Thursday, February 23, 2012

on strange bedfellows having lunch

Cal Thomas and Rachel Maddow having lunch together? Many would never have believed that this could happen. If you haven't read about this, Google Cal's apology to Rachel.

Cal Thomas is an enigma to me. He embraces Christian principles. And yet his tongue can be so sharp. I cannot imagine Jesus talking that way.

But then Cal made an unfair comment about Rachel, and realized it. You must read his apology. It is very Christian, and it led to a luncheon meeting between these two people with opposing viewpoints. I'll bet the meeting will be a success, because these people will discover that you can disagree with someone and still like that person.

Now I share the rest of this story...another luncheon meeting.

This week I had lunch with prominent west Michigan attorney John Smietanka. He was the Prosecutor of Berrien County in the 1970s when Maurice Carter was wrongly convicted. Even though he didn't personally try the case, and claims now that he cannot even remember it, my position was that the buck stops at the top, and I decided that I could not like this person who placed my dear friend in prison.

Then, several years ago, a prisoner insisted that I contact Smietanka because he had tried a wrongful conviction case similar to his, and could offer invaluable advice. I hedged and hedged, but finally agreed to contact the attorney. And the most amazing thing happened. We not only found a lot of common ground, but over the years we became very good friends.

When Smietanka and I had lunch together this week, I had a couple of suggestions that helped him in a wrongful conviction case, and he had some advice for one of our thorny cases that was invaluable. Our lunch lasted two hours.

I have apologied to John several times about my early feelings for him, even though he wasn't even aware of me or my thoughts.

My dad taught me when I was a little boy that apology is an integral part of the Christian walk. That lesson has served me well in my 75 years.

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