Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: The Buck Stops Here
By Allison Egley
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"Buck, I'm not quite sure how to say this, but I don't think you'll get the vote. In fact, I'd be very surprised if you did."
"Why? I'd be perfect for the job. I've been at the church longer than anyone else on the Board. I've seen all the changes, good and bad, and I think I have good ideas."
"It's your job, Honey. Casino owner and operator isn't exactly on the list of highly respected jobs in Christian circles."
"But my job is separate from the rest of my life. It's just how I earn a living. It's not like <i>I</i> actually gamble. You know me, Hun."
"I'm not the one you have to convince. It's the congregation."
A month later, Buck attended the annual congregational meeting. The current Chairman of the Board of Elders addressed the congregation. "The following members have been nominated for the Board of Elders: Brian Hays, Terry Jamison, and Buck Martin." Since there are three spots to fill and three nominees, if there are no objections, I'd like to propose we accept all three nominees as stands."
Buck nudged his wife. "See? I told you there wouldn't be any problems."
From the back of the sanctuary, Herbert Perkins cleared his throat. "I'd like discussion on the nomination of Buck Martin. I'm not sure he portrays the image we want for our church."
Buck sank down in his seat and groaned. "On no. Not Old 'Holy Herbert.'"
Another member of the congregation agreed. "He owns a casino. We don't want people to think we promote that type of activity."
The chairman sought out Buck. "Buck, would you like to defend these allegations?"
Buck stood up. "I assure you, my work is separate from my home life and church life. It's just what I do for a living. I mean, we all have to make a living somehow, right? Are there any professions that are without their faults?"
"True," began a younger woman, "But your profession indicates that you not only approve of gambling, but promote it. If you lead others to gamble, how can we trust you to make wise decisions for the church?"
Buck protested. "I don't lead others to gamble. It's their choice. I don't tell them to come to the casino. In fact, I encourage people <i>not</i> to come if I know they have a problem. Besides, if they didn't do it at my casino, they'd just go somewhere else. At least when they come to mine, they know they will be treated fairly."
"I do see your points," protested another member, "but certainly being around people like that all day affects you. And I've seen some of the people you've hired. They are out carousing the bars and smoking in the back alleys. That's hardly an image any of us want to promote."
"As I've said earlier, my work and my home and church life are separate. I don't hang out with these people outside of the professional context."
"And don't you serve alcohol at your casino?"
"Yes, but I always cut people off when they've had enough, and I call cabs if I don't think they can drive home safely. Look, I've defended myself the best I can. If you can't separate my career from my personal life, then that's your loss. I'm done answering questions."
The Chairman got up once again.
"Given the controversy surrounding this matter, I'd like to ask you and your wife to step out of the room while we take the vote, Buck."
"The votes have been tallied. I would like to extend the call for the Board of Elders to Brian Hays and Terry Jamison. The third spot will remain vacant until we can find a suitable candidate. This meeting is now adjourned."
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