The Elephant Idiom

“There is an elephant in the room.”  This old English idiom is based on the idea that an elephant in the room should be impossible to overlook, yet people might not talk about it because it is awkward or difficult to do so.  The elephant represents an obvious truth that is ignored or goes unaddressed because people don’t want to deal with the looming problem.

In my book, Elephant in the Room, so entitled for this idiom, there is an obvious truth that has gone unaddressed in homes and churches that my characters will start talking about.  If you want to know the issue, then please read the following excerpt.  If you want to know how they address it and what happens when they do, then please buy the book when it becomes available in Spring 2017 from Dove Christian Publishers.


Excerpt from my book, Elephant in the Room:

Later that night, Eric stumbled out of bed to the kitchen for a drink of water. In the shadows, he was startled to almost trip on one of Samuel’s elephant figurines in the living room. Even on a dark night, there was no mistaking the shape of that elephant as he picked it up and put it safely on the table. Eric knew the African animal report had become a large project, with plans to construct a large papier- mâché creature. What would they do with an elephant in their living room for a few months until the end of the school year? And after Samuel displayed it for his school report, where would his craft reside after that?

“There is obviously an elephant in my living room,” Eric announced in the still of the night to no one in particular. Hearing this truth made him think of an old English idiom. “There’s an elephant in the room,” he stated plainly. The idiom was based on the idea that an elephant in the room would be impossible to overlook. The elephant was an obvious truth that was either being ignored or going unaddressed. If people came into the room and pretended the elephant wasn’t there, they were choosing to avoid dealing with a looming problem. Like gluttony.

Eric remembered an old comedy routine by Jimmy Durante, who would walk down the street leading an elephant. When a police officer questioned him, “What are you doing with that elephant?” Durante would reply, “What elephant?” The crowd always laughed.

Gluttony was a controversial issue. It’s something that everyone is aware of because the results are usually displayed by a body ranging from chubby to obese. Eric knew from experience that talking about overeating caused great embarrassment and could trigger emotional or even violent reactions. While it ought to be discussed openly, it was hard to do. But Eric also knew that this issue was not going away by itself and that the culture in which they lived would not provide any solutions. People were suffering from the sin and its natural health consequences. At the root of gluttony was sin. So, it was a spiritual issue that God was willing to deal with.

As a pastor, Eric needed to confront sin issues. He needed to bring wisdom about this issue of gluttony to his family and his congregation. He needed to speak the truth in love because so many people were hurting by this sin and its consequences.

So what do you think?  Has gluttony gone unaddressed in your home, your church and your community because its an elephant in the room?  How can we start talking about it?  What help can we find in the Bible to deal with gluttony and glorify God in the process?


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