Odds and Ends is an occasional Langstaff Letter covering some important and interesting items that do not require an entire letter.


On Breakpoint, one of my favorite blogs, John Stonestreet, tells a wonderful story about a woman speaking up at a pro-choice rally.

“I was homeless, living in Berlin, Germany. I had just checked myself into an orphanage. I came from a background of not having been planned. My mom had an unplanned pregnancy. I was not desired or planned. I had a difficult childhood and then ended up checking myself into an orphanage. And at that point I was invited to a pro-choice rally. Out of curiosity, I decided to go since I was a Christian already at the time.

I arrived at the rally about 15 minutes late. It was in a big conference room with a huge oak door, and behind the door I could already hear that the rally had started.

I was going to sneak in quietly and sit in the back, but as I opened the door, it slammed shut really loudly and everyone turned in my direction, including the speaker. And I just thought, well I’ve got everyone’s attention. I might as well ask the question that’s burning on my mind. So, I addressed the speaker and said, ‘What makes abortion a good thing in your mind?’

And he was surprisingly gentle and calm as a person. He replied in a very kind tone, saying, ‘Imagine a child, a child that was not planned And that has a difficult childhood and ends up living in an orphanage. Wouldn’t we be doing that child a favor by not exposing it to such a miserable existence?’

I looked at him and I blurted out, ‘I am that child. I’m that child you are talking about right now. I was not planned. I had a really hard childhood and I’m living in an orphanage right now and I’m glad to be alive. I’m glad to be alive because God made me, and He has a plan for me and that’s all that matters.’

There was complete silence in that room. Even though the meeting had just started, it was already over. All you could hear was chairs moving and people getting up and leaving the room. There was nothing left to be said. I realized how powerful the truth was, how powerful my own story was” (breakpoint.org).


It is interesting to see how people view their ability to get ahead. The Barna reports that “when practicing Christians in the U.S. are asked how their race has impacted their ability to get ahead in life.

  • Only 5% of white adults report that their race has hurt their ability to get ahead.
  • But for Asian adults, that number grows to 21%.
  • For Hispanic adults, it jumps to 28%.
  • And for Black adults, it climbs all the way to 39%” (barnagroup.activehosted.com)

If this is so, it demonstrates, we all still have further to go to improve race relationships. Note – the survey is only of practicing Christians.


Here is an article addressing the proof of gender differences that surfaced through the Army’s fitness testing. This shows us, once again, that God created men and women uniquely different.

“The U.S. Army’s transition to a genderless fitness test appears to have backfired. We can file this one under ‘extremely predictable.’ According to a Military.com report, ‘early data shows nearly half of female soldiers can’t pass the test and might face being removed from service once it becomes official next year.’ The Army is now considering a return to gender-specific fitness standards. The new Army Combat Fitness Test goes all out on gender equality, leveling the playing field and measuring women on the same scale as their male counterparts. Of course, this effort to treat men and women as physical equals has only shown how different they actually are” (westernjournal.com).


There is so much talk about gender titles today. Here is France’s answer to it all.

“France has banned the use of gender-neutral language in schools, bucking the recent woke culture trend spreading throughout academia around the world. Gender equality advocates were pushing for full stops in the middle of written words, which they called ‘midpoints,’ that would allow both male and female forms of the word to be represented at the same time… 

However, the Academie Francaise or the French Academy, which is the 400-year-old education authority responsible for preserving the French language, shot down the woke proposal. The Academie Francaise declared the overture to be ‘harmful to the practice and understanding of [French].’ 

Nathalie Elimas, France’s state secretary for priority education, said the proposed gender-neutral changes were ‘a danger for our country’ and ‘the death knell for the use of French in the world’ ” (theblaze.com).


The two Langstaff Letters re-issued in honor of the tenth anniversary of our son-in-law David Plaisted going to heaven brought some wonderful responses. Here is one from Michelangelo Scalze, who was in Bible College with David and worked with him in youth ministry.

“The message today was really good, and I miss David. I was fortunate to have known David while going through ACTS. David gave me a wonderful gift before he went to be with the Lord. 

We both were in youth ministry at the time and a part of an organization called Youth Alive that put on quarterly youth conferences with a network of about 40 independent churches.

Summer Camp for a week, and weekend retreats that meet on Friday night and all day Saturday. 

David and I served at different churches and lived in different parts of the Twin Cities, so often at these weekend conferences are when leaders could re-see each other and attempt to catch up. 

David started, “Let’s have a meaningful conversation this weekend” with me. Not because I spoke of nothing meaningful, but often is the case most of us just have very shallow “hi, how are you’s” passing in the church’s hall or at the sign-in table at a youth conference. Yet, this was intentional, in the same amount of time, one could say, “Hi, how are you?” David would say, “hey, let’s have a meaningful conversation catching up this weekend,” meaning we both knew at that moment we were not going to be able to ask real or deep questions that help two people really connect. The kind that will take some intentional planning to sit by each other at the meals, or stand next to each other on the sidelines of a game the students were playing, or simply grab a coffee in the morning or a pop later after the sessions were over for the night. That time where you first catch up on “the person” How are you, how’s your family, how’s life been treating, but most of all, what have you been learning from it, what has God been doing in you, how can I be praying for you. Stuff. 

Meaningful set the stage for a deeper, more caring type of talk to be had. Nothing fluffy but telegraphed even in a brief moment, your intent to spend time in quality conversation that bonds people together. As Iron that sharpens Iron type talk, not just “hey look at my sword” instead “let me examine your sword and tell me of the battles and how you plan to take care of it or resharpen it.”

I have since gone on to teach this “Meaningful conversation approach” to all the leaders I have had the opportunity to stand in front of at youth retreats and speak of my old friend David Plastad by name. To this day, I will often still say this to old friends and other leaders I hope to get to know better at a retreat or event somewhere. 

David left a mark on my life that has had a deep and meaningful effect on my relationships and many others since our days back at Youth Alive and ACTS. I thought I would share this brief insight if it helps see just one more glimpse of David from someone else’s eyes whose life was touched by what God did through him. 

Not sure who will be reading this, but when was the last time you told someone you want to have a meaningful conversation with them? What kind of response did you get? And if you haven’t experienced this yet, imagine… how would you feel? What would you think if someone you knew asked to have a meaningful conversation over coffee with you?”