Many, many years ago we had a friend who was thinking about moving into our community but she had known us from our work, where we were more guarded...on our "best behavior," you could say. As she got to know us better and more personally, she decided she did not want to move into community with us and it made her very sad. Her comment to us was, “I learned my gods had feet of clay.”
Whoa! When did we ever set ourselves up on a god pedestal?
In the 1960s, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI put Martin Luther King, Jr. under surveillance for "national security" reasons and later anonymously sent him a threatening letter, urging him to commit suicide or they would release information about his extramarital affairs to the press. They tried selling this information to the press, but the story went nowhere -- the press was not interested and the FBI was unable to damage King's public image.
It's hard to imagine that scenario today. It
is almost impossible in today’s society to be private. With
instantaneous communication, it's almost impossible to avoid mistakes.
Now, with social media, there is always some dirt somewhere to dig up on everyone.
How can we trust those who call on us to be better people when they themselves have dirt in their background?
This is something I fear. We as a world -- as corrupt, self-centered societies -- need the Martin Luther King, Jrs., the Dorothy Days, the Ghandis, the Joan of Arcs, the Oscar Romeros, the Nelson Mandelas…we need people who, though they are flawed, are brave enough to make us look at what we are becoming.
We need to not let the “powers that be” tear down those who call us to be better. Those powers know that is a great way to sidetrack an important conversation or derail a movement. We need to be more forgiving, and not so hesitant to heed the call and to make changes.
We need to acknowledge that sometimes “my gods have feet of clay” is a great excuse to stay on the sidelines.