ERROL CASTENS: A bit of this, a bit of that



Given all the attention Old Taylor Road’s new double-lane roundabouts are getting in social media, there are probably some betting pools in Oxford staking out territory on how many wrecks there’ll be during the first week of classes at the University of Mississippi.

• Chamberlain was a gentleman who didn’t want to rock the boat. Churchill was a curmudgeon who steered directly into the tsunami and yelled at everyone to row as hard as they could.

May God grant us another Churchill.

• Melvin Manickavasagam, my current Sunday school teacher, makes the argument that mercy ministry requires people to get involved beyond writing a check.

“Medicine, food, shelter, transportation, clothing and finances are not the only needs of the poor,” he said. “Presence is often a bigger need than any of those.”

Melvin was neither dismissing tangible helps nor being intentionally political, but his assertion also denies that any institution – church, government, business or nonprofit organization – can substitute for neighbors, even if those neighbors are sometimes from halfway around the world.

• For years, a pound of coffee had shrunk first to 14 ounces, then 13. The brands whose “pound” is 12 ounces must be selling by troy weight – the same 12-ounces-to-the-pound measure that jewelers use for gold.

A quart of mayonnaise is now 30 ounces. Chips come in much bigger bags but with the same or less weight.

(Yes, I know, but I don’t want to hear what the Daily Journal weighed in 1990. In 1990 you couldn’t go online and read archived articles or breaking news.)

• I hear all these horror stories about people being blocked in or out at gas stations – especially one near Tupelo’s Midtown. That, the incompatibility of ethanol and small engines, and the crony capitalism represented by the federal ethanol mandate are all the more reasons for me to buy real gasoline at Jimmy Mart in Oxford.

• Ann Coulter thinks the Great Commission is both optional and narcissistic. After a Texas physician contracted Ebola while serving as a medical missionary in Liberia, the columnist lambasted American missionaries who “slink off to Third World countries” even though the domestic culture war is going badly.

Coulter argues that Dr. Kent Brantly could have evangelized among the poor close to home. She even dismissively quotes “go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.”

Coulter needs to remember that most missionaries consider themselves directed by the Holy Spirit, not self-preservation or patriotism or practicality, to go into specific mission fields. She also needs to remember that Ann Coulter is not the Holy Spirit.

Errol Castens is a news writer for the Daily Journal and the Oxford Citizen. Contact him at (662) 816-1282 or

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