Monday, December 11, 2006

Annan Targets Bush, and Hits the Mark

Kofi Annan spoke pointedly against the policies of the Bush administration today. Already many of our countrymen are railing against the outgoing Secretary General and renewing calls to expel the UN from New York City. No-Child-Left-Behind is supposed to make us smarter, but I guess it hasn't kicked in yet.

Regardless of whether I like or dislike the messenger does not detract from the truth in Annan's remarks. President Bush has led the world further into dangerous waters and has precipitated the deaths of 40,000 or more human beings.

Sec. Annan, given a platform, made a speech that upsets some in our country. Some of us have invested too much of our identity in this president. When someone lays out the truth that our idol has feet of clay it hurts very personally, deeply. If faults can be found in the critic we jump all over that, in this case by launching personal attacks against Annan.

Is it ever dangerous to disregard the harsh words of one we don't like?

I am not equating Annan to the Christ by any means, but let us keep in mind that many people whose lives were rebuked by the words of the Christ had nothing but animosity for him. Just because they didn't like what they heard didn't make it any less true.

Perhaps Annan is guilty of mistakes of judgment, greed, or outright theft. I don't know.

I do know that the charges he leveled against our current administration are valid. To the extent that we continue to embrace the president and his policies his crimes are also ours.

If we heed not criticism because we don't like the source, we are doomed.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Poor Ted

Today USAToday ran a story about Ted Haggard going under the healing hand of his recovery team. I wish him well.

Many people commented on Haggard's situation, his history, his prospects. Most posts in the USAToday OnDeadline discussion fall into a couple of categories. One group would be those saying, "Oh, here we go again! A hypocrite still clinging to the trappings of ministry will redeem himself and get back into preaching and judging people again." Another big group basically say, "Oh, here we go again! Liberal hypocrates will tell us we can't judge people, but they sure will judge a Christian when he proves to be human." A third group wonder why we are reading last month's news. There were some posts that refer to the immutabililty of sexuality, and others that suggest it is somehow subject to "correction."

Without getting into anything about Haggard himself I will take this opportunity to put forward my own two cents about sexuality.

I think that heterosexuality and homosexuality together describe a continuum. At any point in our lives we occupy a place on that continuum, and where we are can change over time. Most people are generally more heterosexual than they are homosexual. Some people, I think, change rather dramatically during certain phases of their lives. To my way of thinking it doesn't make much sense to ask people to put themselves into a gay box or a straight box. We are people and therefore we can't be boxed quite that directly, definitively.

Why do we even care? Sure, some will say they care because their religious tradition dictates that one must be straight to have spiritual integrity. Okay, but still, why would we care? Sexuality is not the only stumbling block, if indeed it is one, on the road to spiritual integrity. I don't know of anyone who has not found his or her own stumbling blocks. And most of us never get over them, thus leaving the longer part of that road untraveled.

So, to all of you, whether you cling to straightness or gayness as an identity, or whether you wake up every day and have to decide whether you'll try for a date with Brenda or Bob, to all of you I say: Love yourself and find someone you can love today. If today is a day you need to try loving someone new, do that. The main thing is love and recognition that tomorrow is promised to no one.