My Silence Is Not Compliance: Why I Don’t Preach Politics from the Pulpit Preachers need to take our cue from God’s Word, not the current obsession of the 24-hour news cycle. by Karl Vaters

Note: Although I have never been attacked or called a coward concerning a political or controversial topic, I appreciate Karl Vaters perspective given here.

Idon’t speak on political issues in my church.

I don’t support candidates.

I don’t address legislation.

I never take a side on controversial news items when I’m behind the pulpit.

And I’m tired of being called a coward because of it.

On behalf of myself and many Christians like me, I’d like to make a request.

Stop accusing fellow Christians of doing nothing just because we’re not called to do what you’re called to do.

Stop accusing fellow Christians of doing nothing just because we’re not called to do what you’re called to do.

We may not preach on political issues, but that doesn’t mean we’re sticking our heads in the sand. There are other options.

Quiet ≠ Cowardice

I’m not a wimp in the pulpit. Preaching from scripture often means taking an unpopular stand on hard moral issues. Sometimes those stands correspond with current affairs. Sometimes they highlight problems we’re ignoring because we’re being distracted by the shiny sin-bauble currently in the news.

When I preach, I try to take my cue from God’s Word, not the current obsession of the 24-hour news cycle.

But I know what’s coming. The next election will be called “the most important decision of our lives.” The next (or current) moral issue will be labeled “a defining moment for the church.” I’ll get phone calls, emails, Facebook pleas and drop-bys from people with flyers, petitions and upcoming rallies they want me to promote.

I’ll be told that if I don’t re-post their meme, promote their cause or denounce their enemy, I’m

  • Cowardly
  • Ignoring the issue
  • Letting the other side win
  • Compromising on the truth
  • or part of the problem (my personal favorite).

But none of that is true.

Just because I’m not responding to the current cultural/moral/political/social issue the way some people think I should, does not mean I’m ignoring it.

One Person at a Time

Recently, a bunch of pastors were having a heated, yet civil Facebook discussion on a moral issue. Several were decrying the silence from our pulpits on it. I commented that I don’t mention it from the pulpit because we’re ministering directly to people who are suffering from it.

The response was strong and fast. Caring for individuals is fine, ​they said, but we’re not changing things unless we denounce it regularly from the pulpit.

Almost everyone dismissed the idea of caring for hurting people with an electronic wave of their hands because they wanted to get to the “important” task of preaching about it, instead.

But Jesus never did that. He didn’t discuss politics unless he was dragged into it. And, even then, he sidestepped their political angle and stuck to his agenda.

Jesus never allowed others to define what mattered. He made them come to him. He wasn’t distracted by the controversial issues of the day – and there were plenty. Instead, he took care of people.

When the disciples dismissed a group of kids so they could discuss big-picture issues, Jesus rebuked them, put a child on his knee and told them this is what the kingdom of God looks like.

Working Quietly, But Still Working

Not everyone who seems to be quiet about evil is actually being quiet about it.

Not everyone who seems to be quiet about evil is actually being quiet about it.

For instance, in World War II many wore uniforms, took up arms and bravely fought against the evils of totalitarianism.

Meanwhile in Germany, Oscar Schindler ran a factory supposedly making ammunition for the Nazis. In reality, he was leveraging his reputation as a Nazi collaborator to undercut their efforts, while saving the lives of hundreds of Jews. If he had spoken out politically, he would not have been able to save those people.

The French underground worked in a similar way, by silent subterfuge. Those who hid thousands of Jews, like Anne Frank and her family, did the same thing. Their silence was not compliance, it was an essential element of their strategy.

While I am certainly not in the same category as those heroes, the truth is that there are many in the current culture who are doing something similar.

I know some bold culture warriors who are often accused of not taking a stand because they are not making broad statements. But it’s their apparent silence that allows them to make a big difference in some very personal, private ways.

You Be a Hand, I’ll Be a Foot

We’re not all called to respond to every issue in the same way.

As Paul taught, some are eyes, others are hands. And the eye can’t tell the hand it’s not doing the right thing just because it’s not acting like a hand.

If you’re called to speak on big issues in public forums, go for it. But don’t criticize those who are called to be change-makers in different, less visible ways.

If you’re called to respond to today’s issues in a more private and personal way, do that with all your heart. And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for it.

But, by all means, do something.

If we all play our part without criticizing the other parts, we may be amazed at what a unified body, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is able to accomplish.

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Here I Am {to Worship}

Source: Here I Am {to Worship}

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N.T. Wright: We Have Seen the Future in the Resurrection of Jesus

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When You Don’t Get What You Want – An Interview With Russell Wilson

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Why Am I Not Flyfishing Iceland?


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Tiger Mom or Cat Dad?


By Tim Ellmore, Growing Leaders

The claws are out over two parenting styles that are expanding in our world today. We see them in America, but they’re not limited to our country. Helicopter Parents and Snowplow parents are old news. These styles are a reaction to two decades of deficiencies in Baby Boomer parents.

My guess is, you’ve heard of the Tiger Mom. She’s extremely strict and pushes her kids to be the best at school, piano, sports… you name it. This style was made popular four years ago when Chinese-American author Amy Chua wrote the book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. To be honest, this Tiger Mom often gets the results she’s after, but only due to her hardnosed leadership style. She may not let her children eat until they master their violin lesson or perfect that gymnastics routine. She may not hand over any perks until homework is done with excellence and chores are complete. She loves her kids, but assumes the role of an employer, trainer or coach. This mom’s a driver.

photo credit: Hahah via photopin (license)

Conversely, we see a challenger to the hyper-strict, high-achieving Tiger Mother. He’s been dubbed “Cat Dad” and is the subject of a hit Chinese TV program. Cat Dad takes a more soft and sensitive approach to parenting. He does so believing that this kind of gentle, emotionally sensitive and relaxed enforcement of rules and discipline wins the heart of the child and produces a kid who wants to cooperate in the end. He has rules, but believes conversation about them, rather than enforcement of them, fosters offspring who are more self-sufficient and independent. In short, if you treat kids as grown-ups, you’ll get grown-ups in the end. This dad’s a diplomat.

The Pros and Cons

Having spoken at parent conferences around the world, I’ve seen both of these styles at play. Both would say their style has an upside and a downside. Let me offer what I’ve noticed in them:


1. Gets results: kids perform & reach potential 1. Kids often fall into a performance trap
2. Doesn’t waste time arguing or debating rules 2. Children may feel no warmth or care
3. Kids are often accepted into elite colleges 3. Kids can believe love is earned


1. Kids never doubt parent’s love and belief 1. Kids may feel they can negotiate rules
2. Kids are listened to and feel understood 2. Kids may not learn to focus on others
3. Kids are nurtured to believe in themselves 3. Kids may not build discipline or grit

Meeting in the Middle

Here’s what I wonder. While I see the value of both styles, I wonder if the answer might just be in the middle. Are there traits inside the “Tiger Mom” that we should embrace, traits that will enable our children to prepare for a world where they’ll need to perform (even when they don’t feel like it)? At the same time, are there traits inside the “Cat Dad” we should embrace that prepare our children to create a world of empathy, understanding and listening? It seems we’re running short on those qualities today.

Let me suggest a few focused questions we parents and leaders need to ask ourselves:

Can We Be a Driver and a Diplomat?

I believe there are times when parents and teachers must model both the “driver” style of leadership and the “diplomat” style of leadership. Boundaries should be communicated up front and seldom negotiated with children. They are fixed and valuable to the kids. However, as kids mature, there will be times a parent (or teacher) can demonstrate a flexible style, where they allow kids to weigh in on the direction of the family or class. This is actually healthy for them as adolescents — it helps them self-regulate. I believe kids do not have an innate need to get their own way. I do believe they have an innate need to be heard. Adults should embody both the driver and the diplomat along the way.

Can We Offer Them a Compass and a Magnet?

When our kids left home after finishing their K-12 education, I wanted them to have a compass in their head and a magnet in their heart. In other words, I wanted them to know how to think, how to discipline themselves, and how to live morally and in service to others. However, I also wanted them to have the relational skills and emotional intelligence to be magnetically attractive to others in their careers. The compass and magnet represent both hard skills and soft skills they’ll need as adults, spouses and parents themselves.

Can We Lead Them as a Velvet-covered Brick?

One of our most popular Habitudes® is called “The Velvet-Covered Brick”. (For those that don’t know, Habitudes are images that form leadership habits and attitudes.) Picture a brick wrapped in velvet. The plush, soft velvet is on the outside; it represents the tender side of our leadership. We believe in our kids, we accept them, we support them and love them. Inside that velvet, however, is a hard brick; this represents the tough side of leadership. We must lead by principles and challenge them to become the best version of themselves. This often never happens unless we show tough love and demonstrate tough decisions along the way.

One of the original Cat Dads was Chang Zhitao, a father from Shanghai who went head to head in a debate with Amy Chua shortly after her Tiger Mother book was published. Despite having vastly different approaches to parenting, it’s interesting that both Chua and Chang had daughters who were accepted into Harvard University. Both styles work.

Let’s discuss it: Have you seen the Tiger Mom or the Cat Dad style gain results?

– See more at:

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Smart vs. Healthy for Grads, by Patrick Lencioni

The Table Group – A Patrick Lencioni Company
The Source For Organizational Health

Smart vs. Healthy for Grads
This time of year is fraught with inaccurate and dangerous messages for high school graduates ‒ and for that matter, college grads ‒ about their futures. It is a message that is rooted in the same flawed logic that makes executives focus on making their companies smart while ignoring the more important issue of culture, or organizational health.
Here’s how it plays out.
High school counselors and college recruiters misguidedly convince students that they should try to get into the most prestigious college possible because this will determine the success of their careers and their lives. The unfortunate conclusion that teenagers draw is that their test scores, GPA, essays and strategically designed extracurricular activities will translate into happiness in adulthood. Of course, anyone over the age of forty knows that this is patently untrue.
There are two primary fallacies that need to be debunked here. First, a person’s job does not determine his or her happiness in life. It took me many years to figure this out, as I initially bought into the notion that the prestige of my career and the money I earned were the foundations of success. For those who think this sounds naive, know that most of the young people leaving high school and college are under the impression that this is the case. The result of this is a failure to appreciate more important determinants of fulfillment in life, like marriage, friendships and faith.
It’s critical for young people, and their parents, to realize that their college experience has a far broader impact on their life than on their career opportunities. Unfortunately, schools are not rated based on how they shape a person holistically, and so we fall back on careers and salaries as an indicator of quality. This leads to poor decision‒making and seriously unrealistic expectations for students and parents alike.
Second, even if one were to believe that college is primarily about getting a great job, there is no reason to believe that going to a higher rated school leads to greater success in one’s work life. As someone who has been working with leaders for twenty‒five years, I can say with confidence and sincerity that the vast majority of the best executives and employees I’ve encountered did not go to the most prestigious schools or have the highest S.A.T. scores. In fact, what the successful ones have in common has little or nothing to do with their educational background or raw intelligence, and almost everything to do with emotional intelligence, character and work ethic. Trust me when I say that most executives will wholeheartedly agree.
So why does society put so much emphasis on numerical indicators like test scores, grade point average and school rankings? For the same reason that businesses focus on finance, marketing and technology ‒ those things are easier to measure than the benefits of organizational health. We human beings seem to crave concrete, measurable predictors of success, perhaps to give us a greater sense of control in the world. But that doesn’t make those predictors accurate indicators of anything. Success, fulfillment and happiness in life are driven by a more integrative, nuanced and behavioral combination of factors, that can’t be easily captured on a spreadsheet.
So what is the message for parents and students? First, don’t buy into the lie that success and fulfillment in life are determined by the prestige or ranking of the college you attend or the job you land. Second, take a more holistic approach to life as the best leaders do, embracing attitude, behavior and effort more than intelligence and status. And finally, when it comes to searching for a college or a job, find the one that will allow you to develop your character and social skills so that you become the best husband, wife, parent, neighbor, and yes, employee you can be.
Now, if only there were a ranking for that.

Pat Lencioni
TTG News

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