Monday, June 29, 2009

What Were You Thinking, Governor?

What causes men in power and position to succumb to moral failure? And why is it so often infidelity that brings them down from the heights of power? South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is just the latest in a long line of bold-faced denials, lame confessions, and shattered spouses. And it's not just the politicians. How many high profile preachers have fallen in the same pitiful manner?

Some say the answer is pride, plain and simple, the kind of arrogance that decides the rules no longer apply. Others suggest it is the adrenalin rush of the risk that drives some men to the brink of self-destruction. Who knows what goes on in their heads, consciously or subconsciously, that leads to this pattern of behavior?

And here is the kicker that always kills me. Despite the ruin of relationships and the public disgrace and humiliation, most of these men still cling to power, ignoring the outcry for their resignation or removal. Renewed commitment to marriage and fatherhood gets trumped by ego and ambition. They just can't turn lose of the power, and our warped "look the other way" culture soon moves on to the next big story and past indiscretions are forgotten - forgotten by everyone except the wives and children who struggle with the painful emotional aftermath. What a sad and pitiful pattern we have seen repeated again and again.

What do you think? Why do you think these things happen? And what does it say about our culture?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rough Night for My Royals

Just my luck. I had the best seat in the stadium for the worst game of the year. I hadn't made it to a Royals game this season, but my friend, Steve, came through with some primo free tickets from work. So last night, four of us, golfing buddies from Hacker's Anonymous, headed up to KC for barbeque and a ballgame. The seats were super, second row, right behind the visitor's dugout. I've never sat so near the action or been able to hear some of the player's conversations. That was really cool.

The game stunk big time. I wasn't too proud of my boys in blue. It was ugly. An error on the very first play of the game should have been a clue. One of our relievers gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw, not exactly what the manager had in mind, I'm sure. Final score: 12 - 5, Diamondbacks. That's right, the Diamondbacks. Go figure.

Laughing on the way home, we decided it is far better to see a good game from a bad seat, than to sit through an excruciating disaster up close and personal. I'm thinking there is a life lesson in there somewhere. You can sort it out.

One more thought. Even a lousy game can be more than tolerable, even pleasant, if you face it with good friends. Thanks, guys. It was fun anyway.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Kids or My Car?

Last month I added two teenage drivers to our auto insurance. The cost was roughly equivalent to funding the war in Iraq. Our son had waited to get his license until the same week his little sister got hers. Don't ask me why. I know I should be grateful he didn't get it sooner, and now I really am glad. We have one car for the two of them to share until Jake heads off into the navy. When necessary they have both borrowed my old Honda Accord.

In the first two months both kids have banged up my Honda. Jake tore the front bumper loose backing out of a steep driveway and later he backed into a telephone pole. Rebecca wiped out our brick and concrete mail box.

So, this evening I was laying in the street under the front end of my car , trying to tie up the loose bumper until I can get it to the body shop on Monday. My friend, Mike, came walking by and stopped to say hello. I didn't recognize him up-side-down, but I knew him when he asked what I was doing. I gave him my list of complaints about my kids and the damage to my car. Mike said, "Oh well, anybody hurt?" "No, nobody hurt," I replied. He continued, "Yeah, that's the call you don't want to get, isn't it? Everything else will fix. Everything else can be replaced, but not your kids."
Mike headed on up the street and I just laid there a minute thinking about his words, convicted of my shallow and confused values. I do love my old Honda. It's a peach and I plan on driving it as long as it survives the current season of demolition driving. But, though I own my Honda, my kids own me. I can't bear the thought of my sons or daughter being put at risk, let alone injured or worse. My love for them comes from the deepest core of my being. They own me and I can't help it.

So, thanks, Mike, for a good word and a needed reminder. Don't get too wrapped up in the things you own. Just treasure those who own you, and hold them close.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Where Does Jesus Stand On the Use of Torture?

Of all the ridiculous pronouncements of misguided people claiming to speak for all real, Bible-believing Christians, none is more offensive to me than the statements of Christian leaders such as James Dobson in support of the use of torture in the interrogation of suspects in the war on terror. We ministers decry the loss of moral absolutes in our culture and condemn the amoral situational ethics that pervade our society. But when push comes to shove, we play the hypocrite. If torture works and gets us the information we need, than we're all for it. What kind of theological gymnastics allows any thinking person to confuse the ethics of Christ with such barbarism, whether sanctioned by the state or not? Gee, if waterboarding doesn't work anymore, maybe we could crucify a few. That would do it.

God, forgive us, your confused and worldly people.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Second Summer of Sam

Just a word to those of you who have followed our son, Sam, on his past adventures in our nation's capitol. Well, he's gone back for more. Sam has been invited to spend a second summer with the good people of First Baptist Church of Washington, DC. We couldn't be more pleased and proud. So, Sam is writing again with all kinds of thoughts, reflections, and experiences on his blog, Musings of a Young Traveler. Feel free to check it out.