Friday, April 3, 2009


A few years ago I was standing on line with my older son, waiting at the checkout counter in a local department store. A young man and his girlfriend came up behind us deep in conversation. Just about every other word out of this young man's mouth was the "f" word. He used that word as noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. I had never known just how flexible that word could be before that day.

At first, I moved up a few inches away from the boy. But, he just moved up closer. My son was watching me and leaned over and whispered to me: "Don't do it." You see, my older son knows that I believe that it really does "take a village" to raise a child. And, he also knows that I am not a shrinking violet when it comes to telling children to behave. He just wishes, for my safety, that I didn't see EVERYONE as a CHILD in these situations.

The young man for his part was still carrying on his expletive enhanced conversation. I turned casually to get a look at him. He wasn't scary looking at all! In fact, he was wearing around his neck, and hanging low on his chest the LARGEST CRUCIFIX I had ever seen anyone ever wear. I didn't say anything, I just gave him THE LOOK. Now, all children know THE LOOK. This young man was no different. He looked at me, recognized it, and for at least the next five minutes while I was being checked out corrected his speech.

After that incident, I put together a new lesson for my Confirmation Preparation Classes. You see, after I had turned around to look at the young man, the most offensive thing about him ceased to be his inappropriate language and instead, became his inappropriate language while appearing to the world as a devoted follower of Christ! So, I tell the boys and girls that when we put the crucifix or even a plain cross around our neck we are telling the world something important about ourselves and our beliefs. When our words and actions contradict our appearance, we are saying even louder, something very different.

I thought about this young man again the other day, when an acquaintance on Twitter made a comment about a quotation I had posted. The quotation was attributed to St. John of God. My acquaintance had reposted the quotation with the assertion that " we should put 'of God' @ the end of R names." I thought about that a moment and realized that if we could and did maybe the world would be a much better place. Maybe if we were constantly reminded every time we signed our names that we are "of God," we would behave differently and sin would be no more. That is, if our walkin' and talkin' thereafter ALWAYS reflected our new important description.

Today, I received the following e-mail:

"A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. He said, 'I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him.'

I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk; naturally...I assumed you had stolen the car.'"

All of this really makes me think.

So, my question is this:




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