Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Grave of W. C. Fields

Apparently this old-time comedian once had a bad reception in Philadelphia. Somehow the idea arose that this slight was referred to on his headstone. What is more pathetic than a dull person trying to be clever?

Occasionally I have heard the remark that he had "Better here than in Philadelphia" placed on his grave marker. This is often repeated by those thinking they have some arcane knowledge, and often out of the blue. Of course this is a harmless urban legend. His marker merely states his name and years of his birth and death.

So why do I even mention this? Because it reveals a lamentable and often dangerous practice of repeating something we have heard or read, without having first hand knowledge of it.

I once said to my sister that Paul forbade women to teach or have authority over men. Her response was, "Well, we all know that Paul was a woman hater." How awful for her to say and think that.

First she assumed that the writings of Paul were based on his prejudices and were not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Further, she totally misjudged the character of this man. Paul taught, in Titus, that women should teach, but younger women. Who could be more suitable?

He lamented that he had no wife, though he had the right, and that Peter (the so called first pope) did. If one were to go through the letters of Paul they might be surprised at how many women he refers to with great honor.

Where did her statement come from? I never knew, but my sister suffered greatly towards the end of her life from a number of wrong ideas about the Bible, because of ideas that "we all knew".

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