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RELIGION: Poisoned by a rose bush

by Gene Linzey | May 12, 2021 at 5:19 a.m.

I never thought that trimming a rose bush was dangerous. The first time I trimmed one was with my mom in southern California when I was 10 or 11 years old. Mom did most of the work, but I helped. When the thorns (I called them little knives) jabbed me, I yelped and jumped. But that made things worse because my hands then bumped into other little knives.

That didn't create any major problems when I was a child. I got stuck; I wiped off the blood; no washing of hands; no problems. In really bad cases, I washed my hands before going back out to play ... with or without band-aids. That was the extent of it.

But yesterday was a different scenario.

I admit there is a 65-year difference regarding body chemistry. That alone could be the difference in physiological reaction.

The hard freeze we experienced in the second half of February badly damaged our Knockout Pink rose bush. With the arrival of growing season, we decided to cut off the dead parts and trim the bush to give it a good shape.

"You better put on some gloves so you don't get stuck."

Carol and I always think of safety in what we do, so her advice was appropriate. However ...

"I can't wear gloves this time because the bush is too thick, and the gloves will get embedded into the thorny mess." I thought that was an appropriate response.

It took me two hours to carefully cut and unravel the woody entanglement. I encountered more than 25 thorns (three of them in my scalp), but blood flowed from only three wounds on my right hand. It took another half hour to clean up the mess -- resulting in several more wounds.

But I got it done in one afternoon! I was proud of myself. Carol was proud of me, too, and that soothed my hurt feelings due to the perforations in my skin. Then I planted the other foliage she bought, and that made the front yard look much better.

However, when I woke up this morning, life was a little different. My right hand (which interacted the most with the Knockout Pink rose bush) was swollen. I have a high pain tolerance, so I don't know how much my body was hurting, but my hand was definitely uncomfortable.

Looking up information on the internet, I found something called sporothrix schenckii. It's a fungus that can cause sporotrichosis, and the internet writers encouraged me to see a doctor immediately. Carol agreed.

Amazingly, Dr. Roger Youmans had an opening in his schedule within 45 minutes. Dr. Youmans is knowledgeable, personable, and encouraging. He also understands human nature.

He determined that the infection hadn't reached my lymph system yet, and he prescribed something that is difficult to pronounce. He then advised me to wear gloves next time. Okay, Dr. Roger, I will. Carol was happy with Roger's "medical advice" about wearing gloves.

Is the situation solved ... I mean, with my infected hand? Probably. But it's puzzling to know that a simple, everyday activity like trimming a rose bush can potentially cause a serious change in life. Then, thinking a little deeper into the episode, I realized other related concepts. Let me share some of them with you.

Have you stopped long enough to think about how seemingly insignificant events can affect the totality of life?

Minor changes in culture affect how we think. How we think affects how we see ourselves. How we see ourselves affects how we act and what we do.

I know some clean-shaven men who decided to grow beards. Their personality changed.

As society has changed, I've seen church groups change from music ministers and choirs to guitars and drums. The personality of the local church changed.

Changes in society (such as views of gender identification, sanctity of life, and morality) often prompt pastors to change their theology. That causes many people to change their views of Bible doctrine, and that changes their views of Jesus Christ. (And that's a classic domino effect.)

Yep, a little poison from the Knockout Pink rose bush potentially jeopardized my life, and poison from society is jeopardizing the church.

Friends, if you want to understand life, study Proverbs in the Bible. You'll learn more from them than from psychology books. Don't allow society's rejection of God and Bible to change your life. Live to honor Jesus Christ. He can grant eternal life.

-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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