Typos Reveal Hidden Truths

December 22, 2011

You can learn a lot as a teacher, especially if you pay attention to the unexpected insights and new truths that students offer in their tests and papers. Of course, some surprises are so shocking that you wonder if you’ve failed completely. But others open new vistas and prompt hearty laughter, both welcome in late hours when the piles of papers are deep and breeding. I’ve almost missed the joy of reading papers this fall, but my colleagues in the Department of Religious Studies at George Fox University have generously shared newly revealed truths. I thank them. They’ve also reinforced my conviction that often you need to giggle, not just whistle, while you work. In these examples, most arise from typos and bad proofreading, though, even with that caveat, some gleam with potential.

In describing the “swoon” theory, one of the several explanations people sometimes use to dismiss Jesus’ death and resurrection, she wrote that Jesus only “fainted on the cross and then fell into a deep comma, only to reawaken and escape from the tomb.” That is one serious comma! Period.

Another student was eager to have youth learn some of the old hymn favorites like “The Old Rigid Cross.” Still another included a reference to a newly discovered Jewish sect, the “Pharmacies,” that kept track of and harassed Jesus. So the “Sadducees and the Pharmacies” led in this effort. I suppose the Pharmacies would be good companions, too, to the Pharisees, who committed themselves to strict purity.

In writing of the expansion of the early Church, another student referred to the “Genital Mission.” Now many of us know about Paul’s missionary travels to the Gentiles, but this is a new insight. I’m not sure this theory is completely wrong either, since Paul had devout Jews following him around and telling Christian converts that yes, they must indeed be circumcised.

Finally, I learned of the work of the great Reformer, Martian Luther. Since the name was spelled this way consistently throughout the paper, I can only assume that we are learning of a previously unknown hero of the faith. For all the good the German guy did, he left some gaps. Maybe Martian has been sent from one of the 2,326 potential alien worlds (= earth-like) that have been discovered with the Kepler Space Telescope.

So from unexpected sources, including here, you can find hidden truth revealed. Keep checking back; you never know when we’ll light up your life.




  1. mauriMacy says:

    …Martin Luthier might’ve caught my interest

  2. Paul Couzens says:

    Keep up the godly work.

  3. Lynnette Krieger-Zook says:

    One of my favorites when I was on the University Friends Ministry Team was published in the church newsletter. The first line read:
    We, the Ministry Team and Spiritual Life Committee of University Friends Team sin
    (second line without the hypen from sin) cerly appreciate…..

    Always good to know that the spiritual leaders of the church acknowledge their sin 🙂

  4. Marti says:

    I’ve had colleagues frequently and humorlessly show me the old rigid cross.

  5. BrianY says:

    How many of these are from the era of the ubiquitous spellchecker? Software can be /so/ helpful… I can imagine some of them being suggested as a correction when the writers might have had the right spelling to begin with (OK, probably not “rugged” => “rigid”, but maybe “Gentile” => “Genital”).

    • hmacy says:

      I suppose all of these are from the error of the iniquitous spellchecker. The checker can mislead us, of course, but it seems to me that people have gotten more careless in proofreading, assuming that the spellcheckers will catch everything. But what a happy result for those of us who enjoy discovering and distorting nonsense!

Living in Fun

"Walking Cheerfully" is place to think out loud about how to use and enjoy humor in positive, life-giving ways. We’ll explore how following Christ in all of life can shape, not scuttle, laughter and creative play. What might it mean to laugh with others as you would have them laugh with you?

Probably the other most common posts will be "Finds in Fun." I first learned the phrase “being in fun” from Tom Mullen’s Laughing Out Loud and Other Religious Experiences. He points to the playfulness of children, who are readier to laugh and to see the silly than most adults. Living each day “in fun” often makes us laugh as we slog through a nearly endless supply of things odd, silly, klutzy, and preposterous. The stories here are mostly from my own ordinary, “in fun” days.

Fun Nooks and Crannies

There’s “Humor in the Bible,” and these posts explore where it is, how to find it, and what to do with it. It’s one way of thinking about how to read the Bible well.

Since a lot of us spend big chunks of time at work, the “Humor at Work” posts will suggest ways to stay sane and happy, to get along with cow-orkers, and to use humor to do good work.

I’m a book-pusher at heart, and some of my best friends push books, too. I even know some folks who read. So “Fun Books” posts will tell about books that are funny and help us think about humor.

Sometimes I’ll brag on some of the friends I’ve been given or share some photos I’ve enjoyed taking. Maybe you’ll laugh, maybe not, but they’ve brought joy in my journey.

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