There I was, minding my own business in Sunday morning worship – actually I was trying to mind HIS business – taking notes on the sermon with the worship-order sheet provided, when the phrase hit me. Now I’m pretty much a fan of oxymorons. You know the ones: good grief, pretty ugly, military intelligence, adult male, guest host, freezer burn, constant change, found missing, 12-ounce pound cake, same difference, silent scream, sweet sorrow, small crowd, airline food, rap music, sanitary landfill, civil war, and the many others you could add to that short list especially if you look online at the myriad Websites giving us hundreds of others. However, I had never heard one quite as good as this morning’s – especially given the setting. One of my favorites until this morning was probably "adult male."
Before I spill the beans about my new #1 in the world of oxymoronic phraseology, allow me to let Wikipedia offer this quick review: An oxymoron (plural oxymorons or, more rarely, oxymora) (noun) is a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms. Oxymoron is a Greek term derived from oxy ("sharp") and moros ("dull"). Thus the word oxymoron is itself an oxymoron.
Our pulpit minister Randy Owens, preaching on "The Fruit of the Spirit Is Kindness," let it slip. He used the phrase “Nazi kindness.” I heard it clearly; it sort of jumped into my head. “Nazi kindness”? That just had to be the ultimate oxymoron or perhaps the penultimate oxymoron…the oxymoron to end all oxymorons. Fortunately my mind was instantly able to picture the entire context word for word as it had been uttered only moments before.
Suddenly, in less time than it takes to say “decently and in order,” it all made sense. I realized that “Nazi kindness” was inside the phrase, “People tend to not see kindness.” Do you see it? I bolded it in case you missed it the first time - perhaps you're a smart jock or an honest lawyer. It’s stuck in there amidst the split infinitive. Don’t be concerned if you haven’t even heard of split infinitives since about 11th grade. And, no, Randy, I’m not picking at your grammar. It’s just that, had the infinitive not been split, the Nazis would never have been part of the sermon on kindness; I would’ve just sat there oblivious to the humorous potential; and this blog would not exist.
Funny how the mind endeavors to sometimes play tricks on a guy, even in the more serious moments of this life. Oh, if you missed my split infinitive in the previous sentence (in bold type to get your attention), please believe it was intentional. I didn’t spend 10 years as a high school English teacher for nothing…well, perhaps next to nothing; but certainly not for nothing.
- ▼ March (5)