Daily Archives: October 6, 2010

When a Kiss is not Just a Kiss

The Princess Bride Kiss

No one is quiet sure where kissing originated or who invented it. I’d gladly kiss whoever did. Those who research such things say most cultures have some form of kissing and have had since time began. In all cultures kissing is an act of intimacy: from an air kiss when greeting someone to nuzzling a new-born baby to the sensual Western world’s romantic kiss. Personally the last is my favorite.

But what does honesty have to do with kissing?

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

Jeremiah 6:16-8:7

Colossians 2:8-23

Psalm 78:1-31

Proverbs 24:26


Jeremiah 6:16-8:7: The first section of this reading is a dire warning for disobedience. Once again God lays out the specifics of Israel’s sin and, if they do not repent, the consequences of their disobedience.

God is amazing. He sends Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Jonah, and a slew of other prophets to warn God’s beloved people to repent and turn back to him. In Jonah’s case, God even warns a nation who are not “his people.”

Two thoughts: First, God spends more time correcting the sins of his people than those who have not made a covenant with him. Yet, it seems that Christianity spends more time bewailing the sins of those on the outside than those on the inside. Second, God always seems to send ample warning and opportunity for his people to repent before he sends wrath. Therefore, do the earthquakes, random diseases, and tragedies that befall us humans always point to God’s wrath? If so, where is the explicit warning and opportunity for repentance?

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“An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips,” the writer of Proverbs tells us. How so?

Though some may argue that “The Princess Bride” is simply a sweet, silly romp of a love story, “Princess Bride” author William Goldman does not just marry off Buttercup and Wesley. He too marries honesty with kissing.

“Is this a kissing book?” the grandson (Fred Savage) asks his grandfather (Peter Falk) as Falk reads to him in the beginning of the movie.

“Wait, just wait,” Falk answers. But later in the story we learn, “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one [between Wesley and Buttercup] left them all behind.”

By then Savage’s character is hooked and doesn’t mind the kiss on the lips because Wesley’s (Carey Elwes) honesty and bravery has earned him that passionate and intimate kiss with Buttercup (Robin Wright). It is the most passionate, most pure kiss because of the honesty with which it is pursued and delivered.

How are a kiss on the lips and an honest answer similar? Both require intimacy. Honesty is not just stating facts or statistics. There are lies, dam lies, and then there are statistics, the old but true saying goes. Kissing and truth-telling both require vulnerability and authenticity, closeness. When Wesley drops his Dread Pirate Roberts mask, Buttercup realizes who he really is and how much she loves and trusts him.

Giving someone a factual report requires no risk, no relationship. Telling someone the truth, how you feel, what you think, and who you really are calls for an earned trust and a closeness that often only comes through facing difficulty together, as did Wesley and Buttercup.

Honest answers and a kiss on the lips also involve bravery. When I was in third grade, my best-friend told me he would pay me a quarter to kiss a certain girl on the lips. I was scared to death and could not summon the courage, even for a quarter. In later years, I’ve been asked to give an honest answer in difficult situations and have too often backed down. After my cowardly breakdown, there always seems to be a distance between me and the one I was supposed to be honest with.

Kisses on the lips and honest answers are also similar in that they are gentle. A kiss is not a right hook. Too often “honest” people offer their truth like a right hook. And they feel they have accomplished something if they delivered a fat lip. The difference here is that a kisses that are given are gentle and bless and strengthen the other person. A kiss that is taken is a punch that deflates and manipulates. Plus a gentle kiss does not make a person put up his dukes in defense but rather produces a smile and openness, even to difficult truths.

What if our close relationships could be summed up the way Wesley and Buttercup’s kiss was? “Since the invention of the honest answer, there have only been five answers that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.”

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Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com


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