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Reflections

PASTOR MICHAEL BROOKS: A question of loyalty (column)

Michael J. Brooks - Reflections

Michael J. Brooks

It was a brush with fame, albeit a momentary one.

We attended a denominational convention years ago in Pittsburgh, and my wife and I decided to return through Washington, D.C., for a few days. We took our daughter, who was not quite 4 years old at the time. 

I was climbing the steps at the U.S. Capitol to meet them after parking the car when President Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, David Stockman, came rushing past me with a few companions. They sped away in a waiting limousine, after, I assume, meeting with members of Congress or testifying before a committee.

Stockman is probably best remembered for telling “The Atlantic Monthly” the administration’s budget numbers were unworkable. Many Reaganites thought he’d be fired, but the president instead “took him to the woodshed.” 

In 1986, Stockman wrote about his experiences in a book titled, “The Triumph of Politics -- Why The Reagan Revolution Failed.” I remember reading this volume at the time since I enjoy presidential history (whether I agree with the politics or not).

But Stockman wasn’t the only Reagan appointee to write a negative book. Former Secretary of the Treasury and White House Chief-of-Staff Don Regan wrote “For The Record” in 1988. 

Regan wasted no time snipping at Mrs. Reagan. whom he believed was instrumental in his dismissal. On page one, he revealed that the first lady consulted an astrologer in scheduling events for her husband. 

Later, the astrologer herself, Joan Quigley, wrote “What Does Joan Say?” about her relationship with the president’s wife. Mrs. Reagan admitted she sought Quigley’s help due to recurrent anxieties after the 1981 assassination attempt.

The political world is abuzz with discussions about a new “tell-all” released this week by a former Trump official, but this kind of thing is really nothing new.

Whether books like these demonstrate freedoms under the First Amendment or whether they demonstrate disloyalty, is debated. But loyalty is certainly a spiritual issue.

It was a sobering moment when would-be followers departed after Jesus spoke about the cost of discipleship. He somewhat plaintively said to the 12, “Will you also go away?” (John 6: 67).

Jesus was concerned about genuineness. He was concerned about commitment. He was concerned about loyalty.

 A commitment to Christ is the commitment of one’s life. We used to sing an old hymn: “Arise to dare and do, ring out the watchword true, of loyalty, loyalty, yes, loyalty to Christ.” 

It’s obvious that some come to faith flaming with enthusiasm and later flame-out. The reasons are legion, but no matter the cause, committing less than our best isn’t good enough. Another old hymn promises, “We will be true to thee ‘til death.”

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church's website is siluriabaptist.com.

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