C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Are Quotes as Good When Misquoted

I was recently sent a motivational email - you know the type - that attributed the following quote to Maya Angelou.

'A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.'

I thought to myself, ‘This is a powerful quote.’ So, I took a moment to look up the lady and read her short biography. Then I did a search to find the association of her and the quote. What I found was that not only is the quote not from Maya Angelou, but the quote has actually change slightly also.

The actual original quote is apparently from Max Lucado:

‘A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.’

In my search, I also came across a poem entitled ‘Christians’ attributed to Maya Angelou, but was actually the original writings of Carol Wimmer entitled ‘WHEN I SAY, "I AM A CHRISTIAN".’

I’m not placing blame on Maya Angelou, for I don’t believe she has tried to acquire fame through the writings and quotes of others. What I would like to say is, for I have been guilty myself, if we as Christians wish to take the time to pass along motivational emails and such, we should at least take the time to check out the original author, original writings, and ensure such are indeed Biblical. Author Unknown is really just the easy way out, and attributing it to someone other than the author is simply deceitful at worst and sloppy at best.

Back to the quote, both the original and the variant are well spoken in my opinion. But whereas the original with author is worthy of note, the variant and invalid association makes it unworthy of repeating.

Simply put, variant misquoted quotes lose meaning, and just aren’t as good.


Kaysie said...

Thank you for finding out the true source of this quote. I have wondered for awhile now who actually wrote it. I have received dozens of emails and comments telling me who they thought it was, but your post and correct links prove it for me. Thank you!


RC said...

The answer is no...then I read that Max Lucado said it and I was just as disgusted.

jayleigh3 said...

Thank you - i didn't think Maya Angelou said that about a woman and Christ - it really did sound like a Max Lucado thing to me. i also love the poem, "When I say..." and i am glad to have the correct citation for that. Maya has said some wonderful and poignant things, but it didn't ring true to me on either of these two things. T

patrick | steed said...

It's actually not Max Lucado, either. I've been searching and I still don't know where it came from. It's a stupid quote, anyway. Well-intentioned, but nonetheless.

Cris from Brasil said...

C S Lewis wrote it...

grace said...

Sorry, Max Lucado is not the author either. So far I have not been able to find the true source. The link here that purportedly attributes the quote to Lucado is not his website; it is, instead, a link to goodreads, which also attributes the very same quote to Maya Angelou.

Splinters of Silver said...

Thanks for your input Patrick, Cris, and Grace. It just shows how quickly quotes can circulate around, while they yet remain difficult to attribute them to the original author. Perhaps we should remember to include the person(s) name(s) who we are quoting when we do so. Perhaps quotes do lose their authority, power, or importance when we can't attribute them to someone we would respect with or without the quote.

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.