Seven Dirty Words

My excellent first publisher, Westbow Press, has a list of words which it does not allow.  Remember George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words”?  Well, those words are disallowed by Westbow, along with a raft of others, and even descriptions which intimate the salacious.  That was fine for my first book, “Five Proofs of Christianity” (Westbow, 2016) but not for a candid book about local politics.  It will soon be here, “Politics, Faith, Love:  A Judge’s Notes on Things That Matter.”

You will see why when the book comes out.  Enjoy!


The future for 5 kinds of cases

I believe there are five factors which can tell you whether a case can be settled by mediation (or by good attorneys in pretrial negotiations).  Let us imagine a simple case of only two parties. In cases with more than two parties, of course, the difficulties mitigating against settlement compound not arithmetically but geometrically.  But with two parties only, I believe this is the situation:

  • If one of the parties is mean and petty, that is a score of one.  The case can probably be settled by mediation in pretrial negotiations.
  • If one of the parties is mean and greedy for money, the case has a score of two, and can probably be settled, but only with money.  
  • If one party additionally has a firm belief the other side is a truly bad person, the case is a three and can only be settled with money and self-abasement.  
  • If one party is mean, money-greedy, morally superior, and additionally has a “by God . . .” attitude, the case is a four and must be litigated.  It is a mess.

The fifth and last factor is the presence of a combative attorney.  I mean more than a zealous, devoted, and competent attorney.  Hopefully each side has that.  I mean an attorney who fights because of his own personality deficiencies. Who needs to show off, perhaps.  Or who is so insecure he needs to sneer, preen, and triumph.  With this sort of attorney, the case is a five, and only a judge can sort it out.

Businessmen do not litigate

Businessmen do not litigate.  They have better things to do.  They mediate.  They have  businesses to run.  They cannot spend months in trial preparation and then a week or more in the trial itself.  And then possibly more time on post-trial motions and appeals. Not to speak of attorney fees and court costs.  

No.  There are sales to make, contracts to sign, loans to secure.  Litigation is paralysis.

In 2007 (the earliest full year for which data exist) Tennessee concluded 20,051 trials (419 by jury, and 19,632 by judge trial only).  In 2016 Tennessee concluded 15,278 trials (269 by jury and 15,009 by judge trial only).  This means that over this space of ten years resolutions by trial fell off by 4773 cases, or some twenty-four percent.  

The lion’s share of the decline, in my opinion, is due to increased mediation in these ten years.

Christmas: So, what did Mary know?

My favorite Christmas carol has always been “Oh, Holy Night.”   But I just found “Mary, Did You Know?”  sung a cappella by Pentatonix:

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?  (Mark Lowry/Buddy Greene)

You may disagree with me, but I find this an astounding change of perspective.  It is a change from our own all-centeredness from, if you will, consumers of Christ’s coming (“Oh come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant . . .”) to Mary’s view of the event.

 Mary did you know… 
The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great, I Am.

Mary’s point of view.  Yes, she has been through the Annunciation (Luke 1:26) and has spent three months with Elizabeth, who is carrying John the Baptist, but now her own baby boy is here!  The one foretold.  

What is she thinking?  Does she have foreknowledge of what is to come?  And if she does, then she sees the crucifixion already, the baby boy in her arms, nailed and dead.  

It is merciful that the carol does not take us there.  But we think of it, of her wonder, of her joy, and of her coming grief.  

This carol is not a Catholic veneration-of-Mary argument.  It is our song for her, her song, about her foreknowledge perhaps, about her fears perhaps.  About her wonder certainly. 

But definitely it is about our wonder, our grief, our foreknowledge.