DATE: 4/16/2004 09:55:00 AM
Heath Returns - Here's a story I missed commenting on while the site was down. Michael Heath has returned to work after being grounded by the Maine Christian Civic League's Board of Directors. If his comments in the news story are any indication of his mindset, then he's learned nothing.
"I need to learn to count to 10, especially after a success like the marriage rally. I need to be careful not to become headstrong and push too hard and come up with ideas that ought not to be ideas at all."Recently, I read the book "In But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition and the Desire to Influence the World" by Hugh Hewitt. It's a book I wish had been written ten years ago - the advice in it for believers who want to make a difference in their world is both wise and realistic - something not always true of Christian books.
In the book, Hewitt encourages believers to "mark and continually review the limits you will not trespass." This is not something Heath has done, and it has hurt both his witness and his effectiveness. Some of the damage Heath did to himself and the Christian Civic League may be irreparable. His relationships with legislators may never fully heal, all because he never told himself one simple word - 'wait.' Heath has set the most dangerous of constraints for his ideas - what will work and not offend, instead of what is right.
Heath has also not realized the importance of accountability, of the need for a strong relationship with another believer who can preview his communications with the outside world and act as a check on his more impulsive actions. In his statement to the Bangor Daily News, Heath uses dangerous phrases - "I need to learn...I need to be careful..." No acknowledgement of his need for another is present. If Heath depends too much on his own ability to learn or be careful, he will fail again. Not because he's a bad person, but because he's a person. We all become blind to our own faults and weaknesses, and that inclination can lead to sometimes serious problems.
Michael Heath is a good man, with honorable intentions, doing a thankless job in an unforgiving environment. Asking him to be faultless is not fair. Asking him to take steps so that he is as faultless as possible, though, should be the responsibility of every Christian in Heath's life.