Category: Culture

What is Required of Us?

white-houseBeryl and I just dropped off our election ballots in this campaign season featuring two very controversial candidates.

Like most Americans, we have found the issues surrounding the main candidates to be so divisive that we found it extremely difficult to determine who to vote for. As a result, I won’t pretend to simplify it by saying who I think anyone should vote for. I respect everyone’s struggle as a personal one.

But, in the cases of you who have yet to vote, I would like to mention how Beryl and I processed things, in the hopes it may help you reach your own decision.

Get Home Safely

3039844-inline-i-1-the-talk-in-americaI never knew this before, but apparently many African American families do.

Some parents of black kids have this talk in order to increase the odds that their kids will get home safely if they encounter the police when they are away from home: “10 Rules of Survival if Stopped By Police.”

I never had this talk with my kids; it never crossed my mind. I’m pretty sure none of my grandchildren will ever hear this talk from their parents. But it’s considered crucial parenting wisdom for black families. I had no idea; perhaps that’s the case for others of you who are white.

Value Your Values

“I violated my values and it was wrong. I behaved shamefully.”

Those are the words of Christopher Correa, the former scouting director of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, recently convicted of hacking into the player personnel system of another major league team. He has lost his dream job, faces 46 months in prison and has been ordered to pay a fine of nearly $280,000.

What he would do if he could only turn back time and make another choice when faced with temptation to further his reputation as a winner! Too late; the secret is out.

How sadly often it is that we read very similar stories in the news:

  • imagesHead football coach Art Briles, a man of faith, whose decision to ignore, hide or discredit the stories of numerous women who reported sexual assaults by his football players, cost him his job and has cast a dark shadow over the outstanding reputation of Baylor University. He is not an exception; he is only the most public and recent of coaches to betray their own beliefs, and those who trusted him, for the sake of success.

Black Lives Matter; Blue Lives Matter; All Lives Matter

Once again, I’m stunned at the video footage that confronts all of us:

BLACK LIVES MATTER

  • 49 patrons of an Orlando dance club are brutally slaughtered by a man who apparently hates gays, non-Muslims or both
  • A black man in Louisiana shot twice in the chest as he’s wrestled to the ground by two officers
  • A black man in Minnesota is shot four times after getting pulled over by an officer for a broken taillight, as his wife and 4 year-old daughter watch in horror
  • A protest in Minneapolis turns into a virtual riot as firecrackers, Molotov Cocktails and bricks are thrown at police, who then response with smoke and tear-gas. Dozens on both sides are injured
  • A peaceful protest in Dallas, in response to these shootings, turns into a sniper attack where a black man kills five police officers and wounds several others

Who’s In Charge Here Anyway?!

trumpcruzHave we seen a more circus-like political process in our lives? I haven’t. I doubt you have.

We are all familiar with the boorish, demeaning, literally below-the-belt accusations flying from one candidate to the other in the current marathon race for the U. S. presidency. Each day brings another series of bewildering headlines revealing head-scratching results and stomach-turning behavior that seem to represent the worst of American politics. I’m saddened by it and ashamed of it.

In a recent conversation with a group of friends we carefully shared our frustrations, as well as our hopes for how this might end. I say “carefully” because we’ve probably all learned that there is no telling which of your friends is going to launch into an angry rant about his favorite candidate, or against any that you might entertain. We’re walking on eggshells. And that’s with friends.

The depth of emotion in this caucus season reveals the long-simmering disappointment so many feel with our system and our leadership. OK, fine. That doesn’t excuse violent behavior or relationship-killing words.

Build Good Men. Continued.

p_blacksmith_1660195cYet again, we come face-to-face with the bewildering, heart-breaking news of another mass killing in the U.S. This time, for my wife, Beryl, and me, it pierces even closer to home—3 killed, 9 wounded in Colorado Springs, our home for the past 16 years. Revulsion, grief, ache, and anger boil to the surface.

And, just days later, another horrific scene of slaughter takes place in San Bernardino, CA. We watch the horror unfold in stunned disbelief.

Coming so shortly after the bombings and killings in Paris and Mali, a world that already felt unstable and unsafe, now feels even less safe and even more bewildering.

What is going on? I feel compelled to comment, mostly on the Colorado Springs event, because it happened in my backyard. I’m intentionally bypassing the political issues of abortion, terror or gun control. There is another time and place for that conversation. I’m landing on the common thread in these stories that motivates me more than any other.

Unlimited? The Challenge of Human Freedom

As we Americans celebrate Independence Day, I urge us to be aware of both the responsibilities we carry, as well as the rights we enjoy, with our freedom. It seems that we often resist the inconvenient demands of the former while insisting on unbridled opportunities for the latter. Too often I see us practicing the […]

Racial Redemption

It has been so disturbing recent months to witness the series of events that have brought into glaring spotlight the differences that still separate the races—especially white vs. black—in the United States. We who long for genuine reconciliation and mutual respect, regardless of one’s race, are pierced when young black men are killed by officers […]

Boys: Just Defective Girls?

Man, I love it when sharp women “get” men and boys, without any hint of dishonoring their own gender. I say Men Matter all the time; and the same is true for women. They matter profoundly. Sadly our culture too often chooses to honor women by demeaning masculinity wherever it shows up. Women who are […]