Sunday, August 6, 2017

There's no getting around our fallibility and need for redemption

So another Fox News figure is in hot water over sexual-funny-business allegations. Eric Bolling has been suspended by the network over allegations made in a Huff Post story that he sent unwanted photos of his - or somebody's - fun-pack to at least two women a few years ago.

I have always been a little surprised when these stories have surfaced. Bill O'Reilly didn't come across as a harasser kind of guy, at least in his public persona. His frequent references to his Catholic-school childhood, his disparaging statements about modern popular music, particularly hip-hop ('the tattoo guys"), and his if-I-ever-caught-my-kids-with-dope indications of his approach to fatherhood painted a pretty straight-laced picture. The emphasis, in portrayals of Roger Ailes, had been on his media savvy, his generosity to friends and his Republican political associations prior to the allegations gaining momentum.

But then, consider Andrea Tantaros's claim that her former workplace "operated like a sex-fueled, Playboy-Mansion-like cult steeped in intimidation, indecency and mysogyny."

I had wondered through the years how all those attractive people - and it had always seemed that there must be something deliberate about the especially high concentration of them at FNC - kept their professional demeanors, being in such close proximity of one another on- and off-air. Apparently they weren't actually so good at that.

Fallen creatures that us humans are, it's the realistic thing to do to acknowledge that the potential for shenanigans exist in any organization, which is why most of them, not just in places where cultural, economic and political power are concentrated, such as New York, but throughout the land, have harassment policies. The sexual impulse is so strong that even the church often exudes the scent of scandal.

Still, it stands to reason that temptation and the succumbing thereunto are going to run highest where the people are the hottest.

But Bolling really does come as a surprise. He speaks warmly of his family on air a lot. He just has kind of an all-American optimism about him. I don't care for his full-throated support for Trump, but I have been able to ascribe it to that general gosh-if-we-can-just-get-jobs-numbers-up-the-country's-problems-will-largely-be-solved upbeat attitude that he shares with other emphasizers of the economic level, such as Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow.

One detail that has come to light does appear pretty lame. He says he "can't recall" sending any nasty pics. Now, as I say, he's a big-shot east-coast media figure, so he does send out a flurry of communications via text, email, social media and corporate avenues that dwarfs the volume of most people's exchanges. But I can't imagine any quantity of correspondence that would make one forget whether any of it had included photographs of one's equipment. That's kind of a special category of communication.

And now the law firm conducting the investigation has come up with someone with a story replete with specifics.

Heldman, who has made over 100 guest appearances on Fox News, did not claim to receive any “dick picks,” but she did cite concrete, yet unconfirmed examples of Bolling’s inappropriate behavior:
Bolling referred to me as “Dr. McHottie” on air on four different occasions, and called me “smart, beautiful, and wrong” on air twice. I pushed back with “Mr. McSexist,” but I shouldn’t have had to. This on-air behavior was perfectly acceptable to Fox executives at the time.
Bolling would also contact me via phone and text after shows, sometimes to apologize for his behavior (and then do it again), and sometimes just to talk. He said he wanted to fly me out to New York for in-studio hits and to have “fun.”
So maybe anybody - me, for instance - who registers surprise at this rightly comes in for a little of a "man, are you ever naive" reaction.

Well, then, the episode serves to reinforce the first truism of Calvin's TULIP formula - the total depravity of the human being - doesn't it? It appears to be time to acknowledge that beneath the facades we present to the world lurk pits of slithering serpents emitting a stench that rots the nostrils.

I do know that until fairly recently I bucked - hard - against that one. I was the ultimate embodiment of the "hey-I'm-a-pretty-good-guy-on-balance-so-you-lose-me-with-that-innate-sinfulness-stuff" attitude. And I couched it in a defense along the lines of "how is anyone supposed to do anything constructive with his or her life saddled with a preoccupation like that?"

But I made the conscious decision to look more deeply into the nature of grace. Our Creator does indeed want us to be spotless before him, restored to a true in-His-image-and-likeness state. He wants us to be with him for eternity, in a happy-family-type atmosphere. Given what we inevitably use our free will to become, a way for that kind of relationship to happen had to be found, hence, the cross.

And fully taking that in leads to the most profound gratitude one can experience.

And that is what can serve as the basis for consciously living better than one had been living. You see that lapses into old ways inflict fresh wounds on our Savior.

You start to stand on guard for what 1 Peter 5 warns us about:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
And then, when you look back out to the macro level, when you start to examine the culture in which we live, you see that a better jobs report or GDP or better school test scores isn't going to cure what ails us.

Of course, at some point, probably not too long after I finish this post, I'll probably do something foolish and regrettable for which I'll have to tell God I'm sorry. Hopefully, it will be something fairly small. I am pleased to report that it's been a while since I pulled a really large-scale stunt.

But that's not cause for smugness. I'm just being vigilant, given what I know about the ease with which the Dark Force can, well, devour me.

So I'll say a little prayer for Eric Bolling, a little prayer for America, and a little prayer for me.

It gets better, but not because we perfect ourselves by force of will. It gets better by His grace, and as a result, we do get a little smarter. And then we can expect a brighter future. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.


  1. Stupid is what stupid does to be devoured by the Dark Force. Women do not dig dick picks, so it is a waste.'s annual Singles in America survey, which spoke to 5,675 American singles 18 and over, recently revealed that men are into "sexy texts," but women specifically don't want "sexy texts" or "sexy photos" from guys.

    "I think that a man wants to see a woman's body and a woman may want to see a man in the picture with ... a Rolex watch or a business suit or a pair of cool jeans," said Helen Fisher,'s chief scientific adviser, according to the New York Observer.

  2. So actually, sharing dick pics will largely ensure you remain chaste, so the self=abuse can devour you. What a creation! Not only did some people participate in crucifying our savior some 2000 years ago, we all get to do it now. Can't He get a break? Maybe that is for the Father or the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost gets to fly around like a dove and inspire people. God the Father gets to cause earthquakes and strike by lightening and other means. I guess it is not supposed to make sense.

  3. It makes perfect sense.

    Actually, "Can't he get a break?" figured heavily into my pastor's sermon yesterday.
    The scripture was the fishes and loaves story from Matthew 15. But the pastor reminded us that the story prior to that was about the disciples bringing Jesus the grim news about John the Baptist - his cousin and good friend. The human side of Jesus just wanted to get away by himself and grieve and process the information and pray, but when he got to the far shore, there was the throng again, wanting healing and preaching. Surely he said to himself, "Can't I get a break?" But Messiah that he was, he did his thing. And then fed them.

    There's only one Jesus!

  4. I had a nun attempt reprogramming me in 3rd grade. She would engage me in one on ones in a tiny library, breaking me down with tales of how my misbehavior was hurting Jesus. Jesus, she was hurting me! Glad to help Him out!

  5. There I was, 7 years old, running around with a little tool kit pounding nails into Jesus.