A longitude with no platitude?
I've written my friend Naomi today — an old fashioned handwritten letter as she is Amish and lives happily without computer and many other not so necessary things.
I have many good friends of many different denominations. We don't always have the same values but we respect each other and often discuss religion. But today it occurred to me that Naomi is the only one of my friends who never talks much of her faith — she lives it. I know Naomi her family and some of her friends, but I don't know how representative she is for the Amish. But what I know is that she is more, much more, well-read than many of my other friends and also much more tolerant.
Many years ago she gave me a prayer book: "A Devoted Christian's Prayer Book".
Besides the prayers the book also includes "Rules of a Godly Life". Those rules are very down-to-earth practical rules that are worth some reflection.
Here are a few of them:
If you wish to admonish a brother be careful to bring your reproof at a suitable time; for a reproof at the wrong time may easily do more harm than good, especially if the rebuke is too sharp or not tempered with gentleness. A reproof is like a salad, it needs more oil than vinegar.
Think! For every idle word you speak you must give account thereof in the day of judgment. Matt. 12:36. "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin" (Prov.10:19). Seek to avoid, therefore, all non-edifying talk; let your words be thoughtful, few, and true. Consider beforehand if what you are about to say is worth saying. Practice saying much with few words. Never present a tale as true unless you know for certain that it is so; it is better to say nothing at all than to say something that may turn out to be false or otherwise of no value.
Confide to no one your personal secrets unless you have beforehand found him to be worthy of your trust. Here is one way to prove him and learn to know him well: confide to him some secret of some small importance; if he keeps it to himself it is an indication of his trustworthiness. However it is not wise to inform any friend carelessly all your secrets. There is a possibility that at some later time you may have sharp differences and then he may use his knowledge to your harm.It would be quiet in the blogosphere if we all followed these rules. Still I think the rules are sensible, too often we say or write things we regret.