Though not at all my intent, I'm sure this post will anger more than a few. Truth has a way of doing that.
But I am more concerned about the weakening of our witness in the political arena than I am any name I could possibly be called or insults hurled my way. After all, I'm a big girl from Texas so I can take it.
The truth is 1) we can't legislate morality and 2) Jesus never saw the need to partner with Caesar.
No, I am not a "progressive Christian." Anything but. Actually, a redeemed and recovering right-wing, card-carrying NRA conservative Republican.
Only God Himself could have torn me away from what had been a lifelong allegiance to a Republican Party I once knew but is no more; and, my love of all things political.
I am a graduate of one of the most conservative evangelical seminaries in the world, a former elected official, a career government person and a lifelong student of scripture and government. It is the former, scripture, that finally won over my heart and its timeless principles are the foundation of my writing, speaking and training in both faith-based and secular environments.
The political system is a world system doing what world systems do. The problem, in my opinion, and the genesis of much of the conflict and division we are seeing in American culture today, is not that the political system is not doing its job; the church in Western culture isn't for the most part doing ours. I just made some of y'all see red!
In fact, to break it down further, politics, not governing is antithetical to Christianity.
Jesus never saw the need to partner with Caesar.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 13 that God established government for good.
The Greek word for politics is politiki which means among other things enlightenment (not revelation by the Holy Spirit), intuition ( not faith), anxiety or timidity (God said he didn't give us this spirit).
Fear and anxiety are the two major drivers of politicians - the fear of and needing to please people which is a snare; and, anxiety in the tension brought about by the fear of losing favor and support of those they feel they need to retain office (i.e., donors and voters) - no matter that the same may not be in agreement.
It's the deal they strike to stay in office. The Holy Spirit speaks, but donors and dollars in many cases speak louder.
The Romans established the first representative form of government (i.e. a republic) that many countries throughout history, including America, would later copy.
It was the Roman form of representative government that the forefathers used to establish the representative government we now have in the United States. We are not a democracy but a Democratic Republic - the Roman model.
It's why majority does not rule in electing our president. The Electoral College is the system by which all are equally represented in our representative form of government.
Why say all of this? Because so many of us Christians have become so immersed in politiki (including once me) that we have forsaken God and the teachings of scripture.
We are to be disciples, not Democrats. Christ's representatives, not Republicans. Democrats and Republicans are world systems in a democratic republic. Disciples of Christ are representatives in governing. We can't change what we've adopted as our way to roll.
This is why there is such a clash and division. It's a clash of systems and Kingdoms. The Kingdom of God or light and the Kingdom of darkness.
How can two walk together unless they agree? We can't. We are going about this thing wrong and it's not Dorothy Burton saying it, it's written in the Book (Bible).
It's not as if the men of God with outsized platforms don't know. They do. It's just that the lure of power, dominance, and control are too great. The world's way. What they have forgotten is apart from God, it all one day with the changing of the guard (political party sway) will change. It always has and always will.
Why? Because only the things of God will last. It's just a shame so many of us have forgotten this.
"Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Render unto God what belongs to God." Jesus said this, I didn't.
I'm not saying we shouldn't be in the arena. We as Christians need and should absolutely be in politics. It's just that politiki should not be in us.
We can't fight with the same weapons and in the same suit of armor, partner with Caesar and claim Caesar's victories as our own. They are temporal. That's why it seems we take two steps forward but ten backward.
As Christians in politics, if we are going to be successful in impacting culture for Christ, we must grasp fully the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:12 and begin governing this way - "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (i.e., Democrats or Republicans) but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (or high) places."
"Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Render unto God what belongs to God." - Jesus.
We fight against one another based upon our party affiliation and their platforms in world politiki systems, which are rooted in everything of flesh and blood (i.e., race, ethnicity, gender, etc.) and wonder why we are not changing anything. In fact things are worsening and are becoming more divisive by the day.
It's not that world systems aren't doing what they are supposed to do, we aren't.
They will be successful in theirs and if we follow God's word, we will be successful in theirs and ours because it all belongs to God.
Where are his hands and feet? We have joined forces with the world, applauding party and walking away from, not toward God.
We walk away when we look the other way on wrong; worse, join in with it.
If we are to be light in the darkness, we must light the entire room not just a corner of it.
We must shine the light as brightly on the sin of adultery as we do on the sin of abortion.
We must shine the light as brightly on the sin of racism as we do on the sin of same-sex marriage.
We must call sin what God calls sin and not be political and biblical cherry-pickers. The sins we disagree with but say nothing of those God abhors.
If we are to see a change in culture, Christians and Christian leaders are going to have to turn back to God and not just with our lips.
The world is weary of Christians that talk a good game and are confused when we say whose team we're on, but they see us suit out for the opposing team.
The question is asked in Amos 3:3 - "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
The answer? No, we can't. And this is the problem in culture God will not help us solve, no matter how much we call on Him with our lips when He sees daily the actions of our heart.
Published on Sunday, May 12, 2019 @ 9:25 AM CDT
Napoleon Bonaparte. King George III. George Washington.
King George III, as Benjamin West was painting his portrait, asked him what did he think the first president of the free nation, Washington, would do now that the American Revolution had ended.
Benjamin West told King George that Washington would likely go back to his farm
King George reportedly retorted to West, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world!"
Who would voluntarily give up that much power? Such was rare. Still is.
Washington was so highly regarded for his integrity that a number of power brokers and people supported the idea of making the first president, president for life.
Vanity is insanity when it comes to leadership.
Washington did as he had determined - his goal was to serve the people and bring stability to the new nation. He had done that. Refusing a third term, he rebuffed a growing movement to make him president for life. Instead, he calmly handed over the reins of office and power to the next elected president.
In doing this, Washington set the standard for presidents to come and helped stabilize the nation.
Napoleon Bonaparte. Military leader. Emperor of France. Lauded for his military skills. Loved being in power. Desperately wanted to be Emperor for life. He was toppled, twice-exiled and it is said that the people of France wanted him to be a leader much in the same way as the new nation's George Washington. He couldn't do it. Why? He loved power too much and would never give it up on his own accord - even when it was obvious his time was up.
The one thing above all that will topple the victorious is vanity. From city halls to the halls of Congress and behind the walls of the White House. Vanity is insanity when it comes to leadership. It is every leader's greatest enemy.
The pendulum will swing back in America, it always does in politics. By then so much will have been done that it will take leaders with a George Washington not a Napoleon Bonaparte mentality to right this nation again.
Published on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 @ 1:11 PM CDT
True humility is a sign of confidence. Fake humility is a sign of pride.
Cockiness is a sign of insecurity and weakness. Self-confidence is a sign of the strength of character.
Confident people have fought some battles, lost a few and learned from them. Cocky people only boast about the ones they won.
Don't let people fool you. If we are going to lead well, we must take the time needed to learn how to comprehend challenging books and challenging people.
Knowledge is only powerful when it can be comprehended and deception is the culprit in every downfall.
Every leader who would be great will fall before they fail.
The fall is always private, but oh how public the failure.
Published on Monday, May 6, 2019 @ 9:48 AM CDT
One of the best lessons I learned when I ran for political office was to run toward not away from accusations.
The thing most people don’t understand, but Christians well should, is the power of confession. Granted, some things should be kept between us and God and taken to our grave.
But the cover-up in many cases is worse than the crime. And our Enemy, Satan, who is the master deceiver, whom Jesus calls the father of lies (John 8:44) knows the worst fear of anyone in public service is that someone will find out something about something we have done; or, are doing that would bring shame and ridicule.
May I share something with you? When you sign up for public service, I don’t care if it is as a meter reader or mayor, your life becomes an open book with the most poorly lived chapters becoming fodder for our enemies. You will be blogged about, talked about, written about on social media, lied about and your life turned inside-out.
But in some cases, what is being said is not a lie, but the truth.
The one mistake we all make and one that I made until I learned better is this: In an effort to not look bad or worse, be thought of by people as being bad, we won’t admit wrong.
However, the greatest defense we have is not to take offense to something we know we’ve done wrong. Once we do, we will become trapped by our own traps of cover-ups and deceit, which have no good end.
Though what we did may have been bad, the worst thing we can do is try to cover it up. Two things are certain: what is covered will be uncovered and what is hidden will be made known.
Do you know that your enemies, whether they be political or otherwise will never be able to hold anything over your head if you admit to it?
As Johnny Cochran infamously said to the jury of O.J. Simpson during the high drama courtroom glove scene, “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
Same with us but with a little different twist – “if we admit it, they will quit it.”
People can’t keep accusing you of things you've readily admitted to. Admission takes away ammunition.
And as far as the press is concerned, since "if it bleeds it leads," - once the bleeding stops the leads stop.
You will become old news in a 24/7 news cycle that moves faster than the speed of sound and in media, old news may as well be no news at all.
Does this mean spilling your guts? Not at all. But when confronted by and dogged by opponents and political enemies, tell the truth.
Don’t allow them to hold anything over your head by loading the gun and handing it to them to shoot your career in the head.
Don't play a shell game with them and they can't play the shame game with you. The truth may sting, but a lie will bite.
Sometimes the very people who accuse you most, who try to shame you the most, and throw the most rocks, themselves live in glass houses.
To them you owe nothing. But to those whom you represent or vying to represent, you owe them the truth.
In reality, the cause of most downfalls is not the act itself, but the act of covering it up. A cover-up is always a self-made setup.
None of us has lived a perfect life. The only one that can lay claim to that is Jesus Christ. And even he was crucified for that. So, can we, as imperfect as we are, expect to escape scrutiny and accusations; some true, others not? Of course not.
However, our imperfections, as public people, get magnified under the magnification of public scrutiny. All the more to be honest with yourself and others.
So when someone digs into your past to smear you and to inform others of just how bad of a person you are, don’t dig in your heels.
Once we do this, our enemies have us where they want us. And we are stuck in paralyzing quicksand, sinking deeper and deeper into denial.
Our enemies and the media count on the cover-up. But a person of character will never oblige.
You don’t owe the world a thing, but you do owe those that have placed their vote and confidence in you the truth.
Be honest and confident enough in the God we serve for the outcome. The one thing that prevents us from ‘fessing up is the one thing that God hates most – pride. And once because of pride we lie to cover up, God removes his hand of protection and we get swallowed up in the quicksand of deceit.
In reality, the cause of most downfalls is not the act itself, but the act of covering it up. A cover-up is always a self-made setup.
When an enemy confronts you in order to embarrass or harm your reputation by something you’ve done in your past, remember these short but effective responses:
- “Yes, I did that. I’m not proud about it and had I been more mature in my thinking, my actions would have been totally different. I regret to this day that it happened. I have worked to make it right, myself better and my conscience is clear. It hasn’t happened since, nor will it happen again.”
- “Given my thinking at the time that sounds like something I would have probably said (or done). But thank God I, like so many, have grown since then.”
- “Yes, but you need to hear my side of the story.” Tell your side. Be brief and then be quiet. Never linger in long explanations because you likely will say more than is needed and give them fresh ammunition.
From there, let people make up their own mind. They are going to think what they want anyway, but at least you have set the record straight and taken away your enemy's firepower.
For a public servant leader, being obviously evasive or going on the offensive can be the kiss of death, particularly in local governments.
Don't lie about it and don't cover up. Ideally, be mindful of actions upfront, keeping at the forefront of your thinking that every private action of a public leader can lead to a viral public social media post.
My experience has been that people are more likely to forgive a leader of a confessed mistake more readily than a covered-up lie.
People don't like to be misled or lied to. Yet, they can identify with someone who just flat-out blew it and admit it because they themselves have at some point blown it and can identify.
What they won't abide, however, is deception - particularly when you have won their trust.
Published on Monday, April 22, 2019 @ 2:42 PM CDT
Let me break this down real simple. No political spin for Democrats or Republicans. Whites or blacks. Particularly though for my white friends who get so angry at the mention of slavery and its impact.
Generational wealth is built over generations. A generation is 40 years. Let's do the math. At the time of the Declaration of Independence (1776), African slavery was legal in all 13 colonies.
By the time of the American Revolution, slavery had become institutionalized across the U.S. Meaning, blacks were chattel (property) and whites were persons. Chattel worked. They could not own the land they worked on. Whites profited and passed down their wealth.
Chattel was forbidden from learning to read though they built the schools. Knowledge and opportunities to become educated were passed on generationally by and through whites. Not so for the chattel.
Whites progressed through cohesive family units working together, building family-owned businesses. Chattel could not form cohesive family units. They were property not "people" and children, men and women were sold to work for no wages. No wages.
White "family-owned" businesses, through chattel free labor, were made astronomically profitable because but for the minimal cost of some materials (even the trees for lumber were cut down by the chattel), there were no labor costs, no wages to be paid, so it was all straight profit; making them exponentially profitable as those businesses grew and were passed to the next generation and grew even wealthier, or were sold at a profit. For the chattel, nothing.
It wasn't until 1865 that slavery ended. Then 100 more years of Jim Crow where blacks, though no longer considered chattel were redlined, whites would not sell them land, they could not get loans even if they had stellar credit and could repay them.
They could not get white-collar jobs, higher paying jobs, though qualified. Had to go to school longer, work longer to get jobs they were over-qualified for yet even those went to less qualified whites who earned more. All of this.
Do the math. If 40 years is a generation (and it is), only since the Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Act... 1964, 1965 have we even been able to begin to work, prosper and pass on what "wealth" we could work for. Meanwhile, white generational wealth continued to steamroll.
From 1776 to 1965 is 189 years. One hundred eighty-nine years divided by 40 (a generation) is 4.7 or 5 generations. Blacks in America by 1965 were already 5 generations behind the curve.
To put that in context; in one generation, thousands; the next generation tens of thousands; the next generation hundreds of thousands; the next generation, millions as populations grew.
NONE in each of those generations were paid for their labor. Not to mention the inventions and recipes stolen in those 189 years which we couldn't own and patent but whites did; capitalized on, some even building their brand and empire on (i.e., Jack Daniels), handing down as theirs through generations to their families.
HOW could we build wealth? It's not that we were lazy, far from it. It's that we were shut down, shut out and not even considered as human beings.
Add loses from systemic racism from 1965 onward. Negative economic impact? Astronomical. Easily in the trillions.
So when many of my white right friends and the black right of the world (God bless their hearts) who fall in with the madness by putting forth the silly argument that blacks should be further along and the playing field is now equal - it is not. It can never be equal. Such loses can never be regained, certainly not recouped.
Add to that, we forsook the God of our fathers and put our trust in the very people who held their boot on the neck of our ancestors.
Don't be deceived, white Democrats and white Republicans all benefitted, still are...It wasn't their party, it was their race from which they benefitted at our expense and at the expense of generations.
That's why I finally divorced myself from both parties. I am evangelical because I believe every word of the Bible to be true. I believe strongly in the family because it is God's design.
If you think that puts me squarely in a political camp - you're wrong. And we have been wrongly brainwashed to believe that one party "owns" family values and Christianity. Like many in the world of politics, I thought I had to be one or the other, to be "included."
I have since learned better and have a more accurate view of who I am, more important whose I am (God's) and it's why I can write so freely these kinds of pieces. I get it from both sides because I kowtow to neither side. I don't have to belong to any party or tribe and don't. I have a higher calling.
I am a student of government, history, Christianity, and leadership. If you take the emotion out of it, the racism out of it, the offensiveness out of it and looked at this issue realistically... Yes, black people are and have been historically at an economic disadvantage because of the legacy of slavery. It was impossible to build while for generations physically and psychologically chained; and, for generations more, dehumanized. You can't build on thin air. And this isn't whining nor am I making excuses. Truth is the truth.
You can't begin a race, spot a white runner two feet from the finish line while the black runner is chained to the starting block - shoot the starter gun, wave the flag as the white runner crosses the finish line, then dog out the black runner in the starting block for not running faster and harder to catch up when finally free.
There is no catching up and there can never ever be any reparations. Generations hence can never ever be "repaired" or "repaid." Lives destroyed, so much potential generational wealth and prosperity forever lost generationally to history.
And the Corey Bookers and politicians on both sides need to quit politicking this issue. We deserve better than this cheap political theater; carrot and stick routine for cheap political points they know is pointless and for what? Votes.
America could never repay or pay for that which it has so richly profited at the expense of generations of black people.
Do we still suffer the consequences generations and generations hence? You bet we do. The break up of our families didn't start with the welfare state, but with the United States. We never should have been lacking anything and certainly not lagging for generations economically and educationally behind.
American slavery was evil. Jim Crow was evil. Racism is evil. But, there is a God in heaven.
Only God, not Corey "Spartacus" Booker or any politician can force repayment and right so much devastating wrong.
Who is to pay? Where will the dollars come from? How much? To whom? Who gets to decide? The politicians in Washington, D.C.? Please. Most of them can't find their butt with both hands let alone find dollars for reparations. Little more than political drama by D.C. drama queens and wanna-be kings.
Many of my generation as was our fathers' and mothers' generation before us; and theirs from generations past hold fast to the belief that God yet reigns. He is a God of justice and righteousness and only He, only He can repair and repay.
Published on Sunday, April 14, 2019 @ 10:40 AM CDT