Month: August 2012

The Greybeard Chronicles: ‘Till my change comes

This morning at work, I was given a stark reminder of how quickly things can change and how incredibly unsettling change can feel. We talk a lot about change, don’t we? The current president promised hope and change. Folks like me fail to see the hope, but we sure recognize the change. We talk about how people resist change. We get set in our ways. We find a comfort zone. We get things ordered the way we want them. Then, Bang! Change. We talk about how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Take evil, for instance. When evil-doers perpetrate their evil acts on days like September 11, 2001, we tend to say things are worse now than they have ever been. Of course, we forget they were pretty bad in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, the day that President Roosevelt promised would live in infamy. They weren’t too great in Auschwitz during World War II, either. Wickedness was certainly afoot in the dusty towns of Sodom and Gomorrah way back in the days of Father Abraham and his nephew, Lot. We talk about how the world has changed. Folks my age remember the wonder of the Polaroid instant camera and the miracle of the eight-track tape. We remember the excitement of the electric football set. Now, we have smart phones, MP3s and xBox 360. We have...

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A Dubious Anniversary: 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of political correctness

With the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, America ushered in the era of political correctness. “Honest” Abe Lincoln and his impact on public life was swept away in favor of pandering to the whim of  prevailing thought. Sensitivity became more important than integrity. Morals were replaced with morés. Even churches have felt the impact of the paradigm shift. Preachers are less likely to say anything from the pulpit that may be construed as offensive to society at large, or some sub-group of society in particular. From PC to “Gotcha!” Twenty years of political correctness, combined with instant access to information and a platform (The Internet in general and Social Media, in particular) that gives even the most anonymous of us a voice has led to a “Gotcha” society. Whether it is a presidential campaign, an athlete answering media questions, a teen posting a video on YouTube or a blogger giving his/her thoughts on a subject, the world is ready to parse every word and pounce, devour and destroy. Whether it is Nike putting out a “Gold Digger” t-shirt—which the company says was to honor the accomplishments of the American female Olympians in London by using the term ironically, or Mitt Romney telling a story about his dog, or Joe Biden using “unchained” in an unfortunate manner, people are ready to rip the offender to shreds. Today’s consumers take the...

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Proverbs 27 and The Proverbial Relationship

Proverbs 27 is one of those subsets of Solomon’s proverbs that contains a collection of observations, any of which can stand alone as its own pearl of wisdom. There is, however, a rough, overriding theme in these verses—that of interpersonal relationships, whether with friends, adversaries, family members, employees or employers, or even the way we relate to strangers. Here is a breakdown of Solomon’s rules for successful relations from the first six verses of this great chapter of the Proverbs: 1. Nobody likes a braggart. Proverbs 27:1,2 — When I read these verses yesterday, I heard the following conversation in my head: “How can you tell when it is a fool boasting?” “I don’t know. How?” “The fool is boasting!”   2. Anger management is essential to healthy relationships.  Proverbs 27:3 — If you are the kind people have to walk on egg shells around in order to keep you from erupting, you are the wrong kind. Temper tantrums are counterproductive and foolish. They cloud judgment, damage psyches, and drive wedges between people. If the only way you can relate to people is through intimidation, do not be surprised when relationships disintegrate and the people you want to be around do not share the sentiment. 3. Jealousy is even more destructive than temper tantrums. Proverbs 27:4 — Jealousy is its own peculiar kind of ugly. It is the offspring of Insecurity and...

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