In praise of …who? In praise of Steven and Janet, two children of God who know that they are children of God, two people who understand the concept of sin and spend their lives seeking God’s help in fighting the sin which we all have within us and the sin around us in our lives, two decent and kind people whose names I will not reveal, except to say that they are two real, living people.
Consider them, if you are inclined, as two kind teachers in your children’s elementary school who set your children on the right path or consider them the neighbor who drives your wife to chemotherapy while you are at work or consider them as the folks who roll down the window while when you car is broken down on a snowy evening and ask “Is there anything I can do to help?”
Steven and Janet are two very real people, but they are also the ideals we strive for in our ordinary lives, the Gary Cooper or Jimmy Stewart ideal, the common woman and the common man who reaches for goodness and, with the help of God, by the grace of God, finds goodness. In politics – Steven and Janet are not in politics at all – we would find gentle souls like Mike Mansfield, John Chafee and Ronald Reagan, very different politically but very much the same ideal of seriousness about being good and happy and honorable.
Why do I write of two real people – two people whose identify, out of respect for their privacy – I will not even reveal, right now? Because right now, in the sort of coincidence that comes from Providence, we are, or we should be, pondering two starkly different ideals of man and of woman in our society.
If I wrote of Tony and of Lovie, my readers would quickly guess that I was writing about two of the finest souls ever to grace the sport of professional football, two men born with more obstacles and easy paths in their lives: Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, of course, the humble, devout coaches whose teams both won the Super Bowl (although the Colts did a little better on the scoreboard.) We ought to think about how wonderful God is that instead of “the first two black coaches” in the Super Bowl, we have two men who we could entrust the moral coaching of our children without a care.
Yet my last article was not about these two good men who could easily have turned out bad, but of a celebrity who could easily have turned out good but turned out bad, Anna Nicole Smith. I did not judge her, nor would I ever judge her, but I did judge our society, our love of celebrity, our sureness that money can buy anything, our worship of physical beauty over spiritual beauty, our yearning for popularity and power, our lusts of every sort which is unholy.
Why is this poor soul (and we should pray for her soul and for the soul of her son and for the guidance of her infant daughter) an ideal for us? Like so many before her, like O.J. Simpson and Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Simpson had it all – everything except for the only thing that matters. She searched her short life for Him who was before her all the time, but the chattering voices which swarmed around her said He doesn’t matter.
So today I write in praise of Steven and of Janet, who if they met Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith would know them through Him who loves us all. I write in praise of those who love goodness, whatever their names and wherever they live and whatever they do. I write in praise of the bus driver who always, with a sort of tough masculine love, made sure my children always got to school not just safe, but comforted and cared for. I write in praise, not just of Americans or of conservatives, but in praise of all the souls who understand that there is sin and that sin is a problem and who do something about it.
We all know Stevens and Janets (lots of them are waiting for us in Heaven.) They are not celebrities, except that we are all celebrities to God. They have precisely what we all have, the only possession that matters: our souls. A good black man held up a glittering ornament about a week ago while the world watched and explained that his goodness came from God. Every Steven and every Janet know that. Which is why they are who they are and which is why I write today in praise of them.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenÕs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.