Monday, August 12, 2013

Friendly Fire

Life handed me one of those little unexpected conundrums recently, this time in the form of a clear and obvious invitation to remove myself as a member from an organization of which I had been a member for 15 years or so. The ill-conceived timing and method of this revelation was surpassed only by its destructive effects in my life. 

For those reading this and considering the best way to convey distressing and controversial news to someone, let me suggest to you that perhaps the telephone is not an appropriate way to do so.

"Hi. How are you? That's good. Hey, I know you're on the southeast expressway in bumper to bumper traffic after a long day at work but I just wanted to let you know that -- BOOM. Take that. Have a nice day."

But then again, if your goal and intention are to alienate someone and to thrust them away then, well, I guess the telephone is an effective communication medium after all.

I won't go into the details on the situation because, frankly, they're pretty ugly and there is plenty of blame to go around. But I will make a few general remarks here that, should they get back to the appropriate persons, the comments perhaps may be found to be instructive.

Here they are in no particular order:
  1. When someone approaches you for help (or more accurately, when they’ve approached you for help repeatedly over a period of years), in general, they’re probably not coming to you looking to be humiliated, rebuked, or to have their problems exacerbated.
  2. It is generally considered to be in bad form to rebuke a person for problems that you currently have yourself and that you have not corrected.
  3. If and when there does come a time to judge another person, have some idea of whether or not the person in question is actually guilty of something before meting out an arbitrary punishment.
  4. If you do feel the need to hand out punishment, don’t pretend that you’re doing the recipient a favor. Condescension is not one of the Fruit of the Spirit.
  5. When questioned about your glaring hypocrisy, the defense “we are aware of our hypocrisy” really isn’t a much of a defense.
  6. After you’ve spent ten thousand dollars to learn from an independent source that your credibility is in the hole, put the shovel down and stop digging.
  7. If you find yourself among a group of people that is about to take a vote regarding the future of another person, if that other person is neither present nor aware that a such a meeting is being held, and that person is given zero chance to speak for himself, chances are you’re about to do something wrong.
  8. If after such a vote is held, if you voted “yes”, try not to lie and say you voted “no”. It makes you look small and, frankly, it’s a waste of your ten thousand dollars.
  9. The fact a group of men in a leadership position don’t already know these first 8 points is lamentable.
It has often been said that the Christian Army is the only army that shoots its own wounded. I can see why some people think so.