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The Rev. Dr. Thomas Lane Butts The Rev. Dr. Thomas Lane Butts

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Lane Butts is minister emeritus of First United Methodist Church in Monroeville, AL.

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Dr. Thomas Lane Butts: 10 Rules to Live By

May 07, 2009

Erma Bombeck was one of my favorite newspaper columnists. I do miss her! When writing on her favorite subject, "children and family life", she had the wonderful capacity of being able to combine profundity and playfulness. She had the amazing ability of being able to call our attention to serious matters without letting us take ourselves too seriously.

One of my esteemed clergy friends, Dr. Norman Neaves, once introduced a sermon by reading Erma Bombeck's "Ten Rules to Live By". Since Mother's Day is just a few days away, perhaps these Ten Rules would be worth reading.

Here they are. First, never have more children than you have car windows! Second, gravity always wins. Accept that. Science is trying to reverse the aging process and the kicker is that you look young on the outside, but on the inside you're still aging. There's no advantage to looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger on the beach if you can't travel two feet from a restroom! And third, never loan your car to someone to whom you have given birth.

Here's the fourth one: Pick your friends carefully. A "friend" never goes on a diet when you're fat or tells you how lucky you are to have a husband who remembers Mother's Day - when his gift to you was a smoke alarm! And the fifth one: Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart! And the sixth rule: given a choice between the man of your dreams and a plumber, choose the latter. Men who can fix your toilet on Sundays are hard to come by!

This is rule number seven: Know the difference between success and fame. Success is Mother Teresa. Fame is Madonna! Number eight: Never be in a hurry to terminate a marriage. Remember, you may need this man or woman someday to complete a sentence for you! And the ninth rule: There are no guarantees in marriage. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a Sears battery! And finally, here's the last one, rule number ten: Never go to your class reunion pregnant. If you do, they'll think that's all you've been doing since you graduated!

Well, that ought to get us ready to consider the serious responsibility of child rearing. Now that I am well past the biblical statute of limitations of three score and ten years of age, and soon to be an octogenarian, and my children are married and live 100 miles away I have become an authority on the subject. I can explain the process, and dwell on the particulars with senile rapture! So listen up.


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