President Obama refused the ice bucket challenge.
Others refuse for all kinds of reasons. There are moral ones due to the types of stem cell research done particular ALS groups.
Then there are just ones where they don’t like to be “shamed.”
Personally, I think the president refused the challenge because it would mess up his golf swing… ;)
I took the ALS challenge because my oldest son challenged me. I don’t always get into those kinds of games. You know the Facebook gag where someone posts something and you “like” it or comment and then they message you and say you’ve been “tagged” to write something embarrassing on your wall? Yeah. Not gonna do that.
Doing the challenge or not doing the challenge should be up to each person without any shame whatsoever. But we seem to like this shame thing… which is completely ironic since for decades we have worked to get “shame” out of our cultural process!
Perhaps you heard about the Starbucks in Florida where they had a “pay it forward” kind of thing going on for over ten hours. Someone paid for the car behind them and it set off a chain where the barista would say, “The car in front of you paid for your drink, would you like to pay for the vehicle behind you?”
Of course, when this goes on for a huge amount of time, it only means that the person who finally breaks the chain will be hunted down and… shamed for being a Scrooge. Robert Reich, former cabinet member under Bill Clinton, even posted about the guy who broke the chain was probably a Republican. Let’s just pile on!
I took the challenge for several reasons. First of all, ALS is known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” and Lou Gehrig is one of my baseball heroes. Second, when I was getting into ministry I served as a part time hospice chaplain and a couple of patients I visited suffered from ALS and I have those images burned into my consciousness. Third, when we have the opportunity to give a big push that just might finally make a difference in research, I think we just need to say, “Oh, WHY NOT?”
PLUS, I didn’t give just to ALS. I gave to a church in Liberia who is in the middle of the Ebola crisis.
And the ones I invited to take the challenge haven’t responded and I don’t care. The challenge was a hoot, I had a lot of fun, and if people take me up on it, great. If they don’t, great. No shame. Let’s just have some fun and see if we can charge harder into a tough project. It just happens to be ALS. There are so many other causes. Charge in and see what you can do!
Dump ice. Don’t dump ice. Give to ALS. Give to MS research. GIve to lung cancer research. JUST GIVE. I won’t tell you to NOT give… you need to learn generosity and that is GOOD thing. No shame in it at all.
I honestly don’t care if the president refuses or President Bush took the plunge. We create political statements out of any action and THAT is the shame.
Let’s learn to be generous, invite others into the process, and see where it may lead.