We don't hear much about surpluses these days. Shortages, yes.
Surpluses, no. But I suppose one thing will never be in short supply. We may even have a surplus of … experts.
Flip on any channel. Lift up any rock. Look around any corner. And you'll find yourself eyeball to eyeball with an expert.
Looks like a great job, if you can get it. Granted, folks who are the "genuine article"–really proficient and knowledgeable in their field — pay a high price to earn the term (and are usually slow to accept it).
But folks eager and willing to wear the "title" are easy to find. Whether you're coaching or teaching or preaching or retailing or farming or … well, just about anything else, experts abound. Long on opinion. Short on training and experience. But ubiquitous and possessed of an astounding propensity for volume.
Sometimes I just think we have too many of them, and I know we do when I fall to the temptation to become one of them myself on pretty much any issue.
I do wonder about them.
If you've had your TV on at all recently, you've seen scads of political ads. Have you noticed how many are negative? The experts say those ads work. I know they work on me. They make me long for a "None of the Above" option at the voting booth. My non-expert opinion is that any expert who tells a candidate to go negative ought to be fired and forced to find useful employment actually producing something of value.
Economic experts will also tell you, at least this week, I think, that inflation is under control. I wonder about that expert opinion. But maybe they're right. I do seem to be noticing a considerable amount of "deflation" recently. (Andy Rooney used to do a fine job on this kind of stuff. Alas, …)
Have you noticed?
At first, I wondered why the toilet paper roll in our bathroom was scooting back and forth on its little TP roll holder. Because it has shrunk, that's why. The roll is narrower than it used to be.
Still in the bathroom, I opened the cabinet to get out a bar of soap.
The package is the same, but the soap almost knocked the end out of its box before I opened it. It's bumping around in there, a lot smaller than it used to be.
And now, let's talk about really serious stuff. I popped a frozen corn dog into the toaster oven the other day and suddenly realized that the poor dog has been bobbed! Who committed that atrocity?
Yeah, and we all know that we may indeed scream for ice cream, but while we're at it, we oughta scream a little at the makers who abandoned the good ol' half gallon for the metric system and a lot less. They're selling air anyway, but now we get a lot less of it. (The folks who keep the full deal and make that an ad pitch not only make some of the best ice cream, they're smart.)
None of this shrinking stuff ever affects the size of the price, and I wonder: Do these companies have experts who tell them that most consumers are blind and dumb and just won't notice?
Thank the Lord indeed that one thing will never shrink, never be in short supply, and always be priceless but freely given. God's love.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at