President Obama recently said: "I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking." This comment alarmed many. Is the president aiming at all those who disagree with him? Has he stopped listening to all sides? Is it his way or no way? Perhaps he means effective talk needs thought behind it.
Let's get something else behind us. Anyone who talks enough (politician, activist, preacher, columnist) will sometimes put his foot in his mouth. Peaceably wading through today's confusion and anger requires extending biblical grace, translated as unmerited favor and enabling power, spiritual Viagra against impotence and wasted effort.
Some 60,000 thoughts fly through our minds daily, most unconscious, most undirected. As Shakespeare noted, they are "dreams till their effects be tried." Firing these ruminations with no target in sight proves only that the gun is loaded and deadly. Talking and doing yield positive results through planned and purposed thinking.
We look to rooks (relatives of crows) for insight. In a Cambridge University test, the birds figured out how to drop stones into a test tube, raising the water level high enough to grab the hapless worm floating on top. They even deciphered that bigger rocks meant faster eating. The prophet Isaiah applied this concept to thinking, talking and doing: "For it is [His prophets repeating over and over] precept upon precept, precept upon precept; rule upon rule, rule upon rule; here a little, there a little" (28:10 Amplified).
Much current news could be titled "Is Anybody Thinking?" Despite the state of Hawaii producing Obama's legal birth certificate, the "birthers" continue to distract. A comprehensive study of North America's melting glaciers shows rapid and accelerating shrinkage over the last half-century; still, some refuse to discuss global warming. Our educational system is deteriorating; maybe, degrees and dollars aside, ignorance lies behind our elected representatives' arrogant refusals to read bills before voting.
We might wonder how many are capable of thinking. Authority with no common sense caused Burger King employees in Sunset Hills, Mo., to flaunt their no-shoes policy by asking a shoeless six-month-old to leave. Perhaps these workers attend a school that must tell them to wear underwear but not show it and to make sure their clothing is right side out. Perhaps someone like the King High School administrator in Tampa, who asks offenders to remove their shoes so that he can pop their toes, punished them. Even worse, some need to ask whether he should be fired or "if" this is bizarre behavior.
Let's return to the president's invitation for certain folks to shut up. Though we understand this Hamiltonian viewpoint, the "mess" and what it takes to "clean it up" require definition, specifics, and more than a few informed thinkers, both well mannered and unafraid enough to endure other opinions. The televised, so-called health care forums look more like the Jerry Springer show. We hope we do not hear: "What's wrong with that?" If so, we rest our case. If there is time, prophetic rook rocks may be the only hope.
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.