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Pastor’s viewpoint: Jan.30, 2016

I’m sure you know about the space “between a rock and a hard place.” I’m equally sure some of you have spent time there. If you have two options and neither one is acceptable; you are “between a rock and a hard place.”
I’m not so sure you know about “Morton’s Fork.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, in the 15th Century, argued that if a man was living modestly, he was saving his money and could afford his taxes. On the other hand, if he was living extravagantly, he obviously had money and could afford his taxes. So Morton’s Fork is the illogical idea that two opposing arguments can both lead to the same conclusion and it seems to me that both the modest taxpayer and the extravagant taxpayer might get caught “between a rock and a hard place.”
Greek mythology contributes “a rock and a hard place” story in “Scylla and Charybdis.” Those were Homer’s mythical sea monsters in the Strait of Messina. Scylla was a six-headed sea monster off the coast of Italy and Charybdis was a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily. Sailors were forced to choose which side of the strait they’d sail past.
“But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end — Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1-7)
Early in my ministry, the church I was serving was building a fellowship hall. The architect called and asked me if he should draw the parking and landscaping. I said, “Yes.” Later I found out I’d added $35,000 to the cost of the building and the architect got 7 percent of that figure; it cost the church $2,450 and we were not planning on paving the parking nor using the landscaping. I simply thought we ought to have them for a future project.
Someone at the next meeting demanded to know who authorized that expense. It was my “rock and a hard place” and my “Scylla and Charybdis!” If I said it was me, they’d be mad at me. If I kept quiet, they might find out. So I …

Charles ‘Buddy’ Whatley is a retired Methodist pastor serving Woodland and Bold Springs, a marketplace chaplain, and a team leader with the Navajo Mission Team.