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Want to Learn a Great Way to Avoid Spiders on Twitter?

Many years ago, I had a few of my kids memorize the following poem as part of our homeschool speech class. We have fondly quoted parts of it over the years when teaching moments would come up, and the lesson has stuck with all of us. Enter another teaching moment––a reminder––but this time for me...

The minute a well-known evangelical pastor with a history of belittling, patronizing and demeaning women tweeted at me with a seemingly benign question, I thought of this poem. I also thought of Scripture such as the one about casting pearls (Matthew 7:6), and the one about answering a fool not according to his folly (Proverbs 26:4-5). And as a friend told me recently, "When you wrestle with a pig in the mud, the only one that really likes it is the pig." Haha, yup. I know better than to be drawn in. Just not worth it. I "blocked" the spider and am moving on.

So, in an effort to remind myself to avoid the temptation to engage in something useless and unprofitable, I'm sharing this life lesson with you. Maybe, just maybe, it will help you avoid meaningless and fruitless debates that bring no glory to the God we love.

(ps............ try reading the poem out loud in a British accent. Somehow it's more entertaining.)


The Spider And The Fly

By Mary Howitt

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the Spider to the Fly, 'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy; The way into my parlor is up a winding stair, And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.” “Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain, For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again.” “I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high; Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the Spider to the Fly. “There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin, And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!” “Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “for I've often heard it said, They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!” Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, “Dear friend what can I do, To prove the warm affection I've always felt for you? I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice; I'm sure you're very welcome — will you please to take a slice?” “Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “kind Sir, that cannot be, I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!” “Sweet creature!” said the Spider, “you're witty and you're wise, How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes! I've a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf, If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.” “I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you're pleased to say, And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day.” The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den, For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again: So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly, And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly. Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing, “Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing; Your robes are green and purple — there's a crest upon your head; Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!” Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly, Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by; With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew, Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue — Thinking only of her crested head — poor foolish thing!

At last, up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast. He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den, Within his little parlor — but she ne'er came out again! And now dear little children, who may this story read, To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed: Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye, And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

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