Follow Me



Follow me.

That’s what Jesus said. Those who believed in Him did.  Those without faith, didn’t.  Faith and obedience go together.  When one falls, both fail.  In the heat of battle, a young lieutenant tells his platoon to “follow him.”  Everything rises and falls on leadership.  Soldiers have been known to “frag” a leader who was incompetent. They considered him more dangerous than the enemy.  On the other hand, they would follow a good leader they trusted into hell.

It would be nice to know that our leaders knew what they were doing, whether they were responding to a disaster like Katrina, sending soldiers into battle, or leading an assembly.  A junior officer has to know how to read a compass and a map.

Sometimes a long column would stop as we trekked through the jungle or forest in Vietnam.  Someone gave an order, we obeyed. The “grunt” on the ground just did what he was told.  We were ordered to “sweep” a village at daybreak.  Another squad would “flush” it from the opposite direction.  We would engage any “enemy” who was flushed from the thatched huts like quail rushing from the thicket.  Through some miscommunication we nearly killed each other.

I photographed McNamara, Westmorland, and President Johnson.  The architects and those who held high and powerful positions would later write books  like “In Retrospect” explaining their “errors” and miscalculations. Many did not get to come home to write books or chair political science departments in academia.  Some,  who did not go, ran for high political office and did well instead. Isn’t Vietnam a trading partner now? 

I figured out long ago that, not only are men sinful, most of the time they don’t know “what in the world they are doing.”  That’s why I decided to follow Jesus. I don’t lose sleep over who’s in and who’s not in office. 

We are not supposed to “frag” the preacher, the elders, or our elected officials.  At the same time, those who are fighting to spread democracy might do well to remember what democracy means.  It might mean the majority wants us to “go home” or “stay home.”  It might also mean the majority wants Barabbas to go free and Christ to be crucified. For me, leadership is about faith and obedience.  Both can be misplaced and misspent. I choose to follow Jesus. That’s personal.  So is who I vote for.  If those in charge ask for our help in reading a “drop chart,” I have only one suggestion.  Just make very sure that the noose is not around our own neck.           -id