Robin Rinaldi is a magazine journalist living in San Francisco. After her husband refused to have children, she embarked on what she calls “The Wild Oats Project.” She spent a year sleeping with “roughly a dozen friends and strangers” and joined a sex commune, all from Monday to Friday, then rejoined her husband on weekends.
Now she’s written a book telling her story. At its end, she realizes that she committed “sins against my husband” and “was the one who needed to ask forgiveness.”
Transparency sells, especially if it’s about subjects we want to know more about. Exhibit A is the Hillary Clinton e-mail uproar. As Nick Pitts notes, we want to protect our personal privacy while requiring transparency of others, especially celebrities and leaders.
Columnist Matt Bai points to the culture when the Clintons came of age politically. As Southern Democrats in a region fast turning conservative and Republican, they learned to stage their careers and marriage to match the times, while jealously guarding their personal lives. In today’s 24-7 media circus, such bifurcation is virtually impossible to maintain. And even harder for leaders to defend.
For Exhibit B, consider Warren Buffett. This week, the famous investor looked over the 50 years he has led Berkshire Hathaway, one of the world’s most successful ventures. Rather than highlighting his many successes, he chose to dredge up 50 years of mistakes.
One example is holding onto a company’s shares after problems with the business began surfacing. “You see a cockroach in your kitchen; as the days go by, you meet his relatives,” he notes. To explain his mistakes, Buffett points to his own “thumb-sucking,” “childish behavior,” and the times “I simply was wrong.” One might think such admissions would undermine our confidence in his abilities. But when you learn of his transparent honesty, don’t you trust his character and competence even more?
My wife and I saw The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel this week. The cast, led by the hilarious Maggie Smith and brilliant Judi Dench, is fantastic. The dialogue is sometimes comical, at other times poignant. But the plot of the movie is its most enduring attribute: transparency wins. Authenticity pays. When characters finally admit who they really are and what they really want, marriages work and relationships grow.
Christians shouldn’t need Hollywood to teach us that lesson. Scripture is plain: “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another” (Leviticus 19:11); “Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody” (Romans 12:17); “We are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men” (2 Corinthians 8:21).
George Macdonald: “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” (Tweet this) Who will compliment you today?