Generous Orthodoxy  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

DSK case needs a heroic victim

This article (link below) by a woman who is a law professor and former prosecutor of sex crimes is very good, in my opinion. We should be bending every hope toward the young West African chambermaid who testifies that she was violently assaulted by the former head of the International Monetary Fund. Powerful lawyers are already preparing the defense, and the presence of apparently incontrovertible DNA evidence will make it necessary to go for the traditional excuse that "she asked for it."

As this article makes clear, not only will this hitherto unknown woman in a thankless job have to endure repeated attacks on her character and truthfulness, but she will also have to withstand offers of a payoff from very persuasive and very overbearing people.

Two experienced, high-level women prosecutors have been called in to work on the case, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and Ann P. Prunty. This is encouraging, since the defense has already hired a firm (with the unlikely name of Guidepost Solutions) to dig up as much dirt on the maid as they can.

Most people are not willing to expend the effort of imagination required to understand what this woman has gone through and, even more important, what she will have to go through. Some will say that she should be glad to get a large sum of money. Her own family may be urging her to settle. But this could turn out to be a historic, game-changing case. The fate of millions of voiceless women around the world hangs in the balance. I will be praying every day for her to be strong.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good Friday People

A friend writes this on his blog (it's out of season, but still true)

Gordon Lightfoot had a song about "Rainy Day People." It was built on the premise that those who have lived through rainy days know how to endure the hard times better than those who have only had sunny days. Rainy day people always know when it is time to call. The rainy day people don't give advice, they just listen to the pain. Rainy day people just pass love along.

Garrison Keillor on his radio show had the same idea about Good Friday people. He suggested that those who stayed with the Holy Week services and showed up at the Good Friday services were the real deal. They were the ones who know their own sinfulness and did not try to hide it. They were the ones who were able to look death and suffering in the eye and not run away. The Good Friday people were the ones who did not turn away from the Cross. They were the hard core sinners who know what it means to be forgiven and accepted.

Keillor suggested that they ought to be the ones we seek out and make friends with because when life throws us a curve and we get knocked down, when we suddenly do something evil, we hit somebody with the car, or we yield to a temptation of the flesh, or we see an easy couple of hundred thousand dollars by walking on the wrong side of justice, and we get caught it will be the Good Friday people who will not abandon us.

….The Easter people are all nice and good people, but when they come close to scandal, sin, embarrassment, evil, they throw up their hands and refuse to have any part of it….. The good people on Easter are nice and proper. The people you need to have as friends when we get down to dealing with real sin and real evil are the Good Friday people. They do not pretend to be better. They do not condemn the sinner. They do not run from the pain of broken dreams and twisted relationships. They have seen the worst that humanity can do to goodness. They understand what part they have had in that, and they know that it is not the end of the story.

The Easter People are not ready for the heavy load of the cross. They are only interested at the moment in the good and happy story. Ah, but Good Friday people know there is no Easter joy without the Good Friday darkness. Keillor said maybe it was too late for you to find them this year but make sure you introduce yourself to some of them next year...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The power of nonviolence

I am very well read in the subject of the civil rights movement, but here is a moving and impressive story that I have never heard before. It is by Bernard Lafayette, one of the lesser-known but nevertheless intrepid colleagues of Dr. King. He was arrested 27 times, and sometimes beaten. Here is the link:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Army Chaplain bears witness

I have a lot of respect for the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and Reformed Church in America (RCA). Spending time at Calvin College (CRC), Hope College (RCA), and Western Theological Seminary (RCA) has confirmed my positive views. A friend from the CRC in Canada has just sent me a link to an Army chaplain's reflections on the death of Osama bin Laden. He describes the chaplain as "battle-scarred and gospel-saturated." Here is the link:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Flight 93 and its memorial park

I never thought I would recommend anything written by Karl Rove, but his op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal is quite good. It's about the memorial and National Park planned for the crash site of Flight 93. It moved me to make a contribution. The website is

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The culture of narcissism

For a sermon about the important things of life, here is a very sad story about a seriously confused, misguided 24-year-old having major cosmetic surgery. With the help of her "friend," she got through her "fear" and now, viewing herself in the mirror, says, "Wow, you're so sexy. I want you, girl." Wanting oneself; it's the distillation of narcissism. Who's to blame here? Not this pitiable girl, that's for sure. This is what an unmoored, relentlessly self-seeking culture can produce.

Here's the link: