Men Behaving ….

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After watching the video of Will Smith smacking Chris Rock after the comedian told a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, how would you complete the line: Men Behaving _________?

Some commend Will Smith for “protecting his wife,” calling what he did, “beautiful,” “manly.”

Some criticize Will Smith for “toxic masculinity.”

Some commend Chris Rock for showing restraint and maturity for not smacking back and for not pressing charges (at least not yet).  

Some criticize Chris Rock for bad taste in joking about someone’s health.  

What do you think?  What adverb would you use to complete the sentence? 

I think I’ll go with the title of the British sitcom – “Men Behaving Badly.”

And I think it applies to both men. 

I’m not saying they are bad men – just that their behavior was bad.  

Maybe both men need to take a step back for a little re-evaluation. 

Chris Rock:  I’ve always cringed at jokes that target health issues of people.  I just don’t see Jesus doing that.  Or maybe it was because I received my share of “teasing” as a kid for my speech impediment.  

Will Smith: Well, what he did was assault.  I wonder if we have fallen asleep to basic standards of human decency and civility.  Our leaders have been openly cruel and mean and in so doing have given us permission to be and do the same.  This is where we are. 

In his speech after receiving the Oscar for actor for his role in “King Richard” (Loved that movie!), Will said, “I’m being called on in my life, to love people and to protect people.” And then he said this: “Love will make you do crazy things.”  

Will Smith, Nope.  Just ask a victim of abuse whose abuser uses that same line.  

We all can do better.  And hopefully, when we know better, we will do better (Thank you, Maya Angelou).

Yes, We Will All Die.

I have a funeral today, Wednesday, March 2, 2022 – Ash Wednesday.  This will be the third funeral I’ve conducted this week.  

I face death regularly.  It’s part of the job.  Some humorist has said that the job of the pastor is to “Marry and Bury.” It’s a life of dealing with the “wed and the dead.”

Ash Wednesday is a reminder of death. The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are meant to represent dust.  When receiving ashes on their foreheads, they hear the words, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).  

Thanks, but no thanks, for the reminder.  We don’t like to be reminded of, to think about, death.  So we say just about anything to avoid saying the d-word:

  • Kicked the bucket
  • Six feet under
  • Bought the farm
  • Pushing up daisies
  • Passed away
  • Restin in peace

I get it.  Death is hard to face.  So to help us face it, we actually wear the reminder on our face. 

And that reminder is a good thing. Knowing that I will die motivates me to live a fuller life.  

After a funeral, I’m typically:

  • more “alive” – more aware of the beauty of all around me and its fragility.
  • more grateful
  • kinder
  • more affectionate
  • more loving
  • more here, now. 

My senses are sharpened.  Living with an awareness of death can make my living more loving. 

We don’t like to face death because we fear the loss brought by death. Yes, there is loss, but there is also gain.  “To die is to gain” (Philippians 1:21), Paul reminds us. It’s a trade. And it’s a trade up. 

So, I’m off to this funeral.  And I will return to a fuller life.