So little time to write, here in the path of the storm

FrancesBelieve me, there are all kinds of things I would like to write about these days on this here blog.

Let me give you an example.

* I have long thought that if you wanted to understand where a man is really coming from, if helps to pay attention to the life and beliefs of his wife and children. President Ronald Reagan leaps to mind, along with his administration’s very mixed track record on moral and cultural issues. With that in mind, I have wanted to pause and write a bit about the performance of the Bush twins the other night. Do you think the religious right folks are chatting that up these days?

Here’s one of the best takes on that disaster, drawn from John Podhoretz at the New York Post. The evening included sublime moments for the political right, and then:

The ridiculous — politically, culturally and sociologically speaking — was the joint address by the Bush twins. In their debut on the political stage, they acted not like the daughters and granddaughters of two presidents, but like aspiring contestants on an MTV Spring Break dating show. I’m surprised they didn’t come out wearing wet T-shirts.

* I could write about that, but there isn’t really time. I could even find a way to link that story to the latest Britney news. It seems that THE WEDDING will be Catholic, not Kabbalah. What will her Southern Baptist parents say?

* I have also wanted to comment on another AP Stylebook issue that is sort of in the news. When a married man is accused of seeking gay sex, why do people say this proves he is gay — instead of bisexual? I mean, even the Kinsey Report said human sexuality is a spectrum of behaviors and, in many cases, not a matter of either-or. Is bisexuality a tougher legal sell these days? Just asking.

* Yes, I could write about that, but there’s just no time at the moment. And what about all of those Contemporary Christian Music stars at the Republican National Convention? The Democrats have real music stars and the Republicans have niche-market stars. Something tells me that this is not a fair fight, in terms of star power. But a born-again Alice Cooper gig sponsored by the Family Research Council would be cool. Don’t you think?

* And then there was that Zell Miller speech, a vivid reminder of life in the Democratic Party before pro-life, culturally conservative politicians were banned from public events. Wasn’t it fascinating that the most overtly religious speech in prime time at the GOP rally was given by a Democrat?

Anyone who wants to remember what the Southern half of the old FDR-Truman coalition used to sound like can read this this Miller quote about W. Bush:

I can identify with someone who has lived that line in “Amazing Grace,” “Was blind, but now I see,” and I like the fact that he’s the same man on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning. … I have knocked on the door of this man’s soul and found someone home, a God-fearing man with a good heart and a spine of tempered steel.

Gosh, so many things to write about these days.

But, you know what, I am really more interested in requesting the prayers of GetReligion readers who are into that kind of thing. The hurricane shutters on our house are almost totally up and we have just made the decision that, unless something changes radically, we are riding the storm out here in West Palm Beach. We are not in the evacuation zone and we live in a post-Andrew house. If you don’t know what that means, I don’t have time to explain it.

And one more thing. Palm Beach Atlantic University, where I teach, is on the canal in downtown. If we take a direct hit and Palm Beach island goes under water, the campus will suddenly be facing the storm surge. This has not happened since 1928 or so and the city is a radically different place now. No one really knows what will happen downtown.

So I may or may not vanish for a few days on the blog.

This morning, I took the “essentials” out of my campus office. It is an interesting thing, trying to choose what goes in one box to take out of the flood zone.

All my academic books are still there on the shelves, covered by plastic trash bags. Then there are the four tall filing cabinets full of notes from 25 years of reporting. They could be ruined. All those manila folders full of notes scribbled in Flair pen — the ink that runs when it gets wet.

I saved things that cannot be replaced, like lecture notes, icons from Greece, a few marked-up books and old video tapes. Oh, that and the large oil painting of Aslan. Further up and further in.

One box. To go. It was a sobering process. And not a bad thing to have to do, every now and then.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • greekgeek


    Your favorite former student wishes you and yours all the best during the impending storm. Much love and many prayers. Hope the forces of nature don’t keep you off the blog too long. Your voice is much needed. My concern finally made me venture in.


  • Bunnie Diehl

    Prayers ascend, Mr. Mattingly.

  • Lynn

    Gainesville, Florida, is gearing up for Frances..first time I’ve seen a Gator football game (first of the season) postponed!

    Let’s pray it misses Florida (and everywhere else) and goes out to sea.

  • Jeff the Baptist

    Oil painting of Aslan? Hmm wish I could get me one of those now that you mention it.

  • Lee

    Terry, may St. Michael the Archangel defend you and yours in the coming days.


  • Mark Byron

    Hang in there, or batten down the hatches and head west, then hang in there. I used to teach in Melbourne at Warner Southern’s branch campus and am in prayer for some of my ex-students, as well as a lot of Lakeland-Lake Wales friends who got schmucked by Charlie and could get it again from Francis.

    On the gay-bisexual issue, the lines tend to be blurred, as both Schrock and McGreevey seen to fit the latter description. It might be that the word gay is morphing to include both homosexual and bisexual men, as new father McGreevey applied the term to himself. I caught some resistance from readers in using bisexual for McGreevey, even though it seems to fit.

  • Harris

    “Wasn’t it fascinating that the most overtly religious speech in prime time at the GOP rally was given by a Democrat?”

    Even more fascinating was the absence of most religious language in the speeches at the Republican convention — this in contrast to the repeated religious allusions for the Dems. Perhaps it is assumed among the GOP, but it gave the impression that religion was confined to the Social Conservative ghetto.

    Oh, and Terry? Keep dry.

  • Karen B.

    Terry, my brother is in WPB. My house and many friends (my church family) in Boca. So, I’ve been praying MUCH for those in S. FL. May God keep you and your family safe. If you’re interested, I found a good Lutheran prayer liturgy for those facing hurricanes and posted in on the Anglican “Lent & Beyond” prayer site I help run. Here’s the link:

  • Rebecca

    I am praying. Take care and stay dry.