A pair of what?
A Paraprosdokian is not two Prosdokians nor is it one of the lost books of the Bible. It took me a while to be able to pronounce it, much more to figure out what it was. For those who don’t know, a paraprosdokian is a sentence which consists of two parts. The first is a figure of speech and the second an intriguing variation of the first.
It is a phrase that intentionally leads us down the garden path that misleads us into thinking one way, then suddenly ends on an unexpected twist. “Where there's a will, I want to be in it,” is a paraprosdokian.
Given my line of work as a pastor, I really could relate to this one: “Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”
Yes, it’s kind of humorous, but when you stop and think about it, there’s a lot of truth in it! We don’t become something different just by entering into an enclosed space like a garage or a church.
Likewise, a child entering into a school building doesn’t automatically become a scholar just because he or she is in the building. It takes listening to the teacher, studying and even being tested on the material.
So back to a person entering a church building. We might chuckle at the paraprosdokian, but many people would at least subconsciously define a person as a Christian simply because he or she attends worship services inside a church building.
As we come into a building where church services are being conducted, we do not magically become a Christian. We must listen to the messages presented and respond—much like a student in a classroom.
Becoming a Christian is a process that begins with an awareness that we need to connect with our God personally. As we act on that awareness, we begin the process of becoming a Christian, a follower of Christ.
For those who love the philosophy of ambiguity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of English, here are some further paraprosdokians that I've gathered from various sources:
1) Don’t argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
2) The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.
3) You don’t need a parachute to skydive. You need a parachute only to skydive twice.
4) You're never too old to learn something stupid.
5) I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
6) Don’t define your world in black and white, because there’s so much hiding in the grey.
7) Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
8) Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
9) Evening news is where they begin with “Good Evening,” and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
And remember, knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad!