Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Linda Downing

Does this make sense?

Published:   |   Updated: May 6, 2013 at 01:28 PM

Ralph Waldo Emerson called common sense "the shortest line between two points." He further defined wisdom as "genius dressed in its working clothes," the kind that asks: "Does this make sense?"

Straight-to-the-truth brevity demands thinking outside our own agenda. Respected journalist Charlie Reese penned an insightful piece titled "545 People," referring to the 100 senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices he holds responsible for this nation's woes. His first sentence, "Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them," could drop "the only."

All manmade systems sabotage themselves. To be effective, the people involved must fight personal bias and blind acceptance. We laugh at "nerds," but they often come closer to independent thinking than anyone. No wonder Bill Gates advises: "Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one."

Proverbs 1:20-21 fits: "Wisdom cries aloud in the street; she raises her voice in the markets. She cries at the head of the noisy intersections..." (Amplified). Solicitors, anchored brazenly in the middle of busy highways, thrust buckets in our faces. Yet, in "Safety Key To Median Soliciting" (The Tampa Tribune, 8/15/09), the officials conclude not allowing this would be discriminatory and we must prevent "bad public policy" that is "not enforceable." Does this make sense? If we stop giving, they'll stop standing.

If we let systems and machines rule us, instead of vice-versa, we might as well pull the plug; we are brain dead. Opportunities to think are everywhere. For instance, if DNA testing can legitimately solve crimes, does it make sense that the Supreme Court ruled on June 18 that long-held prisoners proclaiming innocence have no constitutional right to post-conviction testing?

Former Gov. Sarah Palin quit an office she was elected to fill, turning herself into saint and hero for doing so: "I'm not putting Alaska through that." Through what? Staying the course? Advancing the image of women in prominent positions? Does this make sense?

When Southern Baptists leaders met in June 2009 with an agenda aimed at bolstering their declining membership, they loftily called for putting aside issues such as the place of women in ministry. Does this make sense? If the women in that and other denominations, not to mention the women in other slave-mentality religions, wise up and find out who they are, the answer will resound around the globe.

One lonely housewife dealt the deathblow to Israel's enemy of the day. When Captain Sisera happened by her tent, Jael drove a stake through his head "so he died" (Judges 4:21). She did not follow her husband's neutrality policy or society's demands that she obey him. Does this make sense? It did to God. "Blessed above women shall" (5:24). And blessed is everyone who will think for himself or herself enough to make this world a better place. Sisera's head stands for every oppressive seat of power. After Jael nailed the answer, she chopped off the problem. Does this make sense?

Finding truth requires the right starting point. is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together - side-by-side.

Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at


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