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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Trump as Everyman

Today Marvin Sweat's memorial service takes place late morning at First UMC, Saint Petersburg.  He was a man who was there for anyone's sorry and joys--be they stranger or long-time friend.  I was honored to share his presence, so briefly as the Lord Ordained.  Love you Marvin.  I must now pin this rose upon your lapel.  Remember, God loves the roses; but he loves you even more.


In literature and drama, the term everyman has come to mean an ordinary individual with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify easily and who is often placed in extraordinary circumstances. (

In fiction, drama, or allegory, the archetypical ordinary individual, frequently the protagonist in a parable of some sort. (Wiktionary).


I have more than once been livid at Donald Trump. Perhaps the real problem is that I see a part of me in him – and indelible part that I detest.

It is sometimes accepted theory that in a democracy we tend to vote for those who far exceed us in excellence and talents.  Like in entertainment (or sports), for example, I do not listen to singers that croak like me, but rather those who sing like a nightingale.  In sports, an NFL team consisting entirely of 73-year-old potbellied and arthritic men would indeed be something to make sport of, but would definitely not be a sport! But isn't it true that often in politics we are drawn to candidates comfortably attuned to our own set imperfections? 

I heard in passing recently on TV that Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon in truth represent two sides of Donald Trump's character.  (My memory, such as it is, requires that I use a little liberty here.) One side focuses inward and passionately yearns to consummate self-interest (really selfish-interest).  This would be Bannon, the zealous nationalist.  Kushner operates from a more inclusive understanding of game theory that incorporates broad cooperation and mutual interest.

I think all those who are honest have no difficulty in recognizing these two characters as permanent residents within ourselves.  I have often observed that as it works out during the Christmas season, I may well buy a gift for you, but I certainly will buy three for me.

If just for a day let us recognize, as mortifying as it may be, that we are greatly akin to our surely Singular President--Everyman Trump. 


Time for Fun and Games
Mathematics Cohabiting with the Golden Rule


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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Core Accountability

Andy Hines.jpg
Andy Hines
I was tremendously blessed to have the acquaintance of Andy Hines – at one time the chief executive officer of Florida Progress, the producer and distributor of electricity for a heavily populated part of Florida. My own personal recollection of Andy included his faithful carrying out of bulging garbage bags after church suppers. It also included his meeting with me at Chattaway's Restaurant for a sandwich during my mental crises. Employees characterize Andy as the man who after severe weather could be found standing on-site amidst storm debris – not barking orders but offering hands-on assistance. Leonard tells me that once he and a fellow employee were assigned to the beaches during a storm. Policy was that only headquarters could approve shutdown of a significant area of the power grid. The storm by the minute was becoming increasingly dangerous, yet the order for shutdown did not come. Finally, Leonard and his friend took matters into their own hands and cut power to a large area. Perhaps this could have been viewed as a firing offense. From one point of view, think of the money saved if seasoned employees were terminated for cause. Yet, Leonard tells me that nothing was said until sometime later he passed Andy in a company hallway.  Andy did not say "Wow it's great you violated policy and procedures!"  Rather, he simply said, you "saved the company [and he named a figure] millions of dollars."

Andy was my Sunday school teacher and it was a privilege and an honor to attend his conversational style lessons.  Once I privately mentioned to him that I admired his humility. He replied that he had a lot to be humble about. A religious man, he knew that he did not occupy God's throne, nor did he monopolize Spiritual guidance. In organizational parlance, Andy minimized micromanagement and maximized accountability. This organizational approach is most in accord with the view that all men are richly gifted and to be held accountable for personal integrity and ultimately to divine directive. 
For a brief bio of Andy see link below:

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