No special rules apply
Highlands TodaySo, Tiger Woods did not grant interviews. As yet, there is no face-off with Barbara Walters, no three-ring circus like the Jerry Springer Show. Despite his transgressions, Woods still insists on some privacy, some modicum of respect for himself and his family. His controlled public apology ought to be enough.
Published: February 25, 2010
Published: February 25, 2010
Brutal honesty is, well, brutal. A session of it can reduce the strongest, seemingly most solid, to liquid. It ought to mean facing truth with a spotlight that, despite pain, leads to ultimate good. However, when so-called reality shows become favorite television, when serious media loses all objectivity and stoops to the level of frenzied paparazzi, then brutal honesty becomes savage brute. Woods wisely rejected it.
Humorous honesty, the kernel of truth that makes us smile, is gentler. Take this quote from Today's Meredith Vieira: "I get samples of fancy face creams sent to my office all the time, and no matter which one I apply, I still look like a 55-year-old woman in the morning!" All of us relate to fighting with and accepting our age. Vieira shares her humanness and lets us know being privileged isn't the end of certain battles.
Forced honesty (getting caught) followed by too much soul baring (such as that of Gov. Mark Sanford) reeks insincerity. One of the truest statements by Woods was: "I don't get to play by different rules." Neither he nor we, Buddhist, Christian, atheist, or other, is exempt. Severe scrutiny goes with public limelight and public money. When we stop making gods of sports figures, celebrities, government officials, and clergy, they will better understand accountability and stop whining about how hard their position is.
Within recent days we learned that renowned evangelist Benny Hinn might be facing divorce, that his wife cites "irreconcilable differences." Because of Hinn's public face, what the Christianity he represents stands for, he cannot hide. He must play by the rules. Many people believe they have a claim on him, and, like Woods, he should speak.
Within recent days the Republican Party, touting fiscal responsibility and blasting wasteful spending, has been accused of misusing party money and credit cards. Their chairman, Jim Greer, resigned immediately. Some are claiming it is an in-house issue because they are technically a private organization. That won't work. Like Woods and Hinn, they are answerable to many. They must play by the rules.
Tampa Tribune reporter Michelle Bearden described Lent, the 40-day period observed by some before Easter, as "time-out for Christians." Perhaps all of us could benefit by stepping back to ask what rules we play by in this life game. In Jesus' day the Sadducees (sort of religious paparazzi), not even believing in resurrection, asked him whose wife a woman widowed seven times would be in the resurrection. They did not seek truth; they sought scandal. Jesus pointed to his rules: "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God" (Matthew 22:29 NIV).
As we highlight the troubles of Woods, Hinn, and Republicans, we should also expect brutal truth of ourselves. No pain, no gain. "I don't get to play by different rules."
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.