At Least I’m Not Milquetoast (?)

I was reading the New York Times online today and clicked on an article titled:  “The Virtues of the Ego Maniac.”   The article was about George Steinbrenner who recently passed away.  One of the articles authors, David Brooks, wrote:  “His employees lived in fear of him. He hired and fired managers as if they were pieces of meat. He was shameless about buying championships. He was the personification of the tough, obnoxious, imperious, hyper-demanding, win-at-all-costs business owner.”  Harvey Greene, the former Yankees PR director was quoted as saying: “The phone would ring in the middle of the night and you knew it was either Mr. Steinbrenner or a death in the family. After a while you started to root for a death in the family.” 

Now I understand that Mr. Steinbrenner was a philanthropist and did a lot of good and it is not my intention to smear the memory of a man I’ve never met.  I was simply surprised by the way the opinion piece spun Mr. Steinbrenner’s actions.  Did his past behavior make him a shameful individual?  Cast him as a person we should not emulate?  No.  Not completely anyway.  Because, according to this columnist, his “competitiveness is so fascinating to watch.”  And because he was, at least, not a “tepid, non-entity.” 

The other columnist, Gail Collins makes a good observation:  “People like that aren’t heroic because they can’t ever put anybody else first.”  David responds:  “Whatever flaws they suffer from, lack of spirit is not among them.” 

Makes we wonder what this NY Times reporter would think about the Biblical virtue of humility.  Was Mother Theresa a Milquetoast because she served the poor?  Was Jesus, our model for “doing nothing out of selfish conceit,”  mediocre for taking the role of servant?  (Philippians 2:3,7) 

As Christians we are called to be a passionate people.  A people filled with joy and courage.  But we are also called… to put the other guy first… to clothe ourselves in the humiliy of Christ.  Perhaps following the principles of Jesus we might have more said about us one day than:  “at least they weren’t milquetoast.”

One thought on “At Least I’m Not Milquetoast (?)

  1. In the Tennessean today, it was reported how good he had been to Nashville during the time the Sounds were a Yankee farm team. I remember thinking as I read it of a friend who said he went to a funeral of a real Jack*** and the preacher said so many good things, he went up to look in the casket to be sure he was at the right funeral. It always amazes me how things change when someone dies. Like you, I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, but from all I could see publicly, the man was an egomaniacal tyrant. I do believe he had redeeming qualities but come on, enough of the sainthood already. Good article, Pastor Presnell!


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