The Somewhat Improbable Fables of Bob #1 – “Respect”

or, what happens when we listen to people like we read the Bible #1

Dramatis Personae:

Bob: head of BobCorp, all round nice guy, but cursed with an unusual affliction whereby people tend to listen to him like they read the Bible. [Ed: Read the rest of this blog post, it'll become clear.]
Bill: vice president, back story still to be determined
Nora: vice president of sales
Jane, Thelma, Russell: other important corporate people
Chorus: assorted employees and whatnot
Scene 1: Main meeting room at Bob Corp.

Bob is just finishing his stirring quarterly review / vision for the future presentation.

Present: Bob, and assorted VPs, VCPs, VPCs, VIPs, and any other acronyms that make sense in this context.

Bob: So there we go! Great work everyone! And I think we can all agree that the future of BobCorp is looking faaaaaan-Bobulous!
[Whoops and cheers from the assembled multitude]
Bob: Everyone clear on what to do next?
[Enthusiastic agreement]
Bob: (in a rousing roar) then let’s Get To Work, Bobbers!
[More whoops and cheers as the people disperse, chanting “BobCorp, BobCorp” etc.]
Bob: (to himself in empty room) Wow, they really seemed to get it.
I love my job.

Scene 2: Two weeks later. Boardroom at Bob Corp.

Present: Bob, and his senior leadership team.

Bob: So… you were all at my presentation two weeks ago, right?
Bill: We certainly were. Great presentation, right?
[Enthusiastic consent from the rest of the room]
Bob: Thanks. Great. Only… well, I couldn’t help but notice… that none of you have actually done any of what I said yet.
[Blank stares. Pause]
Bob: Umm, were you… were you actually listening?
[Outraged hubhub]
Bill: Of course we were!
Jane: I took notes!
Bill: She did! Detailed notes! She copied it down exactly!
Bob: Thanks Jane, that’s great.
Bill: And then we got Russell here to translate them into Latin.
Russell: (proudly) I’m the only person in the company who knows Latin.
Bob: Ummm-
Bill: And then we got Thelma to turn it all into a cross-stitch sampler.
Thelma: Took me blinking ages, that did. I was up all night, three nights running. My hands weren’t half cramping by the time I finished.
Bob: Wh-
Bill: And Simon built this beautiful box for it.
[He indicates a padlocked mahogany box, standing on a pedestal in the centre of the room.]
Bob: (quietly) Riiiight… I wondered what that was.
Bill: And Nora here has been polishing it every day.
Nora: I know we could have got the cleaning staff to do it, but I just wanted to be involved, you know.
Bob: Involved? You’re the vice president of sales! You’re more than involved already!
[Nora stares angrily at Bob for a while]
Bob: (sighing) It is very shiny though. Well done.
Nora: Thank you.
Bob: Ooooooookay. Fine. So, how often do you, um, consult the… cross-stitch…
[Shuffling feet]
Bill: Well, we padlocked it for safety, see… but we lost the key.
Bob: Ah.
Bill: Yeah. Seemed disrespectful to break the box, so we just left it. But none of us speak Latin anyway, except Russell, so it doesn’t really make much difference, does it?
Bob: Okay. Fine. Right. Never mind. I’ll tell you what, I’ll just email you my presentation, okay?
[Gasps of horror from the room]
Bill: Email!? Good grief, man! Show some respect!


We’re starting with an easy one today. Pretty much the most basic question: should Christians actually read the Bible?

Now, this should be a fairly non-controversial place to start, right? Wrong. Behold, the inspiration for this post:

Fun fact: if I tried to read the Bible like this, a) the dog would walk all over it, and b) my back would freeze in that position and it would take three people to help me stand up again. Truly, childhood is a simpler time.

In case it’s not clear from the picture, this was in a children’s book about the Bible. (By the way, I didn’t have to go looking for this – it’s out there, in circulation; it literally circulated right into my lap.) Apparently, not reading the Bible is an entirely normal way for Christians to behave. Tell your children!

But the ever-so-slightly-contrived saga of Bob’s presentation is meant to demonstrate one thing: not listening to someone is a very weird way of showing them respect.

God speaks to us through the Bible. So refusing to open the Bible is basically refusing to listen to God. If you want to know how to listen – simply listen – then here’s the best place to start: get your Bibles open.

In the next episode, Bob will help us understand some of the things we can easily avoid getting wrong once we’ve got that bit right. Until then, happy listening, folks.



  1. Not reading what Bob said to his staff in a presentation is how people are with the bible., most people think they are not worthy enough they go to church and listen to the sermon and probably don’t take that in either or only listen to the parts they think only concerns them. Great article.


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