Monthly Archives: April 2013

Fired for (BLEEP) Language

A.J. Clemente was excited about his first day on the job…until he opened his mouth. If you haven’t caught the news yet, here’s what happened. Clemente was on his first day as a news anchor for Bismarck, North Dakota’s KFYR-TV. While waiting for the “on-air” signal, he was reviewing the news he had to read, when he came across some very difficult Russian names he couldn’t pronounce. In frustration, he uttered a string of profanity. The problem? They had already gone live!

Since KFYR-TV is an NBC subsidiary, his gaffe got him national attention and an interview on the Today show. Between Tweets, FB, and media coverage, Clemente has gotten more press than he ever would have as a Bismarck anchor. Many have rallied to his side. In fact, in a poll, America says he shouldn’t have gotten fired by 3 to 1 (75%/25%). Has profanity become so common place among us? If so, why the firing? Are the producers that out of touch with the “new” American values?

Clemente, to his credit, has apologized to the public and said his mother “didn’t raise him to speak that way.” We all deserve a 2nd chance, and with all the media attention he has gotten, I’m sure he will end up with an even better job than the one he had. But this incident should cause us to pause and reflect on where we are as a society.

The bible is clear on the kind of language that ought to come out of our mouths. In Colossians 3:8, Paul writes, “But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication out of your mouth.” He continues in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.” These words echo the sentiment of Christ as written in Matthew 15:18-20, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”

Are the producers of KFYR-TV the only ones who value these truths? I hope not! A “word fitly spoken” is our goal. May we all give some thought to what proceeds from our mouths.

Interrupted, but Pressing On!

Terrorism, in any form, is one of the lowest, most cowardly things that one human being can do to another. The ultimate purpose of terrorists is to inflict fear. One of the best ways to inflict terror is to take something that seems happy, safe, and predictable and turn it into something painful and chaotic. This is exactly what the recent bombers of the Boston Marathon hoped to accomplish.

In Galatians 5:7-10, the apostle Paul deals with terrorists who were interrupting a different kind of race. When he sees runners in the Christian marathon stumbling, he asks, “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” He then warns terrorists that the judgment will be harsh for those who interrupt, bomb, and terrorize those who are running for God. Paul says, “The one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.”

While the Boston terrorists were successful in causing harm, it remains to be seen what our reaction will be. If the past is any indication, Americans are very resilient. Marathons will continue, and many will come to cheer runners in the future. For most of us, life will go on as before with the exception that a little more innocence has been stolen from us.

My heart and prayers go out to the families of the victims, the participants in the Marathon, and the citizens of Boston for the recent terrorist action. At times such as this, we are comforted in the knowledge that neither bomb, nor terrorist, “nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

No matter what happens along the way, no matter what our enemies try to do to stop us, we must “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). For those who remain faithful despite all challenges, there is a “crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

“Iron Lady?”…Why not just, “Iron Prime Minister?”

President Obama was in hot water recently for commenting on a woman’s leadership and her looks. He found out that those comments are off-limits when he referred to Kamala Harris as “the best-looking attorney general.” Why does it seem to be so difficult for some to separate job performance from physical qualities?

Women play such an important role in the church today. They teach bible classes, instruct our children, and have various ministries for God’s glory. At Clover, we are forming a Ladies Bible Class, we are promoting mentoring among the women, and we are encouraging those roles that have biblical authority. Yet, incredibly, we are able to do all of this without judging performance by looks! Many in the secular world seem to continue to struggle with this idea.

Margaret Thatcher, who passed away this week at the age of 87, was a glass ceiling smasher who enjoyed being a woman and a leader. Nevertheless, Thatcher’s gender was never separable from her career. She was given several names during her career, including: “Thatcher, milk snatcher” by detractors, the “Iron Lady” by cold war communists, and even “that woman” by Edward Heath, whom she beat for Prime Minister.  Even one of her kindest names, “Britain’s Fighting Lady,” given by Time magazine, still proves an inability of writers to separate her gender from her job performance.

The bible has always praised strong women such as Deborah, Esther, and Mary to name a few. The New Testament encourages the role of women in the work of the church. Many scholars agree that Priscilla’s name being mentioned before Aquila’s in Acts 18:26 and Romans 16:3 indicates that she often took a primary role in private teaching. Paul reminded the Roman church to help Phoebe “in whatever matter she has need” (Romans 16:2); women have equal worth and access to Christ (Galatians 3:28); and older women are given the task of instructing younger women (Titus 2).

The bible instructs all of this without judging job performance by looks. Perhaps we should take note? The important thing is whether we are faithful in our work to the Lord, regardless of age, sex, race, or other external qualities. God does not show favoritism (James 2:1) and neither should we.

A Good Mixture of Defects?

Have you ever thought you weren’t “beautiful” or attractive? Have you considered that others might think that about themselves too? In a world that places so much attention on external beauty, even the famous struggle with their “defects.”

You may not know the name Luca Dotti, but it is likely that you have heard of the star of his new book, Audrey in Rome. The book includes over 2,500 pictures taken of his mother, Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn is famous for a graceful beauty, a beauty which one writer called, “absolute 100% unmatched perfection.” Nevertheless, it turns out that Hepburn didn’t see herself quite the way others did. Dotti tells us that Hepburn “thought she had a big nose and big feet, and she was too skinny…She would look in the mirror and say, ‘I don’t understand why people see me as beautiful.’”

In fact, she put a “humble” spin on it by saying that she was not “beautiful,” but rather, a “good mixture of defects.” A good mixture of defects! I love that phrase because it captures the essence of our perfection in God’s eyes. God knows we aren’t perfect, but our beauty in God’s eyes isn’t wrapped up in perfection or beauty as the world sees it. Consider the following through God’s eyes:

1)      God created him; male and female He created them…and it was very good (Genesis 1:27, 31).
2)      The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
3)      Beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).

All our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). No one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18). And yet, God welcomes us if we come to Him through Christ (John 14:6). He loves and desires us so much that, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We are beautiful in His eyes. We are, “a good mixture of defects.”

Do you see yourself as God sees you?  Accept Jesus and begin walking in the faith today. Defects and all, you can be been made beautiful in Christ!