No longer the best policy?

Honesty is not praised much these days. We pay it some lip service, of course, and we tell our children to be honest in their dealings and with their feelings. But many of us would rather have our children be shrewd than honest. We want them to learn how to be suspicious, how to protect themselves, how to ward off fast-talking people and nicely packaged, well-advertised distortions of reality.… We hesitate to praise honesty too much, or to encourage it at the expense of common sense, or expediency or the pressures of practicality and the “real world.” Even experts in interpersonal relations tell us that too much honesty can destroy a relationship. Honesty now looks like a dubious virtue if not an actual vice. It is studied and examined as a stratagem rather than as a hallmark of character.

—Lloyd H. Steffen in

The Christian Century (Apr. 29, 1987)

Through ticket to heaven?

I sometimes wonder whether the church needs new members one-half as much as she needs the old bunch made over. Judging by the way multitudes in the church live, you would think they imagined they had a through ticket to heaven in a Pullman palace car, and had left orders for the porter to wake them up when they head into the yards of the New Jerusalem.

—Billy Sunday in

The Real Billy Sunday

Modern prudery

At present, death and mourning are treated with much the same prudery as the sexual impulses were a century ago.… Today it would seem to be believed, quite sincerely, that sensible, rational men and women can keep their mourning under complete control by strength of will and character, so that it need be given no public expression, and indulged, if at all, in private, as ...

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