Showing Your But. It’s Not Appropriate!

No, this is not about the Kardashians or Crossfit. This is about real life and it’s going to sting. Why? Because, after reading quite a bit over the past few days I’m convinced that unless I write a tome of the size of “War and Peace,” I’m going to leave something out, and someone, somewhere will be triggered, I just know it. So, bear with me for the next 800 or so words, this isn’t exhaustive. Feel free to chime in after. Part of the answer to this massive dilemma is collective unity, across the board.

The headlines were amazingly eye catching. “Protestors Carry Torches on Virginia Campus.” I clicked the bait. Squinting at the ridiculousness of it all, I laughed! I was expecting to see “Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman” torches and a few pitchforks. But Tiki torches? “Are they serious?” I thought. Are they headed to a backyard barbecue? Horseshoes, anyone? And although I laughed, my smile quickly faded. They looked ludicrous and they were dead serious.

Let me be crystal clear; there was absolutely nothing humorous about what took place in Charlottesville, VA. Racism is wrong. White supremacy is wrong. It’s wrong, ungodly, evil and atrocious! And when we speak of racism, Naziism or anything else lessening the worth of a human being, we have to stay on point. What I mean is this: A lot of articles compared Tiki totting, white evil in Charlottesville to the Black Lives Matter groups shooting cops and burning businesses. They seemed to express that one justified the other. You can't compare, and I’ll tell you why - just hold your socks for a moment longer.

I'd thought this garbage was dead and gone, unfortunately, it isn't. This was taken at a rally in Easton, Pa, circa 1989 when I was a journalist. I didn't think this kind of thing existed, but it is alive and well - and it's evil!

There can be no “buts” in addressing racism. One group’s actions do not condone other’s.

Racism is wrong!

“But, they’re racist…”
“But, look what they did…”
"But…but…but!"

It. Is. Never. Justified.

Each incident must be critiqued independently. Comparison breeds numbness and indifference, with the lesser offense, even though heinous, looking acceptable in light of the more abhorrent. So, the parade of patio flames was nefarious and every other adjective applicable in describing the walking evil. Racism is wrong. And, the demolition of public property, the pulling down of statues is wrong, brainless and ineffectual. The former doesn’t justify the latter! Nor does the greater evil absolve the lesser. No buts about it!

They showed us their “buts…” and it wasn’t appropriate!

In Kindergarten we were supposed to have learned that two wrongs don’t make a right. How far we have fallen from, “Warm cookies and milk are good for you!” Some of the most prominent political pundits fell into the trap! They showed us their “buts…” and it wasn’t appropriate!

Lastly, what I find particularly reprehensible, even more so than the slowness of leaders and the President to renounce the Charlottesville Tiki toters is this: many marching, destroying, and hating identify as Christians!

So, what you’re telling me is this: you claim to follow a man who was 1) born in the middle east, 2) was Jewish, 3) was dark skinned, 4) was a stranger in this world, 5) spoke a different language than English - unless you believe Hollywood, 6) sacrificed himself so that others could be free, 7) allowed himself to be slapped on one cheek, insulted, and then offered the perpetrator the other, 8) kept his mouth shut when he was insulted, and yet you hate someone of another color, creed or religion? You're so easily offended! You declare, “Down with hate!” while wishing the opposition dead or burned alive? Wow! We need Jesus more than ever!

Some Christians need to get saved!

Every single person will one day give an account for their actions. No one gets absolved by being compared to Adolf Hitler, Chairman Mao Zedong or Pol Pot! You are judged in the light of a perfect, holy God, not in the light of evil.

In the mean time, the only thing for evil to persist is for good people to do nothing. So…if you’re wrestling with what to do before you meet the Big Guy, here are some excellent suggestions.

  • Speak up. If you haven’t already, find a voice against racism, bigotry, and injustice. It doesn’t have to be a big voice, but it has to be a voice.
  • Listen up. Be intentional about listening to others who are different than you, and then, keep listening. Ignorance is not bliss; it’s unloving. Hint: It doesn't mean you have to agree!
  • Seek and destroy. Not others, rather, the bits and pieces of racism, bigotry, hatred and injustice existing in your own heart. And if you don’t think you have any, you haven’t searched hard enough.
  • Get leveled. Start looking at life through the correct lens. It may be “right for you” but is it right? Apparently, some believe racism is right! The only way to know truth is to seek Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth and the life, no one gets to the Father except through me.” Forget opinions and feelings, go for Truth! Then you'll have a proper gauge for right and wrong.
  • Keep your buts to yourself. Judge and act on each situation independently. When you start comparing, you’ll give evil a foothold, and that’s all it needs to root, grow and fruit - in the most subtle of ways.
When they kept on questioning (Jesus), he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

Racism is always wrong. No buts about it!

Check out my other blogs on this issue: Eating the Elephant and America Gone Wild.

Pit Bulls and Blood Hounds.

If we’re going to lead well, we don’t have time to play the victim.

 

A few weeks ago I had the humble privilege of engaging a dozen phenomenal seventh and eight grade students. They were part of an inaugural, three-day event called, Team Leadership Initiative. It was an honor to be asked to speak on the topic of, Faith in Leadership. When I teach or present topics I like to make the session interactive since lecture is the least effective way people learn. So, I prepared a skeleton of my presentation, leaving lots of pockets, catalyzed with questions, for discussion.

I arrived with several pages of quotes from well known and not-so-significant leaders. I was very pleased to find a few of the students were familiar with all of the quotes. It was invigorating to interact with and discuss how faith affects leadership. The topic is worth far more than one hour.

However, emerging from the back-and-forth banter was the question of what should the posture be of a leader who finds herself in adverse situations. “Leaders don’t have the luxury of playing the victim,” I said. These words seemed to roll off my tongue as though I’d been saying them for years, but I hadn’t...

Casting a Long Shadow.

Remember, success is intentional!

Well, to be perfectly precise, Sir Winston The Great! He’s our ten-year-old, West Highland Terrier. He’s quite the character. Seventeen pounds of pooch with a ton of passion. He’s the embodiment of the phrase, little body, big heart. We were on a walk the other day, and we stopped for a moment to catch our breath. It was quite warm, and the pavement radiated heat like a furnace. I saw and captured a photo I’m including with this post. It made me think of all the years gone by with this big-hearted dog.

Winston is the second of our two Westies. The older, wiser, more cautious Reilly, aka The Wonderful Mister O’Reilly (it has nothing to do with the political pundit!), is deliberate and calculated. He’s never run into a wall chasing a ball. But he has slid off the edge of the couch while sluggardly sleeping on his back. But Winston, well, let’s put it this way, if Winston were our first dog, we wouldn’t have two...