It's Friday morning, and last night two things happened.
Thing 1 (with apologies to Theodore Giesel and his magical, annoying cat): President Obama made a speech to a joint session of Congress about jobs.
Thing 2: The 2011 NFL season started with the Saints playing the Packers.
Now, I'm writing this Thursday night after the speech and during the game, so I don't have ratings data, but I think it's a safe guess that more people are watching the game than watched the speech.
I watched the speech, and I'm watching the game right now. First, let's have a little fun. Figure out whether each statement applies to the Speech or NFL game.
1. Somewhere, there's a former participant that thinks he could do it better, but won't get the chance. There's also one or two that have done much worse.
2. There's been plenty of applause, but you're not sure which side the clapping is for in the end.
3. Finger-pointing and aggression are on obvious display.
4. Every moment, there's a commentator praising and one criticizing the same thing done by the same person.
5. Wide-angle camera shots show people who aren't really paying attention.
They could all apply to either one. Whether it's a former candidate that thinks he'd be a better President or Brett Favre, #1 applies either way.
When I become President, I intend to circulate a "no-clapping" rule to all sides for my speeches before Congress. You could tell the R—side clapped to things he didn't want clapped for, and the D—side clapped for all of his things. It's all meaningless. Meanwhile, folks are 3 beers in in Green Bay. Were they clapping because Kid Rock sang or because he quit singing? Who knows?
In all, I set up those five statements. They can be parsed, reparsed, and deparsed into whatever meaning you want them to have. That's the stuff of politics and sports-casting: say what people want to hear, do what they expect. You get the cheers, the votes, the ticket sales and the corporate sponsorships. There it is again---that statement applies both to sports and politics—both parties.
Now, obviously there's a hint of criticism here for the political universe of the United States. That is actually not my main point, at least not today.
I want to remind those of you readers that are Christian believers of this fact:
We are not to speak like politicians, we are not to play the crowd like sports teams. Letting our "yes be yes and our no, no" (Matthew 5:37) should be understood as applying to more than just those two statements. This is a command from the Lord Jesus that our words be filled with integrity.
Not with hidden motives or with double-speak. Not with words that can be backed out of or redefined or adjusted with the flow.
We should speak plainly, clearly, and directly in all matters possible.
So, as we fuss a little about politics and keep one eye on the scoreboard, let's remember what we are supposed to be: people of integrity, because He was, is, and ever more will be the One whose words are always true and never questionable. And we're supposed to be like Him.