Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Oval Office Rug Gets Quote Wrong

AOL News (Sept. 5) – When President Barack Obama ponders big policy decisions, he might find inspiration from some of his favorite quotations inscribed on a new rug in the Oval Office.

The rug’s perimeter is lined with sayings from Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Teddy Roosevelt. It also has a quote that Obama has described as his favorite from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Only it turns out – after the rug has already be sewn and laid down – that it's been incorrectly attributed to King.

A saying on a new rug in the Oval Office is attributed to Martin Luther King Jr., but the quote actually came from an abolitionist minister from Massachusetts.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice," is a phrase the civil rights leader used regularly. Obama even referred to it in his election victory speech in Chicago on Nov. 5, 2008.

But it turns out that whenever King used the phrase, he was actually echoing another speaker a century before him, whom he admired: the Massachusetts minister and abolitionist Theodore Parker, who in 1853 said, "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one. ... But from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice."

The quote has often been attributed to King, but it seems Obama, his biographer David Remnick and none of the White House decorators bothered to look into its historic origins or even do a quick search on Wikipedia – which has an entry listing Parker is the original author of the phrase.

The mistake was first reported by The Washington Post, and reporters raised it with White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton on Saturday. Burton stood by the attribution to King, saying that the civil rights leader uttered those exact words on Sept. 2, 1957, according to CNN.

Another of the quotes on the new Oval Office rug is from Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg Address, in which the U.S. president referred to a "government of the people, by the people and for the people." It turns out that Lincoln, too, was paraphrasing Parker, who wrote in 1850 that a democracy is "a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people."

[by Lauren Frayer - AOL News and Associated Press]

Most Common Sins of a Church Leader

  1. Pride. Pontification is an easy sin. We want to be seen as wise and so we use our bully pulpit to "lead" even if we don't have a clue what we are doing.
  2. Laziness. Using the same material each year and expecting it to be fresh and valuable as the day it was thought up. And, pretending to be busy just for the sake of being busy.
  3. Defensiveness. Every critical statement made by colleagues isn't the result of their psychopathology. Leaders mess up and ought to be able to admit it.
  4. Jealousy. We tear down our more prolific/famous colleagues because it makes us feel less of a failure.

Touch Not Mine Anointed

“He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, ‘Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.’” (Psalms 105:14-15 KJV).

As a life-long conservative Pentecostal churchman, this scripture was/is quoted to me repeatedly. It is always used in the context of; do not question nor speak against those “over” us in the Lord, regardless of what they are doing or how they are doing it. In a system called “Theocracy,” you would have thought the Bible said, “Touch not mine appointed.” However, is everyone that has been appointed by man, been anointed by God? Are they today?

There is a danger of dishonoring God’s anointed people. The Lord honors those who serve Him. When we honor Him , He will honor us. The Lord honors those who love Him with all their heart. The Lord honors those who have faced shame and humiliation in their lives. He comforts them with a double blessing. He will honor us in the presence of our enemies. When we are humble and walk in the fear of the Lord, He will honor us.

If you believe in the Priesthood of all believers, isn’t every Christian anointed? Doesn’t that make all of us God’s anointed? The Christos was the “anointed one,” and Christians are likewise anointed. What about dishonoring them? The whole act of the chrism underscored this simple fact. And why not: if Jesus Christ dwells in us and what we do and have in this life that is of value is from and of God, then we too are partakers in his anointing.

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;” (Hebrews 3:14 KJV).

“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:1-2 KJV).

The Lord wants us to honor His messengers. When we welcome and honor His servants (that’s right, Jesus came to teach servant-leadership), we honor the Lord Himself. The Lord will surely reward us for all that we have done for His people. We must be careful not to dishonor or mistreat the Lord’s servants as the Lord will be displeased by that and we may have to face painful consequences for dishonoring His anointed messengers.

The problem arises when the text is used to prevent proper observation of what is anointed and what is not. Even God’s peasants can tell when red flags appear. When a leader speaks one way one day and another way tomorrow, when church business is done in secret (darkness), when politics rule the business of the church, when all measurements show decline, when leadership is imposed thru fear and intimidation, it is time for a closer look at the “anointed” one.

If you have watched Christian television recently, you may have noticed a very well known preacher, usually under attack for financial dealings or moral failure, who invokes this verse to stop any kind of criticism or action against him or her. Since their ministry is successful, they are “anointed,” with the implication that we aren’t and thus have no right to question or criticize what they are doing. How do we know that this or that minister is a leader, and thus deserves some kind of “special treatment?” This goes to the whole problem of authority in the church.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23 KJV)

There is no New Testament support to the idea that anointed people are beyond reproof on either side of eternity.

The sooner we get back to the Biblical concept that the anointing is the common property of all those called by the name of Christ, the happier we will all be and the more fruitful the ministry of the church will become.

How Safe Is Your Church?

When it comes to risk management, talk is a great place to start, but action is required. Churches need background check programs to protect the at-risk members. Ministry leaders need to advocate for safety in services that are provided to children, youth, and the elderly.

Here’s a plan to get started. Follow this checklist to make sure all ministry groups are compliant with basic safety practices:
  1. 1. Conduct a criminal background check on all employees and volunteers who work with children and youth. Start with the staff and ministry leaders, then screen all your volunteers. Also be sure to rescreen workers with a consistent schedule that is determined by your leadership. The International Foursquare Church has implemented a policy that states their churches need to conduct background checks annually.
  2. Beyond the criminal background check, always verify prospective employee and volunteer references. Ask for this information on an application and follow-up through phone calls or send out a reference survey. It can be mailed to each person listed as a reference or used as a phone interview tool.
  3. Conduct personal interviews with each ministry worker annually. Many churches interview workers to make a placement decision but don’t have continued contact during their term of service. Set up a timeline to touch base with workers to update any life issues that may impact their service.
  4. Provide continuing training for children’s and youth ministry workers. Training is the key to a safe ministry environment. Someone once said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” There is no replacement when it comes to making sure your workers know what to do-and how to do it.
  5. Regularly review written child-abuse-prevention policies and background check programs. Safety procedures are worthless if they’re not taught and re-taught on a continuing basis. Make sure all new volunteers are aware of the policies and procedures as a part of their orientation. Retrain often as a part of your continuing education efforts.
  6. Update church background check policies as needed. A policy is only effective when it’s current and applicable. Local and state laws constantly change, so you’ll need to keep up with the practices that reflect what other child-care providers are doing in your community.

Labor Day Weekend

Monday is Labor Day. It’s a day to commemorate the “unofficial” end of Summer, a beginning of another school year, and if you’ve got a parade, a picnic or a festival lined up for Monday- Hooray! It is, also, a national holiday to celebrate the American worker. The weekend’s celebration of Labor Day is, no doubt, ironic for some; frustrating for many. For millions, it’s a day just like any other, with no job from which to receive this paid holiday, and few opportunities looming on the horizon. Indeed, countless workers today, while grateful for the job they have, still suffer stress and worry about the security of their employment. No one is unaware of the challenging times our country faces, with rumors rumbling of what’s called a “double-dip recession,” and an economic turndown that has seen a jobless rate nearing 10% in some areas of the country, and well past that figure in other parts. Millions of Americans are still without jobs, and employment forecasters don’t see a quick return to previous employment levels for even more years to come. The economy shows signs of a slow repair, only to show another month marked by sluggishness. Wow. What’s to celebrate? Plenty. We are a country created and supported by visionary leaders and citizens, and a country populated today by people who still believe in, and work to maintain, those core principles. This Labor Day may hold its share of irony, but I want to put my hope in a future where there is great reason for all to celebrate “the American worker” in years to come.

So how, exactly, did we see the beginning of Labor Day? The U.S. Department of Labor provides this history:

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states – Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday – a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.

And it is appropriate to hold out great hope that if you are searching for a job this Labor Day, you’ll be celebrating your status as an American worker long before our next Labor Day.

Have a joyous, and safe, Labor Day holiday weekend.