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The title of this blog may seem utterly obvious, but people still miss it. The recent firing of Dallas Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips and Minnesota Vikings Coach Brad Childress are cases in point.

Both men are, by all accounts, decent people and knowledgeable football professionals. But both let their teams get away from them. It didn’t take a genius or a leadership expert to see this. All one needed to do was watch their last three games before the firings. Problems were obvious: players not engaged, dissension on the sidelines, dissension in the locker rooms, dissension in the press room, players quitting on plays, and a look on both coaches’ faces like they didn’t quite know what hit them. It was sad.

Phillips got in over his head and didn’t lead because he couldn’t lead. Childress was a different story. He brought Bret Favre back and then handed the team to him.

Bret Favre, who’s enjoyed a remarkable 20 year All-Pro career, has repeatedly tainted his own legacy in the past two years: whining about and sniping at Green Bay when that team demonstrated enough leadership to know when it was time to move on, fussing with coaches and players on the New York Jets, allegedly sending salacious text messages to a woman working with the Jets, and tearing up the Vikings team whenever things didn’t go his way. Childress should have sat Favre down, sent him packing, or at a minimum had a “Come to Jesus” meeting with him. Apparently he did none of this. In other words, he didn’t lead.

So owners like the Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and the Vikings’ Zygi Wilf had no choice and opted for the best choice when they needed to take dramatic steps to change the direction of their team—they fired the coach. This gets everyone’s attention, quiets a few who wanted this result, and gives hope to others who want to win. It gives the owners a chance to put a leader into the leadership position, even if on an interim basis.

Leaders who don’t lead always get themselves and their organizations in trouble. And we saw that again in the Phillips and Childress stories. Leadership begins with leaders.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


DFW female TSA searching a lot of women, thoroughly, pretty invasive, touching nearly everywhere, fingers inside belts, more”—my Twitter post from last Wednesday.

Later on Facebook, I reposted the tweet and added this comment: “I couldn't believe it when I saw it. Turns out, new Federal law requires this "enhanced body pat,” but in my book it goes beyond necessity and decency. Scanners already reveal all and it's only a matter of time before scan pics show up on the Internet. Got to be a better way than this to promote security.”

The reaction has been interesting. Most responders have agreed or offered some parallel sense of being violated, i.e., that enough is enough and this is enough. Some comments have been supportive of TSA if not the Federal government’s attempts to do what it can to make air travel safe from terrorists or other violent activists.

But public reaction is heating up now that about 300 full-body scanners are operational in 60 U.S. airports, and TSA is apparently planning to install up to 500 by the end of 2010.

The ACLU has called the Advanced Imaging Technology scanners a “virtual strip search.” Let the record show this is the first time in my life I’ve agreed with the ACLU.

In Germany, body-scanner protesters took off most of their clothes and walked through airports to dramatize their feelings. In San Diego, a young man recorded on his cell phone an exchange with TSA agents in which he refused the scanner, was approached for the “enhanced body pat” now required when one refuses the scanner, and said to the agents he’d have them arrested if they touched him inappropriately. Needless to say, he used other language. In any event, he’s now subject to up to $11,000 in fines.

Travelers claim the body pats and scanners are adding more delay to airport entry, treat them like criminals, embarrass them, subject their children to emotional trauma, make them extremely uncomfortable, and a lot more. I have to agree, because I’ve experienced it and seen it.

Meanwhile, the issue has become a national news story. “Anderson Cooper 360” debated the issues on multiple nights, including with guest Kate Hanni of She and her organization believe the scanners violate travelers’ rights.

Facebook features at least two related pages: Boycott Airports With Full Body Scanners, and another one that just shoots the moon to Boycott Flying.

The Boycott Flying page includes this introductory description of its mission: “This is a place for those of us who refuse to be treated like cattle, sheep, slaves or criminals by the TSA. We will not be poked, prodded, groped or nuked with naked scanning machines.”

Activist Brian Sodegren, an anti-body scanner or pro-airline traveler rights’ person (depending upon your point of view), has organized a “National Opt-Out Day,” next Wednesday, November 24, 2010. Sodegren’s website says, “The goal of National Opt-Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change. No naked body scanners, no government-approved groping. We have a right to privacy, and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we’re guilty until proven innocent.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has attempted repeatedly this week to defend the government and TSA’s position in all this, claiming security is paramount and that’s all that matters.

So we have a problem. Terrorists have made us afraid and with good reason. Planes have gone down due to terrorist activity. There are bad guys out there who hate us, so we need security.

On the other hand, people in a free society should not have to subject themselves to any and all techniques—and be quiet about it (Napolitano says “Everyone has to play their part.”) when someone plays the security trump card.

I’ve done a lot of traveling, been through more than my share of airport checkpoints. I’ve had to run the security gauntlet, gone through metal detectors, wind-poof machines, and body scanners. I’ve been wanded and been enhanced body searched.

I remember one security agent in Turkey—I didn’t know whether to thank him for his thorough search or punch him. Needless to say, he was more than friendly.

I was traveling with two international friends in California and an agent at John Wayne Airport in Orange County pulled the lady aside, touched virtually every part of her body in view of everyone and then made her take off her shoes and checked the bottom of her bare feet. For what? I can understand why and how people feel violated.

I think the latest efforts are over the top. I stood in Dallas/Fort Worth airport last week, shocked because I hadn’t seen this before. I’ll get specific. What prompted the DFW tweet was a female TSA agent who pulled aside three women in a row, made them stand arms out in front of everyone, ran her fingers insider their waistbands, ran her hands up their legs and into their private areas, and then did sculpting movements with her hands around and between the ladies’ breasts—this is all in broad daylight in front of the world. The women subjected to this looked embarrassed to say the least.

This should not happen, publicly or otherwise.

I also don’t think the new body scanners are justifiable in a society that values individual dignity and liberty or that they are morally defensible. These machines are a modern application of Superman’s X-ray vision, every teenage boy’s fantasy. They literally see through clothes exposing body parts. And no one really knows what kind of negative physical impact the scanners' radiation is making on people exposed.

The government says these scanner pictures are destroyed and will never move from the machine. Yeah, tell me about it. We hear the same thing re private documents in hospitals, yet we’re periodically treated to confidential information hitting the media. It’s only a matter of time before some celebrity’s body scan picture shows up on the Internet.

I think the public and maybe me too would be more amendable to this latest social experimentation if we actually believed it worked. But security is so inconsistent. One airport requires you to take off your belt, the next one not. One wands every other passenger, the next waves people through like they’re entering church. Sometimes you’re made to remove your bagged liquid bottles, other times not. Supposedly this inconsistency is a planned absence of pattern to confuse would-be terrorists, but I don’t buy it. More likely, it’s a mish-mash of policy applications as only big government is capable of doing.

Please understand: I am decidedly not criticizing TSA agents, at least none other than an occasionally overzealous individual. They are doing their jobs as best they can as they’ve been directed. I’m not saying security measures aren’t important or aren’t ever effective. I am saying that the latest amped-up effort has gone too far.

There’s other technology and other ways creative people can find to resolve this situation, even further enhance security. We just need to find them. Meanwhile, the enhanced body pats and virtual strip-search scanners should be put in mothballs.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


Much has been written about the decline and near decimation of the American black family. It’s not too strong to say the American black family is in crisis to the point of cultural suicide.

This is not to say that there are not many individuals and families who’ve done well, made significant contributions to American culture, produced leaders, or counted many notable achievements in every field of endeavor, including a current President of the United States. But still, the black family and particularly young black males are in serious trouble.

More than one-third of black children live in poverty. Upwards of 70% of black children are born into homes with an absentee father and an unwed mother. Black men are woefully far behind white counterparts in education, which undermines their employment potential. They drop out of school at almost twice the rate of white kids. Black children are three times more likely to live in single-parent households. Black males are imprisoned at a rate six and one-half times greater than white males.

The Black unemployment rate is 89% higher than the white rate (8.7% vs. 16.5%). The high school drop out rate for blacks in some major cities is close to 50%, some up to 75%. Blacks comprise 49% of all homicide victims and 35% of state and federal prisoners. All this simply scratches the surface of a set of social indicators very low and headed lower.

Something has to be done. Yet political leaders on both sides of the partisan aisle and on both ends of the ideological spectrum really don’t have any answers, assuming they pay attention at all.

Education would help, of course, especially in an age when employment depends far more on brains than brawn. But education won’t work if the black family culture remains in shambles. There’re not enough teachers or social workers to assure black children are in school, work hard, and are fed and clothed.

Leadership is gravely needed, and it’s needed most from within the black community. Blacks are going to have to do for themselves because it is eminently apparent others are not going to do for them. Black leaders, civic, business, education, religious, political, need to join voices and efforts and help black families pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Washington, D.C. is not going to do it and neither are state capitals--I'm not discounting how government may be helpful in reducing the impact of racism; I'm just saying there's a lot more to the story and black leaders must lead the charge.

What’s needed more than anything else is a spiritual revival in the black family. Politics, education, government programs, social work, all of these have their place but none can change hearts, value systems, and ultimately cultures.

If the black family is to survive and certainly if more of them are to thrive, a huge spiritual transformation must take place. They need new value systems based on who black individuals are in God’s eyes, not government’s. This can only come from religious, spiritual, and I’d say, Christian sources. Nothing else is going to work on it’s own, not even education, essential though it is.

Finally, another troubling thing about all this: the amount of time and money American churches put into international missions, which is good and appropriate, versus how little time and money is given to reaching and rescuing people across town. The black family needs the Church, red, yellow, black, and white.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


Hunting is an interesting if frequently controversial subject. The reason it’s interesting is that hunting involves some incredible stories of both human and animal heroics. Hunting is controversial because some people do not consider hunting a legitimate human activity, some people engage in good hunting, and some people engage in bad hunting. My focus here is good hunting vs. bad hunting.

By good and bad, I do not mean available game animals vs. lack of game. By good and bad I’m not making reference to the hunter’s skills. By good and bad hunting I mean hunting that respects and conserves the animal and the environment vs. hunting that is simply about killing, destruction, and bragging rights.

Now I assume that even those individuals who oppose all hunting would prefer good hunting to bad hunting as a lesser of evils.

Good hunting is conducted by people who care about animals and their environs. Good hunting does not slaughter without regard for humane methods or conservation. Good hunting is not characterized by litter, reckless fires, or polluted waters. Good hunting takes only the limit considered best for the game population. Good hunting rejects the selfish and sometimes grievous excesses of bad hunting.

While there is no biblical injunction against hunting, God charges human beings with the stewardship of his creation. No sadistic cruelty, no wanton slaughter to the point of near extinction, no poaching, no harvesting of animal parts while the animal is left to rot (like hunting rhinos to near extinction in the superstitious belief a rhinoceros’s horn is an aphrodisiac), no trashing of the environment can be justified by Scripture.

Bad hunting, because it violates God’s trust, makes us less human. Bad hunting is morally bankrupt. Both good and bad hunting reveal the character of the hunter.


"Good And Bad Hunting," #365 from the Making a Difference program. Originally recorded December 17, 2003.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


Some people are born encouragers.  But the rest of us have to learn how to be encouraging to others. In the Bible, the word "encouragement" comes from a military term meaning "to strengthen, harden, or uplift." Encouragement means to meet people where they are and help them along to where they want to be or ought to be.

Usually we think of encouraging people who are "down." Friends who are experiencing some difficulty like financial pressures, interpersonal relationship problems, a mid-life crisis, or maybe family troubles. These kinds of problems are what the Apostle James called "divers temptations."

People need encouragement when they're going through tough times, but people also need encouragement when things are seemingly going very well. If you think not many people call or write when things are going poorly, just think how few call or write when everything appears to be on a roll.

The Book of Acts tells us about Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, who the apostles called "Barnabas," which means "Son of Encouragement." Later we read that Barnabas encouraged the Christians at Antioch, and he's described as "a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith" (Acts 11:24). Later still, when Paul and Barnabas have a disagreement, it's Barnabas who stands by the young Mark, who Paul thought spiritually weak but in whom Barnabas saw some good. Barnabas lived up to his name.

I’d like to develop my Barnabas-skills, and I’d encourage each of you to be a Barnabas. Give someone today what I call the "Barnabas Salute." That can be a call, a note, a pat on the back. You can salute people you know or even people you don't know who are standing for biblical ideals.

Giving people a Barnabas Salute is an encouragement to them. But guess what, it's an encouragement to you too.


"The Barnabas Salute," #109 from the Making a Difference program. Originally recorded April 25, 1994.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at



Recently constructed homes are smaller than their predecessors. In fact, they buck a trend that’s been headed toward bigger-is-better since the 1950s.

The average size home in 1950 was 983 square feet. We’re more than twice that today, even with recent cutbacks.

The median size of a home in 2007 was 2,300 square feet. That’s median, the mid-point. A lot of homes topped 10,000 and in celebrity or other show-homes 20,000 plus square feet is common. This has happened despite the fact that the average size family has steadily declined, and these statistics don’t take into account those families that maintain two, three, and even four homes, cottages, condos, or flats.

While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong, as near as I can tell, with building a large home if you can afford it, people even with means are beginning to scale down their McMansions.

In 2010, the median size home being built has dropped to 2,100 square feet. But given the recession, many builders are now responding to consumer desire for even smaller homes between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet.

Sarah Susanka, the author of The Not So Big House, says even multiple bathrooms are passé. At least for the middle class, it seems that, for now, the day of Big Houses has gone the way of Big Hair.

What I find particularly interesting is the return of the front porch. The larger, “sit-able” front porch and detached, hidden garage are now in demand, as opposed to small front stoops and attached garages with two-car doors dominating the house front. For years I’ve watched and wondered what attracted people to houses with minimal-to-no front yards, huge garage doors, and small walkways around corners to almost hidden front doors. You might as well have put a sign on the front of the house saying, “We’re car people and we don’t really want to connect personally with neighbors.”

A lot of variables are encouraging the new trend to smaller homes with front porches: the recession, energy prices, two-worker families who spend relatively little time at home, reconsideration of what suburbia means if it offers cookie-cutter houses hidden behind fences, a nostalgic yearning for the perceived benefits of small town life, and an emerging desire for a return of human scale, an alternative to life in the urban jungle. If one has to work in the alienating rat race maybe at home one can find some sense of meaning and perspective.

In this postmodern age when everything is up for grabs, people are looking for anything that offers them a sense of stability, solace, and meaning. This is true in religion, the related but less defined search for “spirituality,” the professions, marriage and family.

It’s like we’ve rejected—

--the 50s as naïve,

--the 60s as chaotic free-for-all that turned out not to be free after all,

--the 70s as plastic and incoherent,

--the 80s as greedy,

--the 90s as sensitivity run amok, and

--the new millennial 00s as fear, anxiety, and loss of our confidence in who we once were, loss of our way, and loss of hope.

In the extreme, all that’s left is emotional surrender running to nihilism or denial running to hedonism. That sounds like an exaggeration, but I said “in the extreme.” Not everyone is ready to jump off a bridge or bury themselves in bacchanalia.

Still, certain cultural inclinations are visible and they affect our politics. As a nation we seem to have lost faith in our founding values, we don’t know who we are, we don’t agree on who we want to be, and so we don’t know where we’re going, much less how to get there. Doesn’t matter if it’s Democrats or Republicans, no one seems to be able to articulate a clear and resonant vision for the future.

I know this is a lot to glean from trends toward smaller houses with larger front porches. But rather than become morose I prefer to look for signs of renewal in the human spirit. I'm hoping we're trying to right ourselves, re-centering the bubble in our cultural level.

I like the trend toward smaller houses with larger front porches and detached, somewhat hidden garages. Along the way, I hope we rediscover and recover a lot more worthy small town, uniquely American values.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at