Techniques of Non-Prophets: The Speculation/Prophecy Two-Step

Today I thought I would bring up another technique of Non-Prophets.

Last time, I discussed “Arbitrage through Tautology” — Making statements that look impressive on the surface but which, when you really look at them, cannot possibly be false. While it is a shady technique and easy to see when one is aware of its existence, it is not uncommon and as I mentioned I don’t think it is used insincerely, in general, but, rather, is often the unexamined product of the Non-Prophet’s underlying insecurity in his own (non-)ordination and is simply his attempt to make sure he is covered. The statement actually communicates no real information because, deep down, the Self-Appointed Prophet (or S.A.P.) has no real information to communicate.

This time, I want to discuss another technique popular with Non-Prophets: the Speculation/Prophecy Two-Step. It is a means of eating one’s cake and having it, too. And it is something you will see not only in Fake Prophetdom, but you will also see it in Fake Wall Street Expertdom and other places where someone is trying to sell you on their success or credibility.

It is a technique for not only covering yourself in the event that something doesn’t turn out like you say, but also for generating some “wax fruit” (a topic in itself that I want to cover one day) to bolster your Self-Appointed Prophetic status. After all, if you claim to be a Prophet, people are going to expect results, right? They are going to expect you to say things are going to happen and then to see them happen. Consequently, you have to go out on a limb and actually make some predictions. However, you aren’t actually a real Prophet, and God is not actually telling you things like He does with real prophets. So, what’s a S.A.P. to do?

Sadly, there are lots of things you can do. And one of those things that Non-Prophets do is the Speculation/Prophecy Two-Step.

First, they speculate about the future. Admittedly, speculation isn’t particularly prophetic! Anyone can do it, and, in fact, all of us in our own way speculate about the future, even if it’s just about whether our boss is going to give us a bonus this year or not given the economy. In fact, much of our “news” reporting is just that: speculation.

Case-in-point: The recent papal election. Many commentators were speculating about what sort of pope the conclave would elect, and a variety of ideas were thrown out including a number of names of potential successors to the throne of not-actually-Peter. It’s what news analysts do.

English: Cardinal Jorge M. Bergoglio SJ, Archb...
What? All those guesses and I wash’ t on the list? What am I, chopped liver? What sort of “prophet” are you? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ditto with some Non-Prophets out there. Some were throwing out names like Rip Taylor throws confetti. (A dated reference for some of you younger folks, I know. Please hand me my cane and shut up. 🙂 ) As the election neared, the speculations increased. Here’s a partial list of papal candidates thrown out by just one Self-Appointed Prophet hoping to catch the next pope in his pronouncements as the countdown closed: Taracisio Bertone, Peter Erdo, Kurt Koch, Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Marc Ouellet, Odilio Pedro Scherer, Christoph Schönborn, Peter Turkson. (You’ll notice that Jorge Bergoglio — now known as Pope Francis I — is not on that list.) And the speculated reasons for such individuals from the Non-Prophet was just as robust: The presence of the name “Peter” (based on the Malarkey prophecy hoax–misspelling intentional), the growth of the RCC in Africa, the European origins of the individual, the Italian origins of the individual, the Germanic origins of the individual, the importance of Central and South America to the RCC, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam.

A LOT of personal speculation. Again, no problem. People speculate. Real Prophets generally don’t need to, but Prophets are human beings and surely they would (though whether they would make the majority of their public discussion their own personal speculations is another matter). I, myself, remember thinking, “Hmmm… I wouldn’t be surprised if they picked someone to appeal to the growing Latin American demographic.” When Bergoglio was picked, I certainly didn’t suddenly declare myself the heir to Elijah. 🙂

(An interesting aside: I actually saw a fellow’s comment on a mainstream news blog–Yahoo, I think–who said, before the pope’s election, that he hoped the new pope would name himself Francis I, due to the hopeful symbolism the name would embody. And, of course, the Jorge Bergolio did just that. That didn’t make the blog commenter a prophet. More important, I didn’t see a follow up comment where he claimed a prophet gift. It’s a rare level of pride that takes a person to such places where they are so easily willing to “appoint” themselves prophets…)

So, speculation: no problem.

BUT, where the difference comes in is when the speculation fails or succeeds — that is, when it is finally shown to be either wrong or right.

If the Non-Prophet’s speculation is wrong, then generally you won’t hear about it again. After all, real prophecies are never truly wrong and thus real Prophets should never have the need to say that something God has shown them would happen was actually wrong. Personal speculation is not a main feature of their public pronouncements, so there isn’t much to apologize about.

However, if the speculation is right, things often go very differently! Then, the speculation becomes “evidence” that the Non-Prophet has special, God-given insight! Sometimes it is stated in a subtle way, as in “If you recall, back in 2010 [or 2007 or 2011 or 2004 or whatever] I said blah, blah, blah which has now happened.” Of course, they don’t say, “And I also said blah, blah, blah which, as we all know, didn’t come true.” (Unless they can add an “at least, not yet” which is a great cover-all, also.) I say “subtle” but, really, it isn’t that subtle. Especially if they do it time and time again, which some will do. And sometimes they will also cut-and-paste a little excerpt of what they said to bolster the fact that they had “predicted’ what is now happening — with any wrong parts removed, of course.

Sometimes they become even more blatant and reference their speculation as “evidence” of special divine insight in a completely-not-subtle-in-any-way fashion, as in including it in a list of their “Successful Predictions” that are somehow supposed to convince others of their Personal Prophetic and Predictive Powers.

For instance, a S.A.P. might claim, “Before the election of Pope Francis, I predicted that the growing Latin American demographic would very possibly lead to a Latin American cardinal being elected!” The “very possibly” aside (another technique to be discussed another time), the statement would then be simultaneously true and misleading–and the devil loves that sort of tool! It would be true, because the Non-Prophet actually did make a statement about that possibility. But it would be misleading because that statement was made amidst many other speculative statements which turned out to be false.

Then, the super-weasely part: Should someone call the Non-Prophet on the now-false statements, he can always say, “Well, that was personal speculation! Can’t a guy speculate?”

Of course a guy can speculate. But if he wants his false speculations ignored and not considered evidence against his supposed “prophetic” gift, then he can’t turn around and have his other speculations count as evidence for his supposed “prophetic” gift.

That’s why I call it the Speculation/Prophecy Two-Step. If it turns out wrong, even if he is called on it, the Non-Prophet steps in the “Well, it was only speculation” direction. If it turns out right, then he steps in the “Well, see, I told you that would (might) happen!” direction. Eat cake, and have cake. A great deal!

[Aside: You see the same thing in some advertisements and books by stock investment “geniuses” — they report some amazing investment gains (300%! 450%! 1,293%!) for some stocks they invested in using their “strategy.” But they don’t mention the ones that bombed. And if called on it, “Well, hey, it’s the stock market — you can’t win all the time! What do you expect?” (Which is why they are selling books instead of sitting on their vast stock market-based wealth…)]

Here’s another example I’ve seen in the wild (paraphrased in my own words): “The Bible says that your women will rule over you, so I would not be surprised at all if Mrs. Hillary Clinton runs for office and becomes President of the United States. She’s already fulfilled that prophecy in other ways, as a senator and as Secretary of State, but don’t be surprised if she runs for the office of Chief Executive, as well. I’ve often said she might do this.”

This actually illustrates multiple Non-Prophet techniques, but let’s focus on the one at hand: The Speculation/Prophecy Two-Step. If Mrs. Clinton were not to run for office or to run and not win and choose to stop seeking the office and another Mr. Male-type-person were elected, our Non-Prophet can always say, “Well, that was simply my speculation. She’s fulfilled prophecy in other ways–I was simply speculating on how far she might go.” Yet, if Mrs. Clinton were to win, you can guarantee that the Non-Prophet would say at the earliest opportunity, “You’ll note that back in [whatever year], I wrote about Mrs. Clinton running and winning the Presidency.” The Speculation/Prophecy Two-Step. Ignore what I said if it ends up wrong, but be sure to notice what I said if it ends up right.

However, God didn’t intend for those claiming to be Prophets to both eat their cake and have it, too. If having some successful speculations is supposed to be evidence of possession of the divinely given gift of prophecy and the actual office of Prophet, then having failed speculations should be evidence against the gift and the office.

The gift of prophecy–in the sense of receiving information directly from God and not through Scripture–is a lot more than insight and decent (or indecent) speculation. Otherwise, most of the Self-Appointed Prophets out there actually have less claim to a divine title than many secular, carnal news-watchers or investors. Unless Warren Buffett’s “title” as the Oracle of Omaha is actually a divine office, then a hit-and-miss approach to speculating about the future is hardly evidence of anything but “Hey, I can read the Bible and watch the news” status.

In reality, anyone who watches the news can generate a list of speculations. It takes no special skill. And anyone can then make a smaller list of those speculations that turned out great. But if such a list is supposed to mean that the speculator is a Prophet, then we are surrounded by prophets — they write for our newspapers and talk on our 24-hour news channels. If we must disregard all of their mistaken pronouncements as “only speculations” but must look at their successful pronouncements as “evidence of inspiration” then we’ve got more “Prophets” in our midst than at any time in history — and there ain’t much special about it.

Don’t let anyone get away with that. Actually pronouncing a real-life, committed, specific prophecy — versus throwing out a speculation — is meant to be risky business. A real prophecy is meant to be held up to strong standards and to say something about the one giving the prophecy (and, thus, if there is One behind him or her). Don’t let someone do the Speculation/Prophecy Two-Step on you, dancing around the implications of Deuteronomy 18:22 and other scriptures. Stick with the Texas Two-Step. It’s a much more pleasant dance, and, well, you know: “Texas.” 🙂

EDIT: Just hit me that I should probably add links to these for previous items. The last one was “Techniques of Non-Prophets: Arbitrage through Tautology.

22 thoughts on “Techniques of Non-Prophets: The Speculation/Prophecy Two-Step

  1. On a subject which may or may not relate directly to this blog (but which I’ve seen, and seen called out as such, in dealing with certain extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary proof): have you heard of the statistical fallacy called “the enumeration of favorable circumstances”? Have you seen any SAPs employ it? What you describe above sounds much like what I’ve read of in another context: pointing out apparent matches (e.g., comparing an alleged 3-D star map seen during an alleged UFO encounter, and then drawn from memory, to a real 3-D star map from the Glise Catalog) while ignoring the much larger mass of data in which there are no such matches.

    The point is not whether the circumstances I described happened. I’ve known spiritualists who’ve gone through such alleged “close encounters of the third kind” and these were obviously visionary and demonic in nature. I have good reason to believe the same was true in this case. I’m speaking rather of the nature of evidence and analysis – and asking whether the SAPs play fast and loose with both in the same way described above. If you have seen it among the SAPs, and if it’s worthy of a separate blog later, I look forward to what you write on it.

    Thanks for your patience with me, as always! 😀

  2. Interesting post. It appears to me that you are mainly talking about someone who claims to be a prophet, versus someone who just states clearly what a specific Bible prophecy says. Thus, those are two kinds of people. One who claims to have a special relationship with the Father above and beyond the Bible. Versus one who quotes the Biblical information.

    For instance, what would one do with this. I said on live TV many times over two decades that Israel would give Gaza to the Palestinians. Not might, not maybe, etc. but WOULD, without question do that. Result, they gave Gaza to the Palestinians. A local preacher at the time on the station tried to rebut that by saying that “Israel will give Gaza to the Palestinians when shrimp learn to whistle.” Well, can’t you hear them whistling now?

    Also, I called Sept. 11, 2001 ahead of time, on live TV. Even am probably the first to call it 9/11, and that was almost two weeks before it happened.

    I also, told what would happen to Arafat before it happened.

    The above is indisputable. It was done on live TV and I have the video copies to prove it.

    The point of the above? Does that make me a “prophet” or doesn’t that PROVE more that the Bible itself is true and accurate? It states the latter. The Bible is accurate.

    The second point is, there is a method, if you will, to doing the above, using the Bible, that most anyone can learn to do. But, here’s the problem. The basic reaction to such as I state above is, “Oh, so you are a prophet? Yeah, in your own mind. Haven’t you read Dt.?” By doing this, those people have lost the opportunity of learning how I did the above. There are Biblical keys to doing more of the above.

    Oh, I also called the “Arab Spring” before it happened. I posted it on my Twitter account, and the post is still there. And, as you know, these posts to Twitter are dated. Of course, I didn’t know it would be called the “Arab Spring,” But, it happened, and is based on Scripture, nothing else.

    Why do I mention this? Simple. IF what I said is true, then we have more real proof that the Bible is not just a fairy tale book. And, it should mean that Bible believers would be more interested in this kind of information, but they aren’t. IF what I said above is not true, then it would only make me look bad.

    This may not be the place to discuss more about the above, but I’m more curious about why people resist so strongly what upholds the Bible, and aren’t the least curious about what the Bible keys are. Frankly, I’m more curious about the resistance than about the fact of actually calling some prophetic events.

    Bob

  3. Steve

    I’ve noticed this, too! They use words like perhaps, maybe, it could be that… and so on. They make predictions while keeping an out-card in their back pocket. Somehow, I don’t think real prophets would do that. (And I know who Rip Taylor is).

  4. Robert Petry: Without commenting on all you mentioned, let me briefly say that, yes, I am talking about those who claim to be Prophets. Some of the techniques certainly apply to others, as well, like certain Wall Street hucksters alluded above who selectively list their successes.

    Steve: Yep. It isn’t the only thing Self-Appointed Prophets and others do, but it is definitely on the list. And, again, I don’t think all of them do these things purposefully to be deceptive; some of them, I am fairly sure, have their Jeremiah 17:9 hearts empowering a good deal of self-deception.

  5. obeirne

    An interesting and I believe accurate analysis, Mr. Smith. On a particular aspect of alleged prophecy it can be safely stated that the real prophets about whom we know in and through the Old Testament is that they never used the false predictions of those who were not of God to bolster the words God inspired they, the true prophets, spoke. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezkiel and Daniel didn’t back up what God prophesied by referring to predictions by the priests of Baal!

  6. Thanks, Oberine. Often Paul is abused by some who prefer to swim in such dark waters, claiming it is a matter of being all things to all people, or that it is a matter not being ignorant of the devil’s devices, or that his few quotes of pagan authors are equivalent to searching pagan prophecies for insights into the future. Paul will likely have a few words to say about such abuses of his teaching when he has opportunity to do so in the future. 🙂 Particularly heinous and in violation of Scripture is the attempt to divine new prophetic understanding from heathen sources. I’ll have something to say about that (since, of course, God has something to say about that) in another “technique discussion” I hope to post in the future. Currently, I’m focusing on more mundane techniques.

  7. Isn’t it also interesting to note that those “prophets” who claim the Bible is myth, and worse, will always still quote the Bible as final verification of what they claim themselves? Why do that if the Book is what they claim in the first place? I think they know in their hearts that the only real authority on such matters is the Bible, and, that as Daniel said, The Father is the only one who can interpret such things.

  8. Norbert

    From the perspective of those who do the Speculation/Prophecy Two-Step, when they’re right, I believe it’s a moment where they pat themselves on the back. It gives them a spiritual high which encourages more of that kind of behavior. I think it’s addictive in nature because after a successful statement happens, they feel good and justified about their work. So they go on doing the two step in need of their next fix.

  9. I recently called this the “non-prophesying prophet”. I am seriously confused at why anyone would try to claim they were a prophet based upon correct “speculations”. Then again, I am even more confused as to why anyone follows them.

    I suppose, in light of Norbert’s comment, it could be said that some followers as well as speculators are just plain addicted to prophecy, and perhaps that is why they continue to listen to SAPs, as you call them. It seems that some get an adrenaline rush from prophetic events, speculations and possibly related news events.

    Prophecy should be about faith and hope. Faith because some prophecies have been fulfilled, and hope because we know others will be fulfilled.

  10. One of the reasons people listen to “prophets” is just human nature. However, when one talks about those who have a close, or distant, connection with the [group redacted]/WCG is that prophecy is one of the seven proofs the Bible is true. And, knowing that is one of the teachings, then people will obviously pay attention to fulfilled prophecy.

    There is a difference between speculation and prophecy, is there not? One thing about real prophecy vs “fake” speculation that seems to come true is that real prophecy always points one to the Creator, to the Messiah, to the Bible, etc. and NEVER to the person giving the prophecy. Dt. warns us about even prophecies that come true, not to pay attention if they are presented to lead a person from the Bible, from the Father and/or from the Messiah.

    The world listens to the SAPs because they love the idea that one does not need a “God” to predict the future. However, real prophetic presentations lead in just the opposite direction — right straight to the truth, and the divine Being that presents to us real prophecy.

    Also, one thing that is interesting is that a false prophet is a “pseudo-prophet” in Scripture. That is a problem in the sense that a “pseudo-prophet” appears to be real, a “false prophet” does not.

  11. iammarchhare, I have a theory on that. Yes, it has to do with “human nature”, but human nature comes in different flavors. We perceive and decide differently, we interact and emote differently, and how easily we’re tempted by vanity, jealousy, lust or greed, or else combinations of these, differs too. (E,.g., Mr. Smith and I perceive the world in closely parallel ways – it’s how we decide what to do with what we perceive which differs markedly. I know him that well.) These things do fall into consistent patterns which can be observed and modeled.

    Q.E.D.: We all have a kind of intuition which considers “what might be”, and it’s always paired with another kind of intuition which considers “what will be”. Let’s call them “insight” and “foresight” for simplicity. One simple and common error is that people mistake their human foresight – founded in our brains – for the true gift of prophecy – God speaking directly to the human spirit and then to the brain’s thought processes which the human spirit both records and searches (rather like a RAM chip).

    One reason the above error is made so often is that our foresight is so often symbolic – and of course biblical prophecy quite often is symbolic as well, so it’s easy to claim the one is related to the other. Another is that our human foresight has such an innate air of conviction about it (e.g., the “aha” moment). A third reason is that human foresight is accurate but vague by its very nature. So a near-miss is close enough for those who trust in their own foresight, or the foresight of others, as if it were truly “prophetic”. God’s prophecy, on the other hand, is by no means vague – it may be a mystery until fulfilled, but when it is, we see it tells us no more and no less than what is required to understand what He wants us to know. In that way it’s far more precise than human foresight.

    Under the guidance of God’s Spirit (“Blessed are the poor in spirit”), our insight is meant to teach us “blessed are the merciful”, just as our foresight is meant to teach us “blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness”. These aren’t lessons which false prophets tend either to learn or to promote, so far as I can see. Like other people with other faults of character, they exercise the pertinent elements of their personalities for their own sakes and not in the roles for which God designed those elements.

  12. iammarchhare: Not to get overcomplicated here, but because Mr. Smith speaks largely of an abuse of insight, I should note that faculty allows us to consider several or many possibilities at once, all as if equally true until foresight or something else forces us to choose between possibilities. That faculty too may be abused so that (as Mr. Petry put it) the one who abuses it can say, “I’m not wrong, I just wasn’t right”. Meaning: “I wasn’t wrong about what might be, I just wasn’t right about what would be”. But you can see how claiming this was direct or canonical inspiration would be wrong. Acknowledging the following is far healthier:

    (1 Corinthians 13:8 RSV) Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
    (1 Corinthians 13:9 RSV) For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
    (1 Corinthians 13:10 RSV) but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.

    Mr. Smith: I’m grateful that we have someone who can write about such matters and do so in what (I at least, and others too I’m sure, find) is such an entertaining yet instructive manner. God bless you in your part of the Work. 🙂

  13. @Robert Perry: I have agreed with most of what you wrote in your last comment, at least up until the last paragraph. “Real” to whom? After all, if it were all that obvious to everyone, then false prophets would have no followers.

    Seems to me that either one is a prophet or not. If one claims to be a prophet, then they are either true or not. There are false prophets, obvious to the discerning and even to the general world alike, that still have followers in spite of writing books with dates that have already passed, making bold pronouncements upon various leaders that never occurred and even worse. Those followers still think that the “prophet” appears real to them.

    Yes, the false prophet gets his reward by elevating himself and even putting himself between mankind and God, but what are the rewards of the misguided followers? I submit to you that many are initially attracted by prophecies and speculations that could occur, and some even are attracted because of the adrenaline rush they get when news events begin to appear like possible fulfillment.

    Yet, why do they stay? Yesterday, I actually read a couple of articles on cognitive dissonance staying focused on the lesser things, some downright trivial, makes it easier for a person to continue to pursue a course of behavior that is contradictory in nature. Add to the mix the social element (peer pressure), and some would be willing to hang on. That alone is not enough, however. It seems that unless one is willing to admit that it was all for naught, they will stay trapped in a cycle of denial and deceit. Their time and energy has become a sunk cost, and most people are not willing to give up so easily on something they have put so much into, even when it is reasonable to do so. Giving up would be an admission that one is wrong, has been wrong and has put a lot of time, effort and perhaps money into being wrong. I did my own write-up on the two articles, but the end game is that by staying focused on the trivial, the important gets pushed out of the way and makes it easier to stay on the wrong track.

  14. Robert Petry

    John Wheeler: God’s prophecy, on the other hand, is by no means vague – it may be a mystery until fulfilled, but when it is, we see it tells us no more and no less than what is required to understand what He wants us to know. In that way it’s far more precise than human foresight.

    Certainly, Biblical prophecy is not vague, as you say, although many think it is. I would say that it is not a “mystery” but is more in a class of a “secret.” That is, as Daniel said about our day, only the “wise” would understand these things. In other places it is shown that the Father has blinded the minds of the critics, skeptics, etc. to what the Bible says. They don’t understand the concept of “here a little, there a little.”

    As far as prophecy being symbolic, that is true, with the understanding that those symbols are explained elsewhere in the Scriptures. Sometimes in the same verse, or chapter or same book. Other times in other books.

    Back to the idea of Biblical prophecy not being vague — often more information is given than we perceive at first glance, even in the single verse being looked at. Sometimes other translations help bring out a more complete understanding of a prophecy.

    Of course, the key to all this is what Mr. Smith is trying to do with his posts on this subject. That is, be aware of, and be wary of, those who use “prophecy” as their toy. Both in the secular world and the world of the Bible believer, those “prophets” are too often given credence without “proving daily whether these things are so.”

  15. iammarchhare wrote; “@Robert Petry: I have agreed with most of what you wrote in your last comment, at least up until the last paragraph. “Real” to whom? After all, if it were all that obvious to everyone, then false prophets would have no followers.”

    It is good to agree. As to “Real” prophecy? I suggest that real prophecy is not “obvious to everyone.” For several reasons. If I say “you will wake up tomorrow,” that is in a sense a prophecy, but it is not what we are talking about. Everybody knows that barring the end of the world, etc. you will do that.

    So, no one would consider that real prophecy.

    Because the Father has clearly stated that He has blinded the minds of the unconverted, I suggest that they will not, would not, and cannot recognize a real prophetic event. I Cor. 2:14. But, they will “believe the lie.”

    But, before going further, I’d like Mr. Smith to let us know if we are heading beyond his posting preferences.

  16. Sorry, but I don’t agree. It really is black and white, unlike many other things. Either someone professing to be a prophet is a true prophet called of God or not. It is totally immaterial whether or not people believe him. In fact, most of the prophets were not believed by anyone, but plenty believed the false prophets. I don’t understand why you seem to be creating a third category. There isn’t one. It is binary once you’ve reached the point that one claims to be a prophet. True and false are binary concepts.

    Speculators are not prophets, which is why I find one “prophet’s” position so amusing (and why I’m so interested in this post). He hasn’t made any prophecies but plenty of speculations. Since he has made no prophecies, he cannot be a prophet. Again, it’s binary. Yet, he calls himself one, making him out to be a liar. That clearly puts him in the “false prophet” category.

    It really is simple. Keep in mind, the more complicated the explanation, the more likely it is to not be true. God does not make everything clear, especially at the time of pronouncement, but He does usually make them simple so we foolish humans can relate.

  17. Agreed. I was tempted to call out the above argument as logically flawed myself, but decided not to.

    But that’s the beauty of the Bible: take it as one’s foundation, and it always leads one to the simplest and the most complete explanation of all the facts in any subject one addresses. Occam’s Razor in apotheosis, as it were. 😀 And that includes how to distinguish between a false prophet and a true one. The only “third category” that one might have is what Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 13 for true servants of God: “for our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect” until what is perfect comes (RSV). But this isn’t what Mr. Smith is talking about.

    (Mr. Smith, if I’m missing anything important, please weigh in.)

  18. No thanks. 🙂 Y’all seem to be playing nicely, and I’d prefer my lack of comment not to come across as any particular consent. On the road much of today (pausing to comment here during a gas station break) with an intensely full weekend and week to follow. Thanks, everyone, for being so polite and not doing any of the sorts of things that make me feel as though I need to step in! I hope you have a wonderful Sabbath.

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