Photography by D. Plasman
When I lie, it doesn’t become news, at least not on the scale of the lies told by an NBC news anchor. I’ve never been fired from a job because of a lie I told. I’ve been “let go” because of shrinking budgets and the need of the organization to take a new direction requiring fresh leadership, but never because of a lie traced back to me.
Recently, I was reading a sermon of mine (one of more than 1,200) preached over 25 years ago. My personal responses: (1) What a long-suffering congregation! This sermon was awful. Full of awfulness! Indeed, some congregations, like Job on the dung heap, are called to endure much. (2) Never has the English language been subject to such shoddy wordsmithing. Really? This was the best I could do? Maybe it was a week when I had to conduct two funerals. I must have had a funeral every day that week to produce a sermon this bad! (3) Oh dear, this is inexcusable: nearly an entire paragraph where I “borrowed” the insights (and, in places, the exact words!) of one of the deep influences on my life, Frederick Buechner. I never gave him credit. Damn it! (4) People get fired for this.
Sensing he would sooner or later get fired for his conflated recollections of taking on enemy fire while flying the skies over Iraq, Brian Williams was forced to accept a six-month leave of absence without pay from his $10 million job of telling the news.
All I can say is that the many sins of mine that fall in the same category (and other categories) are less public.