Posts Tagged Obama

Political Talk: Temper Your Words, Open Your Heart – www.ethicsdaily.com

Political Talk: Temper Your Words, Open Your Heart

Mitch Carnell
Friday, October 7, 2016 6:53 am
Section: EthicsDaily.com’s Latest Articles

President Obama struck the right note when speaking about the police shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“We need to temper our words and open our hearts,” he said following the mid-July killing of three officers.

Words are powerful. They have the power to build up or tear down, calm people down or stir them up.

Arthur Caliandro, the late senior pastor at Marble Collegiate Church, once asserted, “You can never know that your words will be received the way you intended because you do not know what that person has gone through.”

Most people are able to hear hot political speech and let it roll off them, but a few internalize those words – and those words take over that person’s thoughts and actions.

Hate speech is dangerous. You do not know the listener’s state of mind.

The rhetoric in the current presidential campaign is already at a fever pitch with, I fear, much worse to come.

In today’s unsettled political climate, we all need to take a step back, take a deep breath and moderate our speech and behavior.

The president has shown exemplary restraint in responding to his critics. He has the right demeanor that is needed in these times. He has pleaded for calm and civil speech.

Some see this behavior as weakness, but, in reality, such restraint demands enormous strength. Self-control and self-restraint are hallmarks of a Christian communicator.

Parents should discuss these matters with their children and explain to them the power of words.

The wounds inflicted with sticks and stones will heal, but those inflicted with words may never heal and will continue to fester.

Harsh, unkind, hateful words spoken by those who are significant in a person’s life may have an impact that will scar that life forever.

There is a gigantic role for churches to play under these circumstances. They can promote small discussion groups and hold seminars. They can teach people how to conduct themselves in threatening situations.

Here is an opportunity for churches to become more relevant to modern life. Unfortunately, too many churches have elected to become part of the problem.

They use their powerful voices to arouse discontent and sow seeds of disharmony.

The Bible is filled with sound advice on how Christians are to respond to hostile or threatening behavior. People of good will can find solutions even in the face of overwhelming odds.

It is hard to listen to one another when so many of us are so far apart in our thinking, but we can do it. We must do it for the sake of our society.

We must continually ask ourselves: Do our words accurately reflect our claim to be Christian?

Christian civility must become more than a slogan. It must become the way we operate on a daily basis. As Christians, we must communicate in such a way as to reflect the teachings of Jesus.

Christian communication doesn’t mean surrendering our beliefs. It does require us to treat the other with the same respect we demand for ourselves no matter how much we disagree with his or her position.

In fact, the more deeply we disagree with another’s position, the more careful we need to be in fashioning our response.

There are times when the best response is to acknowledge that our disagreements are so profound that we simply agree to disagree and end the conversation.

Mitch Carnell is a consultant specializing in effective communication. He is the author of “Our Father: Discovering Family.” He and his wife, Carol, are members of First Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina. He blogs at MitchCarnell.comand ChristianCivility.com

Christian communication doesn’t mean surrendering our beliefs. It does require us to treat the other with the same respect we demand for ourselves no matter how much we disagree with his or her position.

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Religion and Politics Are Poor Teammates – Ethicsdaily.com

Mitch Carnell

Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 5:25 am

Religion and Politics Are Poor Teammates | Mitch Carnell, Billy Graham, Elections, Endorsements

Billy Graham has sacrificed a spiritual leadership position on the altar of partisan politics, Carnell observes. (PhotoBucket)

The tragedy of Billy Graham’s endorsement of Mitt Romney is not Graham’s choice for president of the United States. It would be the same had he endorsed President Obama.

The tragedy is that he made an endorsement at all. His removal of Mormonism from his list of cults and his endorsement are simply the results of human frailties.

Billy Graham, like so many of us, is unable to resist the warmth generated by the perception of power.

We thought that he had learned his lesson from being burned by getting too close to Richard Nixon. Apparently we were wrong.

Many of us have placed Graham on a pedestal and assumed he could do no wrong.

He has all of the fame and adoration that one person could possibly enjoy; however, the lure of political influence is too strong for mere mortals to resist.

Of course, Billy Graham has the same right as any other American citizen to endorse whomever he wishes – except that Graham is not any other citizen.

He occupies the position of spiritual counselor to the world. He is a role model for millions of people.

He has sacrificed a spiritual leadership position on the altar of partisan politics. He has become one more role model tarnished by the allure of political influence.

I have marveled at his ability to resist the temptations that money can bring, and he has not been touched by the sins of the flesh that have engulfed so many other televangelists.

He is a truly gifted communicator who can deliver a message to millions of people. He has neared the finish line of a remarkable career with very few blemishes on his record.

Why would he sacrifice all of this for a fleeting moment of political influence?

Most of us can manage the really big moments in our lives, but it is all those pesky little problems that arise in the meantime that cause us so much heartburn and heartache.

Power is a powerful magnet, and no matter how much of it we have, it is never enough. Politics seems to be Graham’s Achilles heel. He is unable to stay away from its lure.

The problem may lie with us in that we expected too much from another mere mortal. When the election is over and the results are known, Graham will get much of the credit and the far right will be strengthened if Romney wins. Religious leaders will be encouraged to enter the political wars.

If the president wins, Graham will have sacrificed his influence to politics. Either way he will be the loser, and so will we.

I am glad that God did not trust me with the responsibility of judging who on the national stage is more Christian.

Because I believe that there are no levels of Christians, I am automatically disqualified as a judge.

I also believe that there are no levels of sinners. We have all sinned and fallen short. I do know that it is un-Christian to leave people without health care, food or hope. I can judge those things.

Who am I as a layperson to criticize Billy Graham? I am just another flawed human being striving to find enough light to make it through life.

I am reminded of my conversation with the late Dr. John Hamrick, long-term pastor of Charleston’s First Baptist Church.

“Dr. John,” I asked, “does it ever make you anxious about preaching here where so many great pastors of the past have preached?”

“Yes,” he said. “At first it did until I realized that I didn’t have to please Richard Furman. I only had to please God.”

Billy Graham does not have to please Mitch Carnell. He only has to please God.

Mitch Carnell is a consultant specializing in interpersonal and organizational communication. He is the editor of “Christian Civility in an Uncivil World.” He and his wife are active lay members of First Baptist Church of Charleston, S.C. Mitch blogs at MitchCarnell.com.

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Breaking through the Noise

            In today’s intoxication with celebrities and the latest person grasping for her or his fifteen minutes of fame, how do you penetrate the noise and get a hearing? McDonald’s has the golden arches. President Obama has the bully pulpit. Sarah Palin has the Tea Party? What do you have or what can you develop?

            Who are you? Why would I want to know you? What do you have that I need or what can you do that will help me accomplish my goals? Spend some time with yourself and answer these questions. What skills do you have that are important to others? Make a list, but be honest. Are there any of those that you do better than most of the people that you know? Do you have any area of special knowledge? Are you an expert in any area or would you like to become one? Do you have a passion for any particular area?

            How do you want to spend your life? That sounds like a big complicated question, but it really is not. Write a mission statement for your life. This can take some time, but don’t worry. You can revise it from time to time. What part of this do you already have? What kinds of endeavors require your kinds of skills? Which areas interest you? Now, go into your mental closet. What would the person that you have described look like?

            What would he or she wear? How would he or she sound? Would he or she write articles or books? Would he or she make speeches or appear on television? Would he or she be a computer geek, an evangelist or a marketing guru?

            No matter which area you choose, make yourself an authority. Read! Read! Read and then read some more.  Make a list of those who are authorities on the subject and question them. You can do this by E-mail, telephone or snail mail. Develop a small group of trusted advisers that you meet with on a routine basis and ask for guidance and help. Write articles in trade publications. Start a blog and post to it several times each week. Seize every opportunity offered to make speeches. Keep them current and keep them centered on your area of expertise.  Be helpful in every way you can to others. Attend workshops or conferences for those in your field and network like crazy. Research the people you want to meet at these affairs so that you will have something to talk about with him or her. In other words start being the person you want to be.  There is no better time. None of this means that you have to give up your present job unless it is totally incompatible with what your goals. This is why spending some time getting to know yourself is so important.           

            Make certain that you present a congruent image. Your materials should accurately represent you. Your correspondence should reflect your image. Be especially careful that you put nothing on Facebook or Twitter that would call your image into question. 

            The most important step is to start. Stop waiting for the ideal time or until things get better. Stop talking about what you are planning to do and do it.

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“I Want Your Money”

            This is a two-hour commercial to elect Ronald Reagan president. Until seeing this film I thought that the Holy Trinity was God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It seems that I am wrong. The correct answer is Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich and God as a distant third.

            Don’t get me wrong. The movie is well done, even funny in spots. Unfortunately it is short on truth. It repackages a lot of information much the same way as Fox News. The movie makes it clear that the Republican Party is opposed to Social Security, Medicare and Comprehensive Health Care. It also drives the notion home that President Obama is a sociologist.

            The thing that this film lacks is what the Republicans have lacked for the last two years. What would you do? They are opposed to big government, but have never created a smaller one. They want the government out of our lives. Didn’t they ask the government to make George Bush president? They want to take our government back. From whom?

            Someone needs to break it to these guys that Ronald Reagan is not available. His heavenly duties keep him far too engaged to be concerned with only one country. Next time you find yourself engaged with a Republican spouting this propaganda, ask one simple question. What would you do? Be specific.

        Governor Sanford of South Carolina could not explain one single difference between Senator McCain’s economic program and that of then candidate Obama. Sarah Palin did not know what newspapers she reads and Miss O’Donnell is not a witch. Enough said.

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