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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

How's That Spelled?
Date Posted: June 8, 2023

There were times over the last fifty-five plus years that I dearly wanted to change my last name. At least the spelling of it. For years I have had to endure the constant barrage of mailings and listings with my name spelled wrong. So here it is for all of you to see. My last name is spelled, K-E-L-L-E-Y. That's Kelley with two E's. Not Kelly. Since the first grade I have told teachers how my last name was spelled and they would correct me.

I can remember giving some information for an order one time at national department store chain. The clerk asked for my name and when I gave it to him I said, "Kelley, with two E's." The shipment came to the proper address for a customer named "Tom Keelly." I have filled out application forms and printed my last name just like they asked. What do I get in return? Mailings sent to Tom Kelly, plastic cards with "Kelly" embossed on them. I even ordered business cards once and printed all the information on the form and they still came back, "Kelly."

In the various areas I have ministered in the last thirty-five years I have encountered the same problem. My minister friends are very understanding about it. What I came to find out was that their secretaries could care less. Arthur Merkle (in a column like this I dearly hope I am remembering where the "E" goes at the end of his name) was the founding minister of the Wilmington Church of Christ. While there his secretary never quite got my last name right until I sent Art a letter in which I left the last "E" out of every word including Art's last name. I received a letter in return with my last named spelled, KellEy.

However, the oddest wrong last spelling of my last name came from the strangest source. In my sixth through eighth years of elementary school I competed in spelling contests. I was asked once to spell "antidisestablishmentarianism". When I did it the judge was surprised. Meanwhile the other competitor left was supposed to spell "acquaintance" and left out the first "C". I won the competition and received an award presented to, yep, you guessed it, "Tom Kelly."

Enter jots and tittles. No, those are not misspelled. A jot is the smallest of Hebrew letters and was often overlooked in transcribing. A tittle is a flourish on a Hebrew letter that determines the difference between words and their meanings. Leave one out and the Word of God could become the World of Gad. Worse yet, salvation could be missed altogether. Knowing the Word in its pure sense is important. Having a translation that translates instead of indoctrinates is also important. Jesus, in explaining that He had come to fulfill the law completely, told the listeners that not one jot or one tittle will pass from the law until it is all fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-20 That is why it is important to "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

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Biography Information:
Tom Kelley, pastor, speaker, lived with his wife, Becky, in Georgetown, Kentucky

...He was the Minister of the Minorsville Christian Church located near Stamping Ground, KY.

...Becky and Tom have three children; John, single and in worship ministry in Nicholasville, Kentucky; Sean, married (Jennifer, elementary school teacher) with twins (Grace and Patrick, b.d. 10/31/04) and regional director of Papa John's Pizza in Central KY; Kara, married (Vince Taylor, prison guard) and working with Hospice East in Winchester, KY.

...Tom went to be with the Lord on November 13, 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer. If you have been touched by Tom's writings please send an email to Tom's son at
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