Transparency Required!

Back-to-school is looking a bit different this year for many middle and high schoolers. Several schools are now requiring students to pack their textbooks, supplies and personal items in translucent plastic or mesh bookbags. School safety concerns are driving much of this. The thinking is that if the school gear is transparent, it might discourage mischief. I am not sure what impact this is going to have on the issue of mass shootings since some of these offenders come from outside the school population.

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We recently attended an exceptionally large church with several thousand in attendance. As we entered the lobby foyer, I took note that uniformed police officers were strategically positioned throughout that gathering space. I have long advocated that churches should be more vigilant about their vulnerability as soft targets for violence. Back in the day, I encouraged training for our Sunday greeters to include being alert to any suspicious backpacks. We engaged in some intentional profiling and on occasions had certain individuals place their bags in a secure place in the foyer where they could retrieve them after the services.

As we took our seats in the worship center this past Sunday, I noticed that worshippers were carrying a few backpacks or totes of diverse sizes used as diaper bags, purses and light weight containers for preschool and children’s art supplies, etc. Two rows ahead of us, a lady took her seat and propped up a clear bookbag. This was my first church sighting of a translucent style of tote! Initially, I thought, “How trendy! But not very private!” During my morning walk the next day, I was listening to news radio and heard this very subject breaking the local news. Now, I know this trend has a more utilitarian and safety purpose behind it!

Transparency is a good thing! In its essence, it means that we feel comfortable in being who we are meant to be. There is an openness and a sense of being real in transparency. I prefer people who are easy to read and not complicated. These are the kind of friends that are genuine, sincere, and predictably, the same whenever you encounter them. These individuals are easier for me to relate to and work with. Too often those who are not real or transparent will put forth great effort in trying to be someone they are not or to shield the real them from others out of fear they will not find acceptance. I think it is easier to be transparent than to live with pretense!

The Bible connects transparency with truth. John reminds, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” (1 John 1:8). We tend to trust our political leaders, the government, and businesses when we feel that they have nothing to hide and are being real with us. You and I need to work on being as real in our walk with Christ as we can possibly be. Those who watch us, especially our family members and close friends, will appreciate and love us even more when they see humble transparency and caring concern in our lives.

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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