Any halfway decent sailor can handle a boat on calm waters. The measure of leaders is how they handle crises, surprises, tragedies, storms, failures, and bad behavior by other leaders.

By this measure, state authorities in Pennsylvania ought to clean house at their flagship university. From Penn State’s fabled football coach to its president to its board of trustees, they should be relieved of duty immediately. The blind eye they have turned to the sex-predator crisis in their midst seems to verge on the criminal, certainly qualifies as immoral, and is a terrible example for students.

Protecting a big-money football program isn’t that important. Doing “the next right thing,” as Anne Lamott put it, is what matters.

Much remains to be done in courts of law. But in this crisis of trust and judgment, those who should be moral exemplars are covering their flanks.

We all make mistakes. I know I have missed the mark many times. But the thought of living in a world where mistakes are no loinger deemed mistakes, wrong isn’t wrong, sin isn’t sin, and consequences only happen to suckers, is a terrifying thought.


Q: Is Christianity as practiced today a valid model for living life or a front to accomplish other means, such as wealth, power, or self satisfaction?

A: It all depends on who is doing the practicing. For some people, Christianity is indeed a model for living a decent and holy life. They were lost and now are found. They were blind and now see. They were self-serving and now sacrifice for others. For some people, Christianity is a bragging right, which proves their superiority. For some, Christianity is a means to wealth and power.

There is no single “practice” that one could call “Christianity.” It’s a broad tent, and includes as many scoundrels as saints. Rather than ask what a global construct called “Christianity” is doing, you should examine what individuals who call themselves “Christians” are doing. Then, rather than project from one to the many, ask yourself what your practice of the faith is.