When I drive into my neighborhood, I pass by not one but two cars that have the same exact decal on their windows. It is not some political statement or baseball team, but a simple graphic saying, “He is greater than I.” I have seen this same image on other vehicles, on coffee mugs and last year at the Jiu Jitsu World Championships in Las Vegas I saw it tattooed on the side of a man’s neck.

Settled in the sand. Sun on her shoulder. Sweet quiet wind across the shoreline. Steady and constant whisper of waves running wet fingers up the beach could barely touch her. Laying there, just far enough away from the fondling foam to feel its icy shock on the tips of toes. In and out, water breaking, reaching, falling back into the deep expanse.

Identity theft is a modern crime that can ruin not only a person’s bank account but their life! Simon Bunce of Hampshire, England not only had his credit-card number stolen on-line but was arrested and falsely accused of being a pedophile when his card number was used to buy child pornography. Fortunately, the story has a somewhat happy ending, as Bunce was eventually cleared by the police.

While I really think that the United States of America holds the best possibility for a good life on the globe, I’m afraid we are not impenetrable.  It’s a fine idea and the layout of checks and balances, Bill of Rights, and distribution of power seems just perfect. But, you see, human beings are not good.  So no matter how well we design a government or society, it eventually will fall apart. It’s not because the system isn’t great on paper. It’s because people generally are not only evil, but also not too bright.

The words of our Lord found in the 10th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel are stark and difficult words to hear. They are marked by a raw honesty about the faith, about discipleship, about what it means to be called a Christian. There is a foreboding darkness hanging over Jesus’ words in this section. It is not all sunshine and rainbows or a prosperity preacher’s Pollyanna dreams.

Self-righteousness might be the most devastating disease debilitating mankind today. And it will stop at nothing to protect its host, even putting God on a cross. Jesus addressed it more than any other sin. Because, if a person is self-righteous, that is, doesn’t think she is wrong, she certainly won’t be self-reflective enough to see any other error. Self-righteousness afflicts us all; left and right, atheist or Christian, democrat or republican.

We all look with a wary yet hopeful eye toward the future. We hear about the phased plan for reopening our state, for starting the great engine of our nation’s economy again. Every scheduled press conference gives us the promise of some sort of resolution, a way forward. Now these conferences do not seem to usually play out that way. They are often filled with extremely vague and elusive statements and the way forward, the way out of this crisis, the way back to some sort of normalcy is not very clear. We all want it. We all would be doing a lot better if there was a real plan with real dates with predictable results, but we just cannot seem to get there.