Lying Teachers, Preachers, and Writers

One is astonished in the study of history at the recurrence of the idea that evil must be forgotten, distorted, [and] skimmed over. We must not remember that Daniel Webster got drunk, but only that he was a splendid constitutional lawyer. We must forget that George Washington was a slave owner. . . [We cannot] simply remember the things we regard as creditable and inspiring. The difficulty, of course, with this philosophy is that history loses its value as an incentive and example; it paints perfect man and noble nations, but it does not tell the truth.”  — W.E.B. Dubois

You must be a great reader, if you want to be a great writer. This video is a clip from a lecture of one of my favorite Christian Philosophers, Dallas Willard. He points out that the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the presenter to tell the story accurately, especially if he intends to persuade people. Whether teaching, preaching, writing, or reading, there is an opportunity to seek the truth.


I am currently reading Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James W. Loewen.  The first chapter has forced me to wrestle with an  issue  he calls  heroification.  Initially, I was resistant to what I perceived as an outright attack on my American heritage.  However, after reviewing his sources and delving deeper into the book, I have concluded that he is correct in his assessment that we have a problem that needs addressed.  Our nation and the textbook manufacturers have an agenda, they only share a one-sided version of history.


Loewen does not say all our former leaders were evil and cruel, but he does bring attention to the fact that they suffered human shortcomings, and made some tragic mistakes.  These significant pieces of information are blatantly omitted in most of our textbooks.  Telling an accurate version of history, and acknowledging failures does not undermine any good or noble cause they participated in, but we cannot ignore the importance of NOT sweeping racism, murder, lies, and blatant propaganda under the rug.  The best policy is to tell the truth.


This brings me to my real dilemma.  Just as I have been guilty of buying into false ideas such as, Thomas Jefferson thought, “all men are created equal,” (even though he owned black slaves), I have also been guilty of believing other false ideology.  Ignorance about American history may be indicative of additional areas in which I am equally ignorant, like church history.  Did writers with a less than honest bias, whitewash the historical icons of the church?  It is interesting that after doing a little research, Martin Luther and John Calvin exhibited extreme racism, and murdered people that did not convert to their version of Christianity.   Does the church protect the deeds of pastors and other prominent figures with the same veracity that the textbooks defend the brutal assault, rape, and destruction of the Native American’s?


In his book Pagan Christianity, Frank Viola explores pagan traditions that have been adopted by most groups that identify with the Christian faith.  Some of his facts may shock you.  The same heroification process that most nations have applied to the forefathers seems to be equally active in religious circles.  It paints a pretty picture, but it’s not based on the truth.  Accurate information is available, but not pleasant to share.  Are we perpetuating a lie, when we do not correct this false viewpoint of history?  These are painful discussions, but I believe that it is imperative that those in the academic community make a concentrated effort to avoid following this pattern that promotes falsehood.  Do you think we place the Christian forefathers on a pedestal, just like other empires have throughout written history?  Is it possible that this kind of deception is still going on today?


Why You Should Start 2013 Rockin’ to Van Halen

Life-Stream-blogInvest five minutes into your future by listening to the song, Right Now (Album Version), from Van Halen.  Although, Sammy Hagar brings his A-Game to this cut, and IMHO this could be one of Eddie Van Halen’s best guitar solos, neither will provide you with the inspiration and wisdom found within the lyrics.  Somehow, brilliant philosophy finds its way into music, and bridges the gaps found in our daily lives.


Meditate on this motivational masterpiece, and use it to practice these life-changing tips you can do, Right Now!

1) Listen to Van Halen
2) Eat healthier
3) Stop Smoking
4) Exercise more
5) Lower your stress
6) Drink less alcohol

Scientific statistics show that participating or not participating in one or all of the above activities will increase your quality, and quantity of life. Okay, I admit I don’t have data for the first bullet point, but you get the idea. However, the other five items come from Alan Deutschman’s book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity where he builds a strong case that change is possible, but just knowing “what to do” is not always enough to alter your lifestyle, even when the consequences might be fatal.

We have all heard the famous AA definition about how; one form of insanity is repeating the same actions, while expecting different results. In this context, there is truth to this statement. What is stopping you from taking the next step? Make a difference in your company, family, church, community, or _________, by starting today.  Take baby steps at first, then work your way up to bigger challenges.

One additional resource to begin 2013 with is David Allen’s 2002 book, Change or Die One focal point in this book is to isolate the things you want to do, and determine what steps you need to take to make it reality.

Now, is the magic moment to start with The Man In The Mirror and make a change.


“You’re All Gonna’ Die” Type of Leadership

Today I ran across a couple of music videos from a self-professed Christian “minister” and it provoked me to follow a certain line of thought. These kinds of people (and many like him) have been around for millenia. In fact, they have probably been in existence since the first argument on this planet. His three most popular songs are called:

(WARNING-Do Not Click These Links! They Will Stick in Your Head!)

You’re All Gonna’ Die

It’s Not Okay to be Gay

It’s a Baby not a Blob

(I told you not to click them!)

Each of these songs was written with a specific purpose in mind. They were intended to provoke people to think. Which. . . is exactly what I did. However, after I did my thinking, I probably came to different conclusions than the author of the song. I did not wrestle with any of the issues that the preacher wanted me to wrestle with. What I wrestled with was based on leadership. Here are few things that the singing preacher and a good leader have in common. They should:

  • Provoke others to think.

  • Have a goal and a purpose. 

  • Persuade others to follow. (How can you lead without a following?)  

  • Be an example of what their type of thinking produces.

This particular post is not about whether or not there is a hereafter, homosexuality, or abortion. It is about producing something in my life that causes others to want to follow me. What am I provoking others to think about? Do I have a goal and a purpose worth sharing? Should I lead others in the same direction as I am going? And what kind of example have these thoughts produced in my life? Is it something that I would recommend others follow?

Tune in Wednesday to find out the answers to “Why am I here?”