The year of … what?

With my mind in neutral this morning it is hard to be analytical. Yet this is the time to reflect on the past year — and, in this case, the closing decade.

Having watched more TV and read more news than usual during the holidays, it seems that about all one could say about 2009 or the first decade of the new millennium has been said. Well, almost.

I would declare Christmas 2009 to the Year of Snuggie. My daughters — with Zebra print for one and Buzz, the Georgia Tech mascot, for the other — and most of their friends are wrapped up in their sleeved blankets now.


Assuming adults got in on the crave, we can expect to see more monk-like fans in football stands next fall.

Speaking of football, the end of this year and decade could also be known as the time when college coaches went crazy.

One announced a life-changing career decision that was reversed the next day after a “spirited practice.” Another winning coach is canned just shy of a big payout — charged with putting a well-connected player in isolation and being insubordinate.


Obviously the collegiate game has become quite the pressure cooker. But I miss the old days when scores from other games actually moved across the bottom of the screen during bowl season rather than constantly revised coaching sagas.

Considering the bigger picture, as I’ve said, there has been plenty of analysis as the year and decade come to an end. However, the insight I’ll take with me came from Jon Meacham, the Chattanooga native who serves as editor of Newsweek.

In a discussion on MSNBC about the failure of partisan politics (on both sides) to serve our nation well, Meacham called for a new approach to leadership that balances “necessary humility and necessary confidence.”


As one who values and embraces the cherished ground between extremes, I like this analysis and consider it applicable to leadership beyond the political realm.

Concerning humility, Meacham said, leaders “can’t act like we have all the answers.” Yet he noted the important difference between humility and timidity. That’s where confidence comes in.

A brighter future in national politics, the church and many other segments of society may well rest in emerging leadership that is humble enough to know they do not possess all the answers and confidence enough to believe that charting a better course is possible.

3 Comments

  1. I was gonna sit it out then surfed over to Religiondispatches.org where I once got fame when Randall Balmer recognized the "agency" of Stephen Fox.
    RD is considering similar territory as you and Meacham.

    Relgious Studies Gone Public is the rubric of the decade according to the article; in which the train has left the station and all discussion in the public square on religion starts with pluralism and goes from there.

    Babs Taylor who you will see in Feb is having similar thoughts in her Altar of Geography; but I take some comfort in her experience and celebration of the Jesus of Encounter.

    So with that for whatever time I have left I am somewhere in the land of Negative Capability, trying to hold onto the Paradoz, while knowing in my heart like Marshall Frady came to know that I cannot be what I am not.
    Marney said a similar thing best I remember.
    So I got saved at Truett Memorial in 59 in Hayesville, voted off the property at Momma's church in Collinsville May 28, 2006 by some half cocked congregational members who don't know much about grace and integrity of process.
    I made some mistakes as well; but not off the property mistake, mistakes of tone in presentation.
    So experience intersects the literature and on occasion there is some sense in the insight of Ron Rash and Judsom Mitcham.

    For the record I think Meacham is traveling by his best lights, but he could still use a Renaissance week with Noll, Balmer, Marsh, Charles Pickering and ADrian Rogers son DAvid who I am convinced in his best lights is trying to make sense of it all as well.
    Let Holly Hollman and Melissa Rogers weigh in as well.
    Google the article at RD and Happy New Year to you and all who consider this exchange

  2. The Review of Marilynne Robinson's books in the Fall 2008 issue of the Claremont Review is a must read.
    Go to Macon Barnes and Noble tomorrow before it gets taken off the shelf cause it is not online, though the have a website.
    Would be great to have a discussion conflating this review and some of the territory in my first comment and your Meacham thoughts; excellent and glorious fodder for some great articles in Baps Today in the coming year.
    Read it this afternoon and was moved to testify

  3. Do not forget, this was also the year of celeb deaths 🙁 (MJ, Billy Mays, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze)

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