It’s Either Old or New – by Greg Albrecht

By way of introduction to It’s Either Old or New—It Can’t Be Both! I would like to introduce two special guests.

Before going any further, I should explain that our special guests will appear as caricatures—in the form of a communication that they might have had with each other—so that there is, as far as I know, no actual resemblance to anything they’ve ever said to each other, if indeed they ever had a one-on-one conversation. I hope that clears me—that’s my disclaimer.

Our first guest is Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart has come, over the past few decades, to symbolize the paragon of a dutiful, skilled, energetic and creative homemaker. Martha Stewart is, of course, an empire. Martha Stewart is a television personality, author, editor and homemaking advocate. Her business empire consists of the domestic arts, cooking and crafts, but her name symbolizes virtual perfection, the pinnacle of consummate, flawless achievement in the skills and talents of homemaking.

She has become, in many minds, the ideal and the dream. The unattainable perfection she seems to personify has come to be vilified, humorously so, by those who fall short of the ideal Martha Stewart represents as a homemaker.

Our second guest is Erma Bombeck.

Erma Bombeck embodied, largely by her own self-deprecating depictions, the other end of the spectrum of perfection and idealism. Erma Bombeck died in 1996.

In this fictitious exchange, Erma Bombeck does not symbolize the dream of perfection—she symbolizes the reality that many homemakers live with.

Erma Bombeck communicated the real life that confronts and challenges mothers, wives and homemakers, a life that is far from the idyllic picture many see as presented by the Martha Stewart empire.

Several of the titles of Erma Bombeck’s books tell the story:

In 1971 she published Just Wait Until You Have Children of Your Own. One of her best sellers, The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, appeared in 1976. That title was followed by, in 1978, If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?

A generation of North Americans (not only women, but plenty of men, including this one) laughed along with Erma Bombeck when she provided a lighter look at having kids, taking care of a family, providing a home and getting older.

Here are a few samples of Erma Bombeck’s wisdom:
• Never loan your car to anyone to whom you’ve given birth.
• My children usually refused to eat anything they had not first seen dancing on television.
• Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids.

With our guests in mind, let’s consider Colossians 3:12-17. Paul is telling those of us who are in Christ to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. As Christ-followers we bear with each other, we forgive, and we “put on” (language that suggests clothing) love.

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