THE IDLE AMERICAN: Spouse provides ego adjustment

Published 11:29 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury


It’s an opinion embraced by the masses and argued by few. There are only two kinds of people in the world.

One is smaller–folks who have egos and admit it. Members of the much larger crowd likewise have egos, but argue “to the mat” that they don’t.

This eternal truth came to mind recently when I mentioned that soon I will have written weekly columns for 15 years.

My writing began when Burleson’s Kelly Clarkson was named the nation’s first “American Idol” on TV. Her recognition occurred about the time we moved to Burleson.

There was something to be said for “coat-tailing” on her title. So, we quickly chose The Idle American for my column’s name.

My wife agreed, so it was locked in. Upon my recent mention of a possible name change for the column, however, she was immediately locked out.

“Maybe I should change it to Cornucopia Column,” I joked. “My writings are like a Thanksgiving table, laden with well-chosen topics, ready for readers’ perusal with the same eagerness as if it were a holiday meal.”

Her silence “told” me she’d be a hard sell. So, I kept talking.

“Not only well-chosen topics, but also well-chosen words,” I rambled. “Cornucopia might be a great name.”

When she spoke, it was with authority. Her voice had a decided edge; anticipated was a dagger-like response that could include a blade-twisting as well.

I’m not particularly astute, but when a marriage stretches past 50 years, one becomes wary of spousal responses following extended silences. “You’re right about the ‘well-chosen’ words,” she admitted. “But they usually are swallowed up by lots of words that aren’t. As to ‘cornucopia,’ I can go along with the first syllable, but you might simply leave off the ‘ucopia’ part,” she laughed.

Maybe I’ll just keep The Idle American name.

On, then, to another topic: For contemporary Christian music concert goers, a single event takes but a few hours from their schedules. For participants on an extended tour, however, there are extractions of blood, sweat and tears–or nearly so–before tour dates end.

A great example is Chris Tomlin and his entourage currently filling venues on what nears being viewed as a nation-wide tour. His “Worship Night in America” concerts are filling arenas in 13 states for 23 concerts from April 4-May 13. (During two concerts in Grand Prairie, more than 12,000 fans packed the theatre for Tomlin, whose recording sales are approaching 50 million units.)

They reach venues in a convoy of buses and trucks that will have negotiated almost 10,000 miles before tour’s end. Usually, they load up and head out to the next city soon after a concert ends. Such a grind calls to mind circuses of yesteryear, when railroad timetables often dictated where next performances would occur.

Tomlin, arguably the most recognized composer in contemporary Christian music history, learned to play guitar 35 years ago this summer. He was 10, in the saddest of funks when mononucleosis overruled his playing Little League baseball.

His dad, Connie, himself a fair guitarist, offered to teach Chris to play, never mind it was a right-hander teaching a lefty. That’s how it all began for the Grammy-award winning artist who’ll observe his 45th birthday on May 4, when he’ll be singing praises in Seattle, WA. As the tour grinds toward the end on May 13 in Rio Rancho, NM, he may feel considerably older than his years.

He’s committed to encouraging others. At each concert, he invites one young church worship leader to the stage and “geetar” strumming with him. Each person is given a guitar, but, more importantly, are Chris’ suggestion that each, too, might one day reach the pinnacles of contemporary Christian music. (Leaders cited in Grand Prairie were teenagers Elliott Kerbel, Rockwall, and Trinity Key, Saginaw.) Who knows? We may see them on a big stage one day, like Chris Tomlin is today.


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Website: