Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Look Good or Do Good?

One of the big plagues of our time, perhaps all time, is the prioritizing of looking good above doing good. I work for a Fortune 500 company with an uncountable number of Vice Presidents. These Vice Presidents come in many different shapes, size, and gender, but the one thing they all have in common is the mastery of business verbiage. Most of them have held many different positions as they have climbed the corporate ladder playing it safe, talking a good game, and appearing competent without ever rocking the boat.

Most of our Churches are no different from a large company. The Pastor and Church Leader who dresses the right way and says the right things which sound pleasing to the majority is able to rise through the ranks without ever having to actually achieve any results by taking an unpopular risk in order to achieve an important goal. Just as in business, the appearance of good is valued above the doing of good.

Politics might be the worst of the three. At least since FDR, and probably before, most Democrats have advocated social programs and social spending that sounds a whole lot better than it actually works. The fact that many of these programs have hurt the very people they are supposed to help hasn’t deterred the advocates because they continue to get elected based on what they advocate, not on what they achieve.

The conservatives who are opposed to the Supreme Court Justice nomination of Harriet Miers by President Bush are no different than any other group of advocates who are more concerned about appearance than results. President Bush could have nominated a sitting Judge who appeared to be a conservative and this group would have been happy eventhough there is no guarantee the person nominated would judge the law and not make law. Instead President Bush kept his campaingn promise and nominated a person who he is sure will judge the law and not make law. What a refreshing exception to the plague of our time.


Teresa said...

A very good post David. It is funny how much time we spend trying to please everyone, but the irony is that in playing it safe, we spend much time trying to make everyone happy. A good lesson. I will say one thing for President Bush--he stands on what he says--even when it's WRONG. I agree that Bush made a good choice in Harriet Miars. Actually, I think it is a great thing that the conservatives are in such a twist about it, because it shows how ridiculously narrow some of them are :)

David M. Smith said...

Hi Teresa,

Thanks. As much as I always want to be right, and as much as always try to be right, sometimes I am wrong. President Bush is sometimes wrong and so is everyone else.

However, we all have almost complete control over whether or not we keep our word. Politicians, as a lot, are notorious weasels. I like the integrity of my President, even when he is wrong.

I am a little sad by the overall conservative response, but like you said, it is revealing.

Hammertime said...

One of your best posts ever, David. It applies to much more than politics, but to the church as you said. Too often we refuse to examine the great sounding ideas of the day to avoid conflict. I'll keep that in mind during my heresy series.