Saturday, November 7, 2015

Whatever Happened to Privacy?

photo by Dan Kleinke / flickr

Ever heard the old joke about the preacher in a little church that stood up, leaned over the pulpit and said, "Today we are going to do something a little different. I'm going to ask you someth' personal. I want you to share your story today--and I want you to tell it all."

Woman speaks: "I have a drinking' problem. And nobody knows it--but I get drunk all week-end--except Sunday."
Preacher: "Thank you, Sister. "
Preacher:" Tell it all."
Another member said: "Preacher I hate you."
Preacher (after a long pause): "Tell it all."
Deacon spoke: "I have had sex with three women lately besides my wife."
Preacher: (even a longer pause) : I don't believe I'd a told that."

Sometimes living in this social media age--I think some folk have gone slap crazy. There are some things you ought not to tell. Unless maybe a counselor. Yet--there are people of all ages that are partially or totally stripping and sending their photos to somebody. Remember Anthony Wiener.

But hopefully these are in the minority. But people are on Facebook daily typing away and showing pictures or this or that. I have seen some pretty awful things on Facebook that ought to have never been told. Often I have thought to myself: Who cares. Young people especially have no idea that some of their personal stories could be terribly damaging. They apply for a job and someone in Personnel looks under their name on Facebook. Interview cancelled.

We have books and magazine articles that tell people's private stuff that ought to stay private. I don't believe we need to tell everything. Take political candidates--we do not need to hear it all. We have heard a great many invasive things about candidates and their family members that should never have been told or written. I remember when Truman was President and his daughter  Margaret made her singing debut somewhere in Washington. Some columnist wrote about how she could not sing and ought to stay off there stage. The President was so furious he called the reporter up and used some words I probably should not say here. Lately somebody wrote nasty comments about the President's daughters and how terribly they dressed for some occasion. Of course every President has his own painful stories of events or occasion that should never have been told.  Who cares that the candidate may have smoked marijuana in high school thirty years ago? The implication is that he (or she) is a druggy.

I think it has been in poor taste and unprofessional for Mr. Trump especially to smear the other Republican candidates. These people have been vetted--surely they would not be on the stage if they were impostors.  I think we know that if the media ever has the courage to look at Mr. Trump's past--he would be irate. We all have a shadow side.

Bottom line: We don't need to tell everything. One of the problems of the church these last few years is that some Pastors feel they should tell everything about themselves. Not only is it "not all about them" but often it hurts congregations knowing information that should have been kept quiet. We are all human. I have a saying: "There's ain't but one Jesus." My wife has been known to remind me of this fact.

The reason Jesus said: "Judge Not" was because he carried the burden of humanity and he was one with us all. We all really do have a shadow side. We all need forgiveness for a multitude of things. There is no reason for us to "tell it all" or air our dirty linen in public. Privacy is taking an enormous beating today and we do not need to contribute to this problem.

photo by Amancay Maahs / flickr 

--Roger Lovette /

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