Glenn Morison's Blog (46)

Book Launch

My collection of essays on common sayings is now available. 

Added by Glenn Morison on 3rd mo. 5, 2018 at 10:21pm — No Comments

Trust everybody, but cut the cards

Identified as a Russian proverb and attributed to various people, this aphorism implies that trust has its limits. Or, at least, trust should not be tempted. One of the most common things I ever heard as a chaplain was: “I didn’t come to jail to make friends.” There are also a lot of cards played in jail to pass the time. I think those who have experienced…


Added by Glenn Morison on 9th mo. 6, 2017 at 10:39am — 1 Comment

Winnipeg Quakers Oral History Project

The tip of the iceberg

Click here to listen to podcast

Added by Glenn Morison on 8th mo. 13, 2017 at 4:17pm — No Comments

From Blogging to a place to live

I am collecting my reflections for a book that I will release for free this fall in hopes that people will donate to a fund that helps low income folks pay for shares in cooperative housing developments.

Added by Glenn Morison on 6th mo. 16, 2017 at 12:20pm — No Comments

When one door closes, another door opens

While attributed to Alexander Graham Bell, Bob Marley and others, this phrase can be found in the Spanish Novella, The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His Fortunes and Adversities,. The story was published anonymously, due to its heretical content Written originally in 1554, it was later translated into English. A young boy, Lazarillo, is given up by his…


Added by Glenn Morison on 6th mo. 11, 2017 at 11:00am — No Comments

Graveyards are full of indispensable people

This adage is similar to “a little piece of churchyard fits everyone.” It speaks to our common fate of death and a reminder that each one of us is neither irreplaceable nor indispensable. This is true even though we often believe ourselves to be. I attended my 30th high school reunion and stood next to a classmate I had not spoken to since graduation. As we looked at…


Added by Glenn Morison on 6th mo. 7, 2017 at 11:30am — No Comments

Every day is a gift... that is why they call it the present.

The last half of this quotation is one of many additions that follow the first half. These few words hold some common themes in this book and much spiritual writing. It speaks of the call to be present in the moment. It speaks of the centrality of gratitude. And the phrase ties these two concepts together with only five words.

Psalm 118:24

This is the day…


Added by Glenn Morison on 6th mo. 4, 2017 at 2:51pm — No Comments

Daddy's looking down at us

A common image that eulogists share at funerals is that once we die we sit in a comfy chair and smile as we look down at our loved ones as they go about their lives. This notion is not biblical but is, instead, a certain extrapolation of the Greek idea that we have an enduring soul or spirit. I cringe at this thought! My mother was a wonderful person but had a…


Added by Glenn Morison on 6th mo. 2, 2017 at 11:39am — 1 Comment

All good things must come to an end

This was first recorded in 1440 in the poem Partenope of Blois, Ye “wote wele of all thing must be an end.” Note that the word good is omitted. It is similar to “All things must pass”, “this too shall pass” and “here today, gone tomorrow” all of which imply that the transient nature of life applies to both the good and the bad.

Isaiah 40:6-8

A voice…


Added by Glenn Morison on 5th mo. 14, 2017 at 11:30am — No Comments

Comedy equals tragedy plus time

While many comics and commentators have used this phrase, the website QuoteInvestigator, cites a 1957 Cosmopolitan interview with talk show host Steve Allen as the first recorded use of the phrase. Martin Dockery, a brilliant storyteller who works the fringe theatre circuit, uses this phrase creatively in his monologue,…


Added by Glenn Morison on 5th mo. 13, 2017 at 11:23am — 2 Comments

Eat, drink and be merry

For an entire generation, these words were synonymous with the fast food chain, Dairy Queen. I still remember listening to a fellow student reading a Bible lesson in grade six and hearing the phrase and thinking the reader was a smart-ass sneaking in a Dairy Queen ad into the Bible. The phrase has been brought into the present first as “wine, women and song” and then…


Added by Glenn Morison on 5th mo. 8, 2017 at 11:43am — No Comments

You can't take it with you

This is a statement of (apparent) fact that the material possessions we might accumulate in our lives are not of any use or service when we die. It leaves open the question about where we might go when we die. It works equally well whether you believe that your body just stays in the ground, or that your spirit separates from your body and lives elsewhere, or that…


Added by Glenn Morison on 5th mo. 5, 2017 at 12:21pm — 5 Comments

You can kill a [hu]man but you can't kill an idea

This quote is most often attributed to Medgar Evers, a civil rights leader who was shot in the back in his own driveway in June of 1963. A variation is “you can kill a protest singer but you can't kill their lyrics.” The point is that what we are witness to is greater than ourselves. The word martyr, martus in biblical Greek, actually means witness. The fact is that…


Added by Glenn Morison on 5th mo. 1, 2017 at 9:36am — 5 Comments

Never say die

A great host of aphorisms call us to persistence. Don't give up this ship; don't halt before you are lame; hang in there; the darkest hour is just before dawn; while there is life, there is hope; always give people more than they expect; the expectations of life depend on diligence are but a few of many. This expression manages to convey the idea in three short…


Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 1:19am — 9 Comments


Quakers are encouraged to “contemplate death . . . both their own and the death of those they are closest to.”[i] Death is to be seen as a “fact”[ii] and such an understanding is meant to set us free from fear and avoidance. Mourning and grief are not to be hidden and Quakers are led to embrace those who mourn.…


Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 27, 2017 at 11:00am — 6 Comments

Two heads are better than one

In 1390, John Gower wrote an extended work on the seven deadly sins, Confessio Amantis, which contains the phrase, "and tuo han more wit then on." I believe in the truth of this phrase and put that belief into practice. Not only was this book formally edited, I shared my early drafts with anyone who would read them.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

Two are better…


Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 24, 2017 at 11:42am — 4 Comments

It takes two to tango

While there would be universal acceptance of the notion that some things require a partnership of sorts, marriage and boxing for example, these words appear in the 1952 song by the same name, which has since covered by many. The song, first made famous by Pearl Bailey, pretends to exhaust the many things one can do on one’s own but saves “the dance of love” as the…


Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 22, 2017 at 12:00pm — No Comments

One good turn deserves another

This is a restating of the Latin phrase, quid pro quo, which means, “two things exchanged for equal value” and is often used in criminal court when explaining a plea bargain where both sides truly give something up and both sides truly gain something. This phrase describes what is rather than what ought to be. In contrast, by using the word “deserves” in the proverb, it…


Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 19, 2017 at 9:14am — 3 Comments

Paddle your own canoe

These words come from a popular 19th Century Celtic song. The song cautions against trust and risk ending with the couplet: “And I have no wife to bother me life, no lover to prove untrue, the whole day long I laugh with the song and paddle me own canoe.” Such wisdom is contradicted by phrases like, “there is strength in numbers.” Winnipeg has a relatively small population of people with African descent. And while a few African gangs were kept apart from each other, the correctional…


Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 18, 2017 at 9:30am — 19 Comments

Look for the similarities rather than differences

In a BBC interview, when speaking of her move to San Francisco, author Isabel Allende said “I have traveled all over the world and one thing that amazes me is that I can communicate with people. My story may be different but emotionally we are all the same. I tend to see the similarities in people and not the differences.” I can only imagine such a straightforward piece of…


Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 15, 2017 at 10:11am — No Comments

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