Tag Archive: credibility


I was saddened recently.  Someone I have come to respect, for his willingness to seek and share truth, is seemingly being ensnared.  As I listened to him extol Donald Trump, his reverence for him was obvious.  It centered on the fact that Trump is a billionaire–and his apparent assumption that to be a billionaire implies that a person has attributes that we should admire.  (I’ll break it down for you–that fact that a person is a billionaire means that he has a lot of money–nothing more, nothing less.)

Yes, I will pray for this man.  As I’ve said before, we all have our ‘blind spot’ and our ‘Achilles heel’.  My intention here is not to criticize him, but to illuminate a way in which the thinking of many Christians does not line up with the perspective that God wishes us to have.  Instead, I would venture to say that most Christians have the same attitude toward money that ‘the world’ has.

Jesus made it clear that while we are on Earth we are stewards of what is God’s.   God decides how much to entrust to each of us.   If we prove faithful in little things, He will entrust us with more.  However, that does not mean that everyone who has a lot has proven himself faithful.

God chooses how much to entrust each of us with.  Not only does He entrust those who have proven faithful with more, sometimes He chooses to entrust a lot (at the beginning) to those who will merely squander it–or to entrust little to one who is worthy of more.

While God promises to bless those who are faithful, one cannot assume that all who are blessed are faithful–or that all who seem not to have  His blessing are not.  (And God’s blessings do not all involve money!!)

This reminds me of Jesus speaking about someone who was crippled from birth, and saying that some wondered who had sinned–the man, or his parents.  At that time, it was understood that those who sinned would see consequences, so this thinking was perfectly logical.  The problem was, that not everyone who had the ‘consequences’ had sinned–sometimes people are just ‘born that way’.   Although b may follow a, a does not always precede b . . .

At the risk of overstating it, here’s one more example: all apples are fruit–but not every fruit is an apple.

Many wealthy men have nearly (or literally) ‘sold their souls’ to acquire that wealth.  Many have trampled, oppressed, and exploited others along the way; cast aside their wife; and neglected or alienated their children.

We cannot assume that a man is good, merely because he has wealth.  Yes, you can ‘know them by their fruit’, but take care that it is the fruit you are examining!  Jesus was not referring to wealth as being fruit.  He was referring to how we treat God and other people!

My fear for this man, however, is that this wrong perspective towards wealth is only one aspect of the problem.  It seems to me that those in ministry have a tendency toward a particular temptation–and I believe it has been the root of destruction for many men of God.

After God gives them a ministry and blesses them with some measure of success, they begin to grow restless and think of how many  more people they could reach–if they just had more money.  Slowly, imperceptibly, their focus changes from seeing God as their source, to contriving ways in which they can obtain more money.

As they scheme for ways to raise more money, they begin to relate differently to people.  Suddenly, it seems prudent to them to make friends with those who are wealthy.  (The early church was admonished for showing favoritism to the wealthy.)  In wooing the wealthy, they seem to have a sort of tunnel vision, focusing on the best qualities in the other while being blind to things that aren’t convenient to see.

Of course, that is what we all tend to do when we make friends–but the danger of a Christian leader doing it is that they are giving spiritual credibility to the wealthy man, and leading their flock to do the same.  Often, because of wrong assumptions regarding wealth (as I first explained), and eagerness for a benefactor, they do not take the necessary time to get to know the wealthy man and prove his character.

Make no mistake, many who are wealthy are clever and have an agenda of their own.  Often they are willing to part with some of their money in turn for more credibility.  If they are strategic as to who and what they donate to, they can manipulate the assumptions that people make about them.

While it may be true that the average Joe donates to causes that are close to his heart, the same assumption should not be made about the wealthy.   Donations are a form of advertising, a means to marketing themself–a business expense, if you will.

Just because a wealthy man donates to a ministry, doesn’t mean he supports what they say or believe in.  He may be trying to purchase spiritual credibility in the eyes of men.  (Or, he may be trying to buy God’s favor.)

Whatever the case, a pastor who provides credibility for a man, without really knowing his character, may be allowing a wolf in sheep’s clothing into the midst of his flock.

As the old saying goes ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’.  Who Pastor, is really more valuable–the Christian man in the pew, whom God has entrusted to your care, or the man you might reach in the street?

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I listen to conservative talk radio, and it catches my attention when the host points out his record of being correct.  They’re right, they have been making accurate predictions–that’s why I listen to them!  I make predictions here too, and share my gut feelings about things.  But, I hesitate to say ‘I was right’ . . .

What are we really implying when we point to our record of accuracy?  Are we implying that because we were right in the past, we are special somehow?  Or that we will always continue to be right, and you should follow us? God forbid!  Can any of us really live up to that?

It profits me nothing, in this life, to be right about the things I am predicting.  They are things we’d rather not see come to pass.  I don’t write this blog for money or fame.  Being right about the  things I predict will probably paint a target on my chest.  Being popular would only make the target bigger!

The only thing I gain, if I am right, is credibility.  Credibility to tell you about the character of God, about what His Word says, about the deception that is everywhere you turn these days, about the sacrifice that Jesus made for those who will follow Him, and about how you can be one of His children too.

 

There is a whole group of people that we, in our modern society have ignored, to our own peril. Certain people are just born gatekeepers–watchmen if you will, or whistle blowers.

If you look at our worst disasters, there were people who had been trying to warn us. The 9/11 attacks . . . Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme . . . protests against the Vietnam War . . . What about the ‘Green Revolution’, genetically modified crops, exploitation by multinational corporations . . . (oh, I’ll bet you haven’t heard about the results of some of these things, but you will).

Our failure to listen has brought us to where we are now–and there is more to come. We have been ‘sowing bad seed’ for quite awhile. Not all of it has reached fruit-bearing age yet.

Why is it that our society has this blind spot? Certain people are just more tuned in to their intuition, the Spirit of God and/or the ‘collective consciousness’. They are able to forecast trends or see a few steps ahead of the masses.

If a person uses this gift to advance himself by channeling it into creating a business, it rises to the top, they become well-known and we marvel at their foresight. But those who try to use it for the well-being of others, to warn them of impending problems, we label as extremists or nut jobs. Why is this?

One of my theories is that, in our time at least, what they say has tended to conflict with somebody’s bottom line. We have elevated the corporation to the status of a god–and God forbid we should do or say anything that questions the motives, or threatens the intentions of this god!

Capitalism is good, but not perfect. (I am a capitalist too, make no mistake, because I don’t know of a better system. But, in its present form, I think it is completely corrupt–a system that perpetrates greed, exploitation, and corruption.) It is seriously flawed if it operates without ethical oversight.

The reverence and worship for the American Corporation that we hear today, in the words of so many proponents of capitalism, reveals their blind spot, their Achille’s heel if you will. They are under its spell.

Are we starting to see the character of this god yet? Have all the fiascos of the last couple of decades, and especially the last year, not caught our attention? CORRUPT! Without our watchmen at the gates, corruption thrives! Our politicians have long been ‘in bed’ with these multinational corporations (and international banks–just another kind of multinational corporation). Together, they have formed a shadow government that is really in charge of much of the world *.

And who is it that stands to gain the most from silencing the voices of the gatekeepers? The corrupt political/corporate/banking government. They marginalize and discredit the voices of opposition. This is always the way it works–discredit the witness.

But, here is something to consider–what do the parties involved stand to gain? Doesn’t the fact that the gatekeeper/whistleblower has nothing to gain lend him more credibility? Doesn’t the fact that he is willing to speak out, sometimes at GREAT personal risk, lend him even greater credibility? Can we not believe that not everyone can be bought, that not everyone is motivated by greed? No, instead we are suspicious of someone whose motives we can’t uncover.

There IS a certain breed of people, motivated by the desire for justice and the welfare of others! Many people can’t understand such a motivation, and believe it is just a cover for something sinister, or for a mental defect. But most of us respect that calling if it is channeled into a career as a pastor, teacher or social worker!

It is time to wake up and realize that what we have needed has been here all along. Every society has its watchmen. They are legitimate in their calling, and they are our first line of defense–against corruption, tyranny, exploitation, etc., etc, etc. It’s time to seek them out and listen!!

* The Bible refers to this present-day political/corporate/banking government, in Revelation, as ‘Babylon the Great’. Some call it ‘The Whore of Babylon’.

 

It’s Time To Push Back!

America–Hijacked!!