We’d better believe it

Celebrated magazine editor, Tina Brown, observed earlier this month that President Obama’s recent speeches raise more questions than they answer:

It’s a strange paradox for a great wordsmith, but whenever Obama makes an important policy speech these days he leaves everyone totally confused. His first health-care press conference . . . left his hopeful followers utterly baffled about what they were being asked to support.

“Does Obama create confusion on purpose?” she wondered. No. After much consideration she decided . . .

the real reason this gifted communicator has become so bad at communicating is that he doesn’t really believe a word that he is saying (from The Daily Beast, 12/3/09).

We know this phenomenon isn’t limited to politics. In a yet-unpublished manuscript, author Jim Van Yperen observed:

He was silent for many days after the hastily prepared and poorly led funeral. It seemed to Em that minister, friends, and family were saying things about “heaven” and “God’s will” that were far off and out of grasp, something they only partially believed, like reluctant salesmen offering a product they never used themselves.

It’s almost time for resolutions. Here’s a good one we’re sizing up: This year I will actively cultivate belief in the things I claim to believe. After all, nothing adds heft and durability to teaching and mentoring like conviction.