Sunday, February 11, 2007
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John 8:38 – I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father. (NIV)

"Bunkum" was one of my dad's favourite words. I don't know where he picked it up, because it's not native to the Scottish tongue. He travelled around the world as a merchant seaman, so I'm guessing that he learned it from an American crewman. I never asked him, but now I wish that I had.

He used "bunkum" to end arguments that weren't going his way. Usually, I was the one who was arguing with him. We'd be going head-to-head and toe-to-toe, and just when I had managed to get my point across, he would shout, "Bunkum!" That was the end of the matter. The discourse was over, and the debate was complete. There was no point in trying to score any more points. He had settled things his way, and my mother silently signalled to me that it was over. At that moment, I normally stormed out of the room.

After my mom died, I don't think I ever heard him use the word again. Her sudden death was a great shock to him, and he seemed to mellow. Dad spent more time with us, as if it were precious to him. And instead of arguing, we seemed to agree more and more. Maybe I mellowed, too.

Years later, whilst driving through the mountains to Asheville, North Carolina, USA, I discovered Buncombe County, where the word actually originated. It brought a smile to my face as I remembered the old scrapes that my Dad and I used to get into. In my imagination, when I drive through the county each year, I like to think of my dad sitting in the car with me and saying "Bunkum!" one more time. This time, though, he'd be smiling and laughing with me.

It's amazing what we learn from our fathers and how it still sticks in our hearts. When Jesus was confronting the religious leaders of His day, He was trying to make them understand that His new teaching came from His Father and their God. Sadly, they had built up so many prejudices through their traditions and customs that they couldn't accept His words. Instead of being blessed by His revelation, they rejected Christ. Instead of recognizing the divine source of His message, they more or less said, "Bunkum!"

Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep us true to Your words and remind us of God's sovereignty. Forgive us when we diminish Your message by casting aside Your teachings. Empower and enable us to accept You and the divine source of the everlasting salvation that You bring. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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