Friday, February 06, 2009

Don't account on me

President Obama sure seems to be following through with his dedication to transparency in D.C. We are less than 1 month into his term and so far 4 of his picks for prominent positions as Cabinet members or advisers have had tax problems. This isn't about the fact of their failures. This is honestly about the transparency that we have seen. The sad truth is that if these 4 had not been moving into positions as visible as they are, there would have likely been nothing come of their infractions. They would not have been held to account for it. They would not have been penalized or punished in any way. But because of the public nature of the offices, they were held to account.

But how much of that accountability was proactive to beat the Republicans to the punch?

I say this because I'm in a generally cranky mood. Everyone seems to talk the talk of ethics and holding people account. But do we really want people to do this. Honestly, look at the culture we live in.

School kids ("good" kids as well as trouble makers) don't have a problem with cheating. The banking industry is having to be bailed out because we have allowed our economy to be built on debt and lending. Oh yeah, those same banks are constantly being busted for taking our tax money (that's what the government bailout was - our money) and using it for the same practices that got us into this situation. Which, by the way, was our money we gave to them to manage. You have to dig into people's past with the skills of a private investigator to find out if someone's resume is filled out honestly and that they went to the schools they said they did or performed the jobs they claim. And what was the last excuse you gave to get out of a speeding ticket?

Do we really want someone to hold us accountable to a good life? Do we really want someone getting up into our stuff and pointing out our failures? Do we want to live out the responsibility of Christians to "encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (Hebrews 3:13). Do we want a pastor who will "reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (2 Tim 4:2). And we definitely don't want anyone to carry out Christ's instruction in Matthew 18:15-17 if we cause offense.

I know I'm not perfect. Anyone who has been around me more than 8 minutes knows that. I offend people. I make people mad. I say things that don't set right. But I tell people straight out: if I offend you, make you mad, set you off then hold me accountable. I can't promise to not screw up. But I can make myself open to seek forgiveness and restore relationships. I live with regrets and mistakes, just like we all do. But when they happen, I try to make reconciliation possible. But it has to begin with me being willing to face accountability.

And to any law enforcement officers who may stop me for speeding, I have no excuse. How much do I owe?
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