Do It Right The First Time

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I want to share a little story with you.

My scoutmaster (we’ll call him Scott) once gave a Scoutmaster Minute that has stayed with me for almost 10 years.

The incident took place during his time in the Army. Scott was an officer, and had just gotten off a brutal shift that had lasted nearly 24 hours with no rest. He joked that at the time he thinks he was taking coffee intravenously just to stay awake. Anyway, as he walked to his barracks, a very nervous looking soldier wearing civilian slacks and a white t-shirt approached him. He said, “Sir, can I have a word with you?”

Scott was about to say yes, when it registered with him that the soldier who was addressing him was not in uniform. Sternly, he rebuked the soldier and said, “If you’re going to address a superior officer, you need to be in uniform. Go change and then come back and talk to me.” The soldier protested at first, but Scott was firm. The soldier left and returned in his uniform, but it was disheveled and unkept. Scott again rebuked the soldier for his unprofessional appearance, and sent him back a second time. This time, the soldier took care that his appearance was professional and worthy of standing before the superior officer.

This time, Scott was satisfied. He said, “Now that you’re dressed appropriately, let’s take a walk. What did you want to talk to me about?”

Nervously, the soldier said, “Sir, I’ve been very depressed for a long time. Tonight, I told myself I was going to go out, ask to talk to the first person I saw, and then kill myself in front of them.”

Scott was shocked! The soldier continued, “But after you sent me back to put on my uniform, it gave me time to think, and now I’m not sure what I want.”

Scott spent the rest of the evening counseling the soldier, who ultimately decided not to take his own life. The moral of the story? Standing on ceremony may be a hassle sometimes, but there are good reasons for it.

Never underestimate the impact of insisting that things be done the right way, the first time. Because Scott insisted that the soldier follow the proper protocols of respect, the man’s life was saved.

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4 Reactions to Miley Cyrus Worth Reading

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By now, every one and their mother has heard about the Miley Cyrus debacle that went down at the VMA’s this week. I haven’t seen the performance, I have no desire to, and I don’t recommend you watch it. But because the Internet is so helpfully insistent on telling me things I don’t want to know about, I know all about what happened. It’s sad, it’s gross, and it’s worth asking ourselves what kind of culture is OK with it. Here are four of the best reactions to the whole thing that are actually worth reading.

#4 I Weep for Miley

Who: Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition

Money Quote:  “I weep for the broken, messed-up world we live in. But then I weep at the power of grace.”

Takeaway:  Trevin sums up what every Christian should have felt: sorrow. Sorrow not for Miley, necessarily, but for the state of our culture where we treat people like objects and then ridicule them for acting like objects. But he ends his post with an excellent turn around wherein he reminds us all that we are all messed up broken people and there is a grace that is bigger than all our flaws.

Concluding Quote: “Weeping is no longer enough. Now, I pray.”

#3 Dear Miley Cyrus…

Who: The Velvet Brick

Money Quote: “You are so much more than being the product of society that uses young women like you in images of sex and vulgarity for boosts in ratings and marketing. You may not know this but you are precious in the sight of God.”

Takeaway: I like this post because it’s succinct in framing the issue. It takes it from a different perspective and is addressed to Miley herself. It’s a call for respect for women and for self-respect; a recognition that human beings are created in the image of God and that brings with it certain responsibilities in how we view ourselves and others. At it’s heart, it’s a cry for Miley to know Christ. Which would be amazing, and like Trevin says in the above post, we should pray for that.

Concluding Quote: “You were created by a God who loves you and I wish you could understand that is what gives you self-respect.”

#2 Miley Cyrus and the Culture of Nothing

Who: The Perpetual Shave

Money Quote: “It was a great, big, glittery explosion of nothing.  It was bursting at the seams with a total, soul-deadening emptiness.”

Takeaway: This is a home run! This article simply says the stark truth: Miley’s performance meant nothing. Not in the sense that it didn’t make headlines (if it hadn’t, you wouldn’t be here) but in the sense that there was no lasting value or significance attached to it. It was the ultimate “well, why not?” moment. Caught in the cross hairs were real people with real significance losing themselves to nothingness. That’s what sin does.

Concluding Quote: “Miley and her generation are being duped into believing that what they are doing has some kind of edgy substance.  But it doesn’t.  Miley made a fool of herself last night and managed to say nothing about anything in the process and came out a star because of it.”

#1 Dear Son, Don’t Let Robin Thicke Be a Lesson to You

Who: The Matt Walsh Blog

Money Quote: “In any case, this gives you an idea of the full scene: A 36 year old married man and father, grinding against an intoxicated 20 year old while singing about how she’s an “animal” and the “hottest b*tch in this place.” And what happens the next day? We’re all boycotting the 20 year old. The grown man gets a pass.”

Takeaway: YES! Finally, someone talks about the fact that there were two people on the stage! Is Miley reckless and foolish? Yes! Is Robin Thicke totally perverted? Absolutely. The fact that we automatically criticize Miley immediately shows how blind we are to masculine responsibility. We are SO used to expecting men to be moral puppets with no responsibility of their own that we criticize the female in the picture TWICE over because she didn’t do the properly feminine thing by acting proper. It’s a phenomena that goes all the way back to the Industrial Revolution: women are expected to be the soft, gentle moral ones and men are expected to be animals. Give me a break.

You really do have to wonder how this all would have been different if every news article about Miley instead rightly criticized Robin for his part. He’s the man; he’s the older one, and he’s the failure.

Concluding Quote: “Oh, and by the way [son], if I ever catch you disrespecting women, I will sit you down and talk to you about it. But first I’ll kick your butt up and down the street. That’s a promise.”

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Sorry to put more Miley Madness in front of you but there you have it! Who do you think is more to blame? Robin or Miley?

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