Posts Tagged message

In Unkind Culture, Is There Still Something Nice to Say?

I helped launch the Say Something Nice Day movement 13 years ago.

Never in my wildest imagination did I think that the greatest barriers to our success would become a president of the United States and evangelical Christians who support his coarse way of communicating and his behavior.

I remember when President Bill Clinton was skewered for his sexual exploits and Vice President Joe Biden was roundly condemned for his foul language.

I remember when the Republican Party campaigned vigorously as the party of family values.

I remember when the Southern Baptist Convention apologized to the African-American community for its racial discrimination in the past, promising a new day of race relations.

Those days have faded.

The pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Robert Jeffress, says that the president’s sexual behaviors will not keep him from supporting the president. “Evangelicals knew that they were not electing an altar boy,” Jeffress said.

Franklin Graham, son of the famed evangelist, says that Trump is God’s chosen: “God put him in the White House for a reason.”

Henry McMaster, the Republican governor of South Carolina, said that the students who protested in support of the Parkland, Florida, high school students were a disgraceful tool of the left wing.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Center, says that evangelicals have given the president a mulligan on the Stormy Daniels adventure.

I have searched the Bible from cover to cover and I can’t locate either 1 Mulligan or 2 Mulligan. I must have been asleep when my pastor preached from that text.

I was wide awake when my pastor preached on forgiveness, but President Trump said that he has done nothing for which he needs to seek forgiveness.

Perhaps Peter was misquoted. “How many mulligans should I give, seven times seven?”

On the president’s language, Franklin Graham said, “He is a businessman. That is just the way he talks.”

Growing up, when I talked as the president so often does, I got my mouth washed out with Octagon soap. Dad did not give me a mulligan. Maybe he was asleep that Sunday also.

After all of the crudeness and meanness in the public square today, is there still something nice to say? Yes.

Amy Butler, pastor of Riverside Church in New York, is planning a conference on God and guns for pastors and church leaders.

Former president Jimmy Carter is still leading a brave movement for the inclusion of women in church leadership.

High school students are still exercising their right to protest peaceably. A second-grade teacher in Oklahoma, Haley Curfman, encourages creativity by allowing her students to write kind things on her white dress.

Pope Francis continues his pleas for mercy and forgiveness. Mayor Tom Tait of Anaheim, California, campaigned on a platform of kindness.

Large sections of our society have become mean and disrespectful of others, but those of us who cling to the teachings of Jesus are faced with a great challenge: How do we persevere when so much of our opposition is in the church and so much of the meanness is coming from the pulpit?

We turn to Jesus for the answer. Most of his opposition when he was on earth came from the church of his day. Most of his criticism was directed at the religious leaders of his time.

In spite of the opposition, he stuck to his message of love and forgiveness. He never deviated from that message. From the cross, he pleaded, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

The message of Easter is that when he arose from the grave, he returned to those people who killed him. He never gave up on them or us. He hasn’t given up. Neither should we.

June 1 is Say Something Nice Day. June 3 is Say Something Nice Sunday. These are tangible opportunities to model constructive conversations and to infuse some positive rhetoric into the public discourse.

Keep on keeping on. Go about doing good. Say something nice to everyone you meet.


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Fifty-Two Keys for Living, Loving and Working

Protect integrity

Your integrity is the most important thing you have. Protect it at all costs. When it is gone, it is almost impossible to retrieve. It is who you are. It goes before you and follows after you. You are the message. Your integrity is a precious possession. It takes a lifetime to develop and nurture, but only an instant to lose it. Remember it is far easier to maintain your integrity than it is to reclaim it. My father often said to me, “Son, I can’t leave you much money, but I will leave you a name that you can be proud of.” He was right on both counts. I have never had to be ashamed of who I am or whose son I am. My fervent prayer is that my son and daughter will be able to say the same thing. A good name is a far better heritage than money. More money would be nice, but it pales in comparison to a good name. “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” Dwight David Eisenhower

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You Are Always on Stage

I have been wearing my Say Something Nice button and discovered that it is a magnet. People stop me to ask about it. Carol and I went on a Caribbean cruise and I started wearing the button. Fairly quickly news of it spread over the ship. I did not take a large number with me, but now with the help of some fellow passengers and very responsive crew members it has spread around the world.

            The last couple of Mondays I have worn it to my lunch at the S&S Cafeteria with my minister friends. Customers and staff are intrigued by it and want to know more about the buttons. Yesterday the supply I had with me quickly disappeared. I have learned a great lesson from this simple exercise.

            Our actions do count. People are paying attention. This simple message is spreading. Whether you are wearing a button or not, you are spreading a message. As one of the articles I often give out states, “You Are always on Stage.”

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