The heart of a leader? A "servant heart."

PRIMER ON LEADERSHIP. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45.

Joey King, Trevor Lawrence’s high school coach: “Everything that he does, if he’s doing well, he’s going to defer the credit to somebody else. If he’s doing badly, he’s going to own up and take responsibility even if it’s not his fault. That’s just kind of what he’s made out of.” If I weren’t so verbose, I could end this post on that quote. In case you don’t know who Trevor Lawrence is, he is the quarterback of the Clemson university national champion football team. A Lawrence-quarterbacked team has never lost a game in college, and since he was 14 years old and in the ninth grade, his teams have suffered three defeats overall and just the two as a starter. What about his last team’s loss, in high school? “In the aftermath, to see his leadership just continue to flourish, he’s such a selfless young man,” coach Foster said. “His concern was his teammates. There wasn’t any head-hanging from him. There wasn’t sitting around and crying and moping. It was him trying to seek out his teammates and trying to make sure that they were OK. Loving on them and consoling them. His leadership just never stops to amaze me.”

In this age of YouTube superstars with millions of “followers”, who have actually accomplished nothing except to profit from mimicry of their buffoonery, hypocritical “celebrities” who fly around in private jets in order to scold the rest of the world about global warming, a braggart President, media woke-scolds who lie on camera to promote their pet causes and politicians, there are still true winners, true leaders, who say little about themselves and serve others without fanfare. While Trevor Lawrence types are rare, it does seem that the latest crop of winning college quarterbacks–like Tua Tagavailoa, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts–embody very similar characteristics.

Of course, the Bible has a lot to say on leadership, and the proverbs of Solomon are particularly pithy:

Proverbs 26:11. Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.

Proverbs 26:12. Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes. there is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 26:16. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.

10:20. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver.

Proverbs 16:18. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:32. Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Proverbs 17:10. A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than 100 blows into a fool.

Proverbs 18:2. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, only in expressing his own opinion.

Proverbs 18:12-13. Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. If one gives an answer before he hears the matter it is his folly and shame.

Proverbs 17:28. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 29:1. He who is often reproved but stiffens his neck will be suddenly broken beyond healing .

Proverbs 29:11. A fool gives full vent to his spirit but a wise man holds it back.

Proverbs 29:23. One’s pride will bring him low but a man who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Want to be a winner? Adjust your attitude to those proverbs, and the heart of Jesus. You won’t throw like Trevor Lawrence but you will be and have a richer treasure.

Is there any hope for USA relations with the Islamic world?

General Qasem Soleimani was once called the “Wizard of Oz of Iranian terror” by the New York Post. He was responsible for the Benghazi embassy attack, and was in bed with Barack Obama. He was the most dreaded and most effective terrorist alive, the head of the Quds Force, an organization that acts as a combination CIA and Green Berets for Iran, and a man who orchestrated a campaign of chaos against the United States around the world. Then we drone-struck him. Was it a good thing? Actress and hopeful foreign policy expert Rose McGowan tweeted her deep analysis which started like this. “Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani” Her sympathies haven’t changed much since 2008, “I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100% have been in the IRA.” Thanks Rose, and all your ilk, we 48%(?) will take it under advisement……

Is there any hope for USA relations with the Islamic world? I don’t know, do you? I present six propositions which I believe to be true, then return to the main question. My conclusion will surprise you.

1. “Separation of church and state” is not and has never been in our Constitution. Instead, we have settled into this comfortable fiction, aided and abetted by the major media and dubious Supreme Court decisions, that our founders wrote a constitution containing a central idea that religion has no place in politics. This idea is false as can be. The central idea and theme of our political system and constitution is civil government derives it’s legitimacy from the consent of the governed. The most fundamental concept of democracy is the idea that government exists to secure the rights of the people and must be based on the consent of the governed. This is a religious principle! See #7.

2. Where did this idea come from? Until the original 13 American states asserted the principle of consent of the governed as self-evident, it had been applied only rarely in the world’s annals. For most of recorded history, people lived under different types of dictatorship, usually a form of autocracy, the rule of a single leader exercising unlimited power. Sometimes, the ruler was the best warrior, able to seize power over a group or nation (such as Genghis Khan in 13th-century Asia). Such leaders often founded hereditary monarchies, the most common form of autocracy. In most cases, the monarch was all-powerful, claiming his or her position by “divine right” (as in Europe) or by the “mandate of heaven” (as in China). The ruler was sovereign, the supreme authority of a state. The people were not citizens but subjects. Virtually ALL governments in history were theocracies, the rulers’ legitimacy claimed divine right.

3. Islam has always been autocratic; the word itself means submission. Submission to whom, or what? Submission to Allah. Virtually all Islamic governments throughout history were ruled by religious leaders, or those who pretended to be. In fact, Islam is simultaneously both a religion and a government. The idea of separation of the two is anathema to every devout Muslim. Therefore, the United States declaring that our goal is bringing democracy to any Islamic country is a declaration of war, war on Islam itself.

4. Drone warfare, invasions, targeted killing (or assassination) of terrorist leaders are to us defensive measures—proactively pre-empting the ability of terrorists to operate. To the Islamic world they are provocations. But #3 represents a much greater threat to their world than #4. What about all those complaints about “islamophobia”, the Crusades, our killing their Muslim brothers and sisters? See next.

5. The Islamic leaders know our weaknesses, compared to the level of their commitment: we are soft, sympathetic, empathetic, pluralistic, respectful of other cultures and religions. Yes, they are weaknesses to the Islamic militants, who are none of those things, and hostile to the very ideas. So islamophobia, claims of crusader aggression, killing their “brothers” are all part of the “public relations campaign” to put us on the defensive. The Crusades, by and large, were mostly to defend Christian lands and people, or to take back territory from the Muslim invaders. Islamophobia is either BS, or in Eastern Europe is justified by their history (look up the derivation of the word “slave”). As far as killing their brothers, Muslim deaths are overwhelmingly perpetrated by other Muslims.

6. Islam has nearby enemies: Israel, “moderate” Islamic governments like Jordan and the emirates, the House of Saud, but those nearby enemies are defended by the United States, the far enemy. We could end all warfare, drone strikes and any type of preemptive anti-terrorist measures, and it would have no positive effect on Islamic relations. Islamic true believers constitute Dar al Islam, or the “House of Islam”, to them the only true faith. All infidels, which includes moderate Muslims and all non-Muslims, are the Dar al Harb, or “House of War.” The militant Muslims, the ones with the commitment and power, will make war by any means until either we in the west are conquered and worship Allah, or we have conquered them. Why don’t the Islamic militants go after China, the most egregious oppressor of Muslims in the world? They know China wouldn’t care about their propaganda, would laugh at the idea of “Islamophobia” and would strike back more ruthlessly than the USA even with Donald Trump as president, and that China is not limited by the kind of civil and legal niceties that we observe.

7. Given the preceding six points, where do we go from here? War will not conquer Islam. I asked in #2, where did the consent of the governed idea come from? It is a uniquely Christian and biblical concept. It didn’t exist in the world until the Pilgrims and Puritans established 13 colonies on biblical principles. Read the state constitutions of the original 13 states. The truth of what I am saying will be evident. Therefore, I believe the only hope for USA-Islamic relations is found in the Bible:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:10-16.

Only love will conquer hardened hearts. There are Christian relief organizations working in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and everywhere militant Islam has caused untold misery. Their workers are often kidnapped or killed, but they soldier on, motivated to show the love of Christ to Muslims. Would that every American want the same thing. Only then will we elect the kind of leaders who reflect love. Such love requires telling the truth; such love would be the ultimate threat to militant Islam. When will be ready for that kind of commitment? Ronald Reagan used that “city on a hill” reference and believed we are that. Can we be?

Is there a true sage in your life?

Dennis Peacocke, CEO of Gostrategic.org, is a sage to me. The economy and power of his writing and speaking never fails to reach me. The following message is from his 2020 New Year newsletter, The Bottom Line.

He is discussing St. Paul’s brutally honest reality that “each one shall bear his own load.” But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Galatians 6:4-5.

The major challenges are three-fold:

1. What if I don’t want to face this reality of ultimate personal responsibility for my life?
2. What if I somehow agree to attempt to manage my life but don’t feel I have any wise ability to do so?
3. What if I am carrying my own load but life makes it too uncertain to do so wisely?

Answering any of these questions fully and adequately in a newsletter or a blog post is absurd indeed, so let’s go for some observations:

1. There is no running from self, the reality of life and death, and the law of consequences; thoughts and actions produce results based upon them.

2. In our human weakness, none of us want to grow up; we do so only when forced by God, others, or our circumstances.

3. Life is full of a lot more trouble than available, wise teachers to shepherd us through them. If you have found wise, consistent help, you are unbelievably blessed and, likewise, now responsible to become that “wise person” to others who genuinely want truth from you!

4. Life is full of “patterns”; recognizing them is a clear sign that “carrying your own burden” is actually beginning to work for you. When you learn how to use those patterns, you are once again blessed of God and responsible to pass them on.

5. Knowing and acting on your limitations and tendencies puts you in a very limited group within humanity. Once again, thank God, and don’t let go of this gift.