Friday, May 9, 2014

The Muckraker in Me…..

Most of us are familiar with John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory of Christian, an everyman (and everywoman) character who journeys from his hometown to the Celestial City.   Along the way he meets many fascinating individuals, including Muckraker.

Once in a speech, President Theodore Roosevelt likened the muckrakers (certain types of journalists) of his day with the man with the Muck-rake in Bunyan’s story.  He described him as, “the Man with the Muck-rake, the man who could look no way but downward, with the muck-rake in his hand; who was offered a celestial crown for his muck-rake, but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.” 

It all seems so silly. Who in their right mind would spend their lives with a muck-rake when they could exchange it for a celestial crown?     Why would anyone want to spend all of their time looking down when if they simply looked up, they could see they were being offered something far more precious and wonderful?    Why do we often settle for muck-rakes when there is a free give-away of celestial crowns!  
I wonder if it has something to do with habits.   Habits are life forming.  And that’s what is so sad about the Muckraker.  Looking down became such a habit with him that he missed the best of what life can offer by never looking up.
Have you ever met folks who habitually see the worse, while others you meet in life always see the good?    Do we do the same?  Do we see the mess on the ground and miss the rainbow in the sky?  Why is this so?  Do our habits create our destiny? 
Perhaps Paul understood this when he wrote,  “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4) 
His advice for us is sound.  We should cultivate the discipline of focusing on better things.  In other words, we should look up.  We should form the habit of looking for the good.   Because if we start thinking and looking for the good, there is a sure chance we will find it.
 Is there anyone out there who wants to join me and cash in their muck-rake for a crown?



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