Thursday, June 19, 2014

Listen, my children, and you shall hear...

"sent to speak..."
Jeremiah 26:15

It's a bit of a historic week this week.  Well, it is if you're a bit of a policy wonk, like me.  This is the last week of Jay Carney's stint as White House Press Secretary.  He is President Obama's second, after Robert Gibbs, having taken over the job in 2011.  Next up:  John Earnest.

I first learned what a Press Secretary was when Ronald Reagan was shot, in 1981.  James Brady was injured, along with the president and two others.  Brady was left paralyzed.  I was young when the assassination was attempted, but naturally it was an event I remember well. 

But I really didn't start paying attention to White House Press Secretaries until the late 80s.   Five Presidents, twelve Press Secretaries.  I remember each of them very well, and almost without exception, I either loved them or hated them.  It's a very tricky job, and in my opinion, one that's hard to do well.  Press Secretaries have to make statements and answer questions, being honest and cooperative, but sometimes without saying too much.  And always, everything they say has to be what their boss wants them to say. 

Naturally I don't always know what the Press Secretary knows and what they don't; what they're allowed to say and what they're not.  I judge their abilities mostly on how well they interact with the press, whether they show respect or get snarky too easily.  As far as the information itself, I'm more likely to have issue with the president they are representing.  My opinion there, of course, often falls along party lines. 

It's an important distinction, I think.  If you have issues with the delivery, take it up with the messenger.  If you have issues with the message, your issue is with the one who sent it. 

My thoughts on press secretaries have got me thinking about prophets.  The Bible has such a vast array of prophets, who have been received in every possible way.  Revered or reviled,  heeded or ignored... And the prophets themselves ~ some devoted, some reluctant.  But all of them ~ just the messengers.  The messages came from Him. 

I love that God used all sorts of people to bring His messages to the world.  I love reading their stories, appreciating their personalities, learning from their perseverance, their faithfulness, and even their mistakes.  I love that we know them well enough to have favorites, or to develop an admiration for one style over another.  But the words are the thing.  For in them, we hear Him.

~ "Like the cold of snow in time of harvest
   is a faithful messenger" ~
Proverbs 25:13
Answers to yesterday's quiz:
1 = F
2 = D
3 = E
4 = C
5 = A

1 = Bethlehem
2 = an angel
3 = in the Jordan river
4 = with Scripture
5 = turning water into wine

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