say it immediately, interrupting yourself. Maybe you forgot what you were saying entirely. Or maybe you decided it didn’t matter. Or maybe you thought you could come back to it. Maybe you did come back to it, but maybe not.
I know I do that. I think just about everyone does.
The Apostle Paul does this in the New Testament. He does it the best. Here’s a nice example, and you can see how nicely it works out:
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
No sooner has Paul had his amanuensis jot down that he only baptized Crispus and Gaius in Corinth than he remembers he also got to Stephanas’ household. No sooner has he gotten that jotted down than he realizes he has to add parenthetically that he’s only noting whom he can remember baptizing at the oment; he’s not making a complete, once-for-all-time list.
Then he immediately gets back to his theological point. It all works out fine.
Contrast this with the President of the United States. He does it the worst:
[Unclear.] Ya know [unclear], well, what–what do you wanna do with Biden? “I wanna box him.” Hmm. I should be so lucky. You know, I mean. But it is the . . . the . . . kinds of things or, you know, stuff that is comin’ out of Florida, stuff that’s comin’ out of, you know, . . . Robert E. Lee [unclear] in Afghanistan. You’re the one! [Unclear.] Anyway, . . .
We can guess at some of the statements that got interrupted: Some opponent would like to box me, and I almost wish I could take it out in a punching match with that guy! Meanwhile, terrible stuff is happening in Florida. And, alas, even a great general like Robert E. Lee couldn’t have fixed Afghanistan!
And maybe not. At any rate, a single complete thought is hard to find in all that; independent clauses are left incomplete, and there’s no sign of the speaker ever coming back to them.
Yeah, Paul does it the best, and it’ll be Halloween season soon, and I’m already listening to Mannheim Steamroll Halloween music on YouTube, and I like that music, and I also like a nice cup of tea in the mornings, and how ’bout them vaccines, huh?
But to get back to the point: Paul does it the best, and Biden does it the worst.Published in