The Common Good
July-August 1995

In Most Things Be Humble

by Ed Spivey Jr. | July-August 1995

"Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another."

"Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another."
-1 PETER 5:5

(But then, Peter never won First Place at anything, did he? I didn't think so.)

MOSCOW. Journalists covering the recent summit between U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President-for-Now Boris Yeltsin expressed shock and anger after learning that most of their stories had not been published. Asked his opinion about this unprecedented break in journalistic procedure, President Clinton quickly pointed out his renewed hope for improving U.S.-Russian relations and went on to say some other stuff, too. But by then most of us had nodded off. (Compiled from wire service reports.)

Ashocking story, but true. It turns out that editors back home wisely chose to pre-empt coverage of the summit in order to report that Sojourners magazine won First Place for Humor at the recent 1995 Associated Church Press (ACP) convention.

Sojourners had never won an award for its humor column, much less from a prestigious organization like the ACP. (I used to think ACP was an oil treatment. Turns out it's a highly regarded institution with enormous perceptive capabilities. Who knew?)

Sojourners also won other ACP awards for serious writing such as poetry, features, news, and letters to the editor. Unfortunately, space limitations prohibit me from going into much detail on those. As you can see, we only have about 17 inches left in this column, hardly enough space to report adequately on the successes of my colleagues. And I don't want to give them short shrift. (They like their shrift long, waaaay longer than we have space for, I'm sorry to say.)

Nor will I dwell on the fact that my colleagues only received a tie for First Place and some honorable mentions. Of course, they should be very proud of their honorable mentions. Honorable mentions are...uh...very honorable, and I'm sure they're gratified to know that all their hard work really paid off. Almost.

But as a FIRST PLACE WINNER, I will rise above the swollen self-importance that lesser people would affect after winning such a prestigious award. (It's just a coincidence that my new license plate says "i1Udint.")

As a FIRST PLACE WINNER, I've become a role model here at Sojourners, and staff members are now looking to me to take on important new responsibilities.

This week, for example, the grateful staff came to me and asked if I would empty the kitchen trash. At first, they were reluctant to relinquish this critical task. But they told me they had talked together and agreed that a strong sense of leadership was required. So naturally they turned to me, a FIRST PLACE winner.

I started to have doubts, though, when I tried to pick up the 4-foot-high receptacle. Ihad never paid much attention to it before, nor had the other people in the office (the reason being that it's the most disgusting thing in the building).

The can had grown heavy with the lunch leavings of 28 people who would rather listen to Rush Limbaugh than take it out to the dumpster. So heavy that the only way to carry it is to wrap your arms around it like you're hugging a loved one. Unfortunately, this loved one suffers from chronic lack of hygiene and, possibly, Legionnaire's disease. And it's so overflowing that things brush against your face as you struggle out the door with it-things you wouldn't want on the bottom of your shoe, much less on your cheek.

But as a FIRST PLACE winner, I am sufficient to any task, including the task of picking new life forms off my clothes. I am undaunted. On this particular day nothing can erode the sweet smell of my success (or is it old yogurt containers?).

Editors' Note: At the risk of souring that smell of success (could you move a little farther away there, fella) the Evangelical Press Association (EPA)-to which Sojourners also submitted entries-gave a THIRD PLACE award to the same "H'rumphs" column that received ACP's top award.

We're not sure, but we think EPA awarded first place to Moody Monthly for "Christians Are Very Funny People, Really They Are." Second place honors may have gone to Christian Men's Monthly for "Newt Gingrich: A Compassionate Life." This article was not originally written as a humor piece.

AND NOW THE NEWS...

The Christian Coalition was so anxious to distribute its Contract With the American Family that it published the document with several typographical errors. As a public service to the CC, we offer the following corrections:

On page four, in the paragraph outlining the need for religious freedom in schools, the word "handgun" was inadvertently used in place of the word "prayer."

On page 12, the third paragraph should read: "In a just society, poor people would be given jobs," not, as it now states, "one-way tickets to a foreign country."

The Contract's conclusion contains the inspiring story of a husband waiting patiently in front of the TV for his wife to come home from work and fix his dinner. This comes "right out of scripture," claims Coalition founder Pat Robertson. Unfortunately, at press time they still had not found the biblical reference, though it will be included in the next printing. (Sounds Old Testament to us, but we're not sure.)

STUDY QUESTIONS

If you have the "eyes to see, and the ears to hear" then why don't you have a leg to stand on? Discuss.

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