Contrary to these Contrarians

“It is only the ignorant who dream that spirits are really winged men.”

~Dionysius the Areopagite, 5th century
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

To Whom It May Concern:

Some of the responses that I received to my initial posting were quite flattering.  Others included helpful follow-up questions and dialogue.

One question repeatedly asked—much to my perturbance—was about the cause of my current leave of absence of unspecified length. 

Allow me to state here succinctly what I found to be quite tiresome to send to many nosy inquirers. It is none of your business the reasons for my current state of employment or the lack thereof!  

I would instead encourage you to learn from my wisdom, gleaning principles which when practiced can help you secure your own employment status and avoid the risk of unnecessary absences yourself.

Now, to dig into the proverbial meat of our discourse… I hope you are wearing your sharpest incisors.

There are certain shrill voices in the world today whose canary-like calls are disturbing our peace and rattling the cages of many, who for so long have sat most comfortably in confinement of their own construction. This, of course, is of grave concern to us.  We must ensure these noisemakers are silenced—or at the very least stifled.

Photo by Ato Anthony on Unsplash

Contrary to these contrarians, we must reinforce the age-old word on the street and common sense practices that have proven so helpful to our enterprise in recent centuries.

The business of religion and church as usual is our delight.  

Especially remember to concentrate firepower on those who seem to possess an undue zeal for genuine spirituality and exhibit a desire to influence or serve others out of a pure heart.

How weak and disgusting!

Contrary to these contrarians, we must reinforce the age-old word on the street and common sense practices that have proven so helpful to our enterprise in recent centuries…

As aforementioned, we must ensure religious mindsets are deeply entrenched.  Overtime, as ruts are embossed and reinforced into the soft material of human souls, they will deepen, eventually becoming an inescapable pit.

If we are to ensure this pleasant outcome, we must consistently trumpet, and at times, whisper these essential values into the ears of our clientele.

Photo by Kendall Hoopes

On the Acquiring of Much Knowledge

We must ensure the focus of our clients remains securely fixed upon knowledge acquisition.  Encourage incessant learning paired with insipid obedience.  

Keep them ever knowing and rarely if ever doing.  Flood them with multitudinous methods, materials, books, and conferences.  

Ensure you provide clients enough intellectual fare to gorge themselves for years—if not decades.  The exact topics and themes matter little.  Most anything will do as long as it “glimmers in the cup,” distracts, and draws attention away from our Enemy.

Again, it goes without saying that electronic media forms are just as useful as tried-and-true paper.  Never neglect videos, articles, e-books, links, and cross-references.

Whatever fuels a knowledge-based pursuit of mastery on any subject is to be embraced and made readily available in abundance!  With equal force, vehemently discourage applying what is learned to one’s life.

Analysis vs. Synthesis

Ensure any learning pursued focuses strictly on analysis, as opposed to synthesis, which lends itself toward application and problem-solving.  

An unfortunate side effect of learning—for some—is the dastardly desire to instruct others. Any dimwit can recognize this presents potential problems.  

Photo by alleksana

When a splashing idea’s birth of influence increases, so does its potential to whet the appetite of a wider audience toward implementation of what’s learned and lasting life change.

These dangerous ripple effects can be challenging to control once initiated, so my encouragement is: at all costs, prevent their initial impact from occurring.

This whole chain reaction can be easily diffused by one skilled in our trade.

When a splashing idea’s birth of influence increases, so does its potential to whet the appetite of a wider audience toward implementation of what’s learned and lasting life change.

Run from discovery!

Emphasize much didactic instruction while steering away from a discovery process.

If this turn of phrase is unfamiliar to you, don’t bother wasting precious productivity to Google it.  The concept of discovery-based learning has ancient roots, tracing back to thought leaders throughout the ages, some our allies and some bitter enemies.  

School of Athens by Raphael

Even our chief Enemy himself, during the years he walked the earth in the flesh—making it so challenging for our associates in a certain Middle Eastern locality to perform effectively—demonstrated a high regard for the power questions.

This can be observed in the disproportionately low ratio of questions he answered to those he asked.  Certainly, we are a far cry from being given to follow his example.

Photo by Sharefaith

The concept of discovery-based learning has ancient roots, tracing back to thought leaders throughout the ages, some our allies and some bitter enemies.

The power of narrow, leading questions

Of course, leading questions can be used appropriately to guide wandering minds in our direction; however, our organization has never supported the belief that our clients have the capacity as humans to ponder together deeply enough to discover truth.  At the very least, we have developed some convincing theories to explain cases that seem to suggest that disconcerting pattern.

Instead, we prefer to reinforce the influence of highly authoritative—dare I say, domineering—teachers who gather a following and effectively lead others astray toward their cause.

Photo by Lukas

Again, the specificity of the cause is of little import, as long as it impassions and emboldens attitudes, behaviors, and direction distant from our Enemy.

For key leaders like these, we feed and reinforce their pride in their teaching position or title.  Any traces of humility can be effectively medicated by excessive attention, praise, and promotion.

The specificity of the cause is of little import, as long as it impassions and emboldens attitudes, behaviors, and direction distant from our Enemy…

“Oh, Captain, my Captain!”

This dynamic creates a delightful dependency on human authority figures.  These captains, whom we have exalted, owe us immensely; with a little coaching, they can steer the ship in whichever direction best suits our larger global initiatives.

Photo by Ibrahim Boran

This is a peripheral point, but ethnocentricity is to be highly encouraged.  A laser focus on one’s own cultural paradigms and personal experience nearly guarantees that outside-the-box thinking and cross-pollination between trouble makers will be largely thwarted.

It becomes quite easy to explain away some of the more radical “spiritual movements,” taking place in the earth today, which our organization is laboring feverishly to quench, when we can simply suggest: 

“Well, that’s a distant part of the world. If the stories are even remotely true, it certainly could never happen here!”

Photo by Aksonsat Uanthoeng on Pexels.com

A laser focus on one’s own cultural paradigms and personal experience nearly guarantees that outside-the-box thinking and cross-pollination between trouble makers will be largely thwarted.

Dangerous stories

Stories can be dangerous things when told from untrained lips and captured by the wrong ears.  Inversely, tales, whether true or embellished, can be told to inspire fear, devotion, and any ostensible outcome that a spell-binding oracle desires.

I suppose that suffices for a day’s post.  I do intend to continue extending my wisdom online to any and all who will listen, until my furlough is remedied.

Be advised that my services, including on-site consulting, are available at the right price or to the highest bidder, whichever would be more advantageous to myself.

Presently Available, Though Likely Not Indefinitely,

P. Sophresh,

Distinguished Former Department Head, Messenger of Light Inc.

(Currently on a leave of absence. Seeking opportunities. References available upon request.)

If you’d like to talk more about disciple making that multiplies, reach out to us...

Roy Moran
roymoran.com

Marcus Constantine
livingtruth2.wordpress.com

Prayer as a Way of Life: Pray & Pray With…

It was a sweet blessing to host this Groups Connection Coaching Huddle with Darnell Robinson of the Milwaukee House of Prayer.

This conversation about the power of prayer strikes me as so relevant to this moment in history! Especially at times like these, it’s essential that we develop a prayerfully dependent way of life and learn to be led by Holy Spirit.

Especially at times like these, it’s essential that we develop a prayerfully dependent way of life and learn to be led by Holy Spirit.

I was struck by Darnell and Donna’s teachable, humble hearts and their obedience to Jesus, even when it cost them…

What stands out most to you? How are you developing rhythms of personal and corporate prayer in this unique season?

Photo by Binti Malu on Pexels.com

Head & Heart – Soulmates

“Would you quit your whimpering?!? I’m trying to think,” Mind growled with an intellectual indifference.

“I can’t help it. This is just so moving!” His companion, Heart, emotionally retorted, sniffling and wiping away tears.
 
I promise, my head and heart don’t have audible conversations within my soul; however, I’ve learned there must be peaceful balance between them. As a follower of Christ, I’m called to think and feel as the Lord Jesus does.
 
I remember learning in a worship music class in Bible college, about the balance between head and heart. Our music professor taught that the arts diverge into two branches: classic, which is orderly and logical, and romantic, which is free and more emotional. Head and heart have arm-wrestled throughout music history. Isn’t this the balance we seek in worship ministry today too?
 
In a preaching class, our professor taught that ministering the Word is both a science, involving mental discipline, and an art, requiring the Holy Spirit’s influence on the speaker’s heart. Head and heart must cooperate under the unction of the Holy Spirit to deliver an effective message.
 
John 1:12 speaks of both receiving Jesus and believing in His Name. The Lord, through John, explains there’s an experiential and an intellectual component to becoming born again as a child of God through Jesus Christ (Jn. 3). We believe the truth of the Gospel and turn from lawbreaking to follow Christ.
 
I was baptized as an infant and grew up in a church where I learned about the Bible. My head was full of knowledge, but I hadn’t encountered the Risen Christ. My heart hadn’t yet been pricked with a godly sorrow that brings repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). When I heard the Gospel call to repent and be saved, the Holy Spirit brought conviction of sin and my need for Jesus. I received and believed.
 
I heard Apologist Josh McDowell explain on the radio once that it was not just intellectual doubt that kept him from faith. Deep emotional wounds from his earthly father hindered his heart from believing in the Heavenly Father. He was convinced an Almighty Father would only cause him more pain. The Holy Spirit used both the love and the intellectual evidence of those who witnessed to McDowell to draw him to Jesus.
 
Everything done well in this life must involve a redeemed head and heart. When we act only from the head, we cause pain. When we’re simply moved by the heart, we cause trouble.
Everything done well in this life must involve a redeemed head and heart. When we act only from the head, we cause pain. When we’re simply moved by the heart, we cause trouble. The unregenerate “heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” and the mind must be renewed (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 12:2).
 
Neither emotion nor reason is inherently evil. They are gifts of God, evidence that people are handcrafted in His Image. There’s an element of reason and emotion required for every wise decision, drawing from Scriptural principles and listening for the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice.
 
This balance between head and heart isn’t something I usually dwell on or am overly introspective about. Instead, we listen to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to convict us of any unconfessed sin. When we act unwisely or uncaringly, He graciously convicts. He wants us to be free (2 Cor. 3:17). When He puts His gentle finger on a specific sin, we turn from the sin toward Jesus and move forward in the freedom of His Spirit.
 
Will Head and Heart ever get along? Through the cleansing Blood of Jesus, they sure can. Let’s eagerly desire both Christ-like thinking and feeling. The head and the heart are, after all, soulmates.

What does this balancing act between intellect and emotion look like in your life and work?