Tone Police

Tone Policing is a logical fallacy (ad hominem). “The ad hominem fallacy occurs whenever the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing an argument is criticized instead of seeking to disprove the argument provided.”

[Philosophy Lander.edu]

Announcement: Register for special live Zoom interview and Q&A with Os Guinness
Monday, August 8th at 7pmCT

REGISTER HERE

I’ve observed a disturbing trend in the American church.

Tone Policing is a problem among leaders. It needs to stop immediately. Are you a church leader? You are held to a higher standard.

What is Tone Policing?

Tone Policing is “a conversational tactic that dismisses the ideas being communicated when they are perceived to be delivered in an angry, frustrated, sad, fearful, or otherwise emotionally charged manner.” [dictionary.com]

Wikipedia says, “Tone policing (also called tone trolling, tone argument, and tone fallacy) is an ad hominem (personal attack) and anti-debate tactic based on criticizing a person for expressing emotion.

Tone policing detracts from the truth or falsity of a statement by attacking the tone in which it was presented rather than the message itself… it prioritizes the comfort of the privileged person (in authority) in the situation over the oppression of the disadvantaged person.

While anyone can engage in tone policing, it is frequently aimed at women as a way to prevent a woman from making a point in the discussion. It is a means to deflect attention from injustice and relocate the problem in the style of the complaint, rather than address the complaint itself.

Note: Women can be guilty of Tone Policing. This is directed at male church leaders.

Tone Policing is a logical fallacy (ad hominem). “The ad hominem fallacy occurs whenever the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing an argument is criticized instead of seeking to disprove the argument provided.” [Philosophy Lander.edu]

Often times, a personal attack using tone as the offense is converted into a strawman fallacy by someone I’ll call the “Tone Policeman.”

[Cue the siren and the red and blue lights]

A Tone Policeman assumes the role of; victim, hero or social justice warrior in order to coerce, criticize, or manipulate. Accusations of tone crimes shame, silence, degrade, abuse, or bully in order to achieve a desired result (submission or silence).

Interestingly, Tone Policing contains a resemblance to Herbert Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance” with a more pronounced psychologized expression. Think ‘Cancelling’ someone based on their tone (expressed emotion).

Tone Police reside in the domain of organizational power and authority. They typically employ psychologized therapeutic language in order to manipulate. They create an offense where there is no offense.

Tone Policing is a speech code similar to Political Correctness. Instead of censoring certain words or phrases, Tone Police attempt to govern intent and meaning based on vocal inflection or perceived emotion. Both Political Correctness and Tone Policing are extremely toxic and unloving.

How is Tone Policing used?

Tone Policemen attempt to relocate a substantive statement or argument into the domain of style or tone (expressing emotion). It is a deflection tactic that dismisses or ignores the core issue(s). The issue is not the issue, Tone is the issue. In other words, tone trumps substance or truth. A guilty verdict is pronounced by the one in power over someone else for expressing emotion (tone).

Most often a Man’s Game

Typically, the Tone Police tactic is used by men in authority to manipulate women who do not possess power. While women can be guilty of using the Tone Tactic, its most often men. Occasionally, men in authority use it against other men as a power play, defensive/deflection tactic, or psychological manipulation.

Ultimately, this is a passive-aggressive tactic wrapped in therapeutic language.

Left unchecked, a Tone Policeman will go on to gas-light, damage relationships, and toxify an organization.

Example: Mary brings a substantive problem to her male boss with urgency. Because women are perceived as more emotional than men, her boss (Tony) dismisses the substance of the problem. Then he makes perceived emotion (tone) the problem – regardless of the validity of the claim being made by Mary.

Tony says something like, “You know, Mary, I don’t appreciate your tone.” Or “I find your tone very hurtful.” Or “Your tone is so abrasive and harsh.” Or “Mary, you seem joyless, what’s wrong with you?”

Tony is saying, “What you are telling me is true but I don’t like the way you are telling me truth (tone). So, I’ll negate the truth and attack you personally based on your tone. You are guilty of expressing emotion!”

Content and validity are brushed aside while subjective tone is reframed as the issue.

Christian Tone Police take cues from worldly sentimentalities and pop-psychology rather than the Bible.

Sometimes, Tone Policemen produce man-tears. One can cry and lie at the same time, you know. Ask any parent of a 4 year old child. Other times, tone is attributed to body-language. “She had an aggressive posture toward me.” Or “I didn’t like the way she looked at me, it hurt my feelings.”

Most commonly, men in authority use this hurtful and deceitful method to silence or dominate women. Instead of trying to understand the substance of an issue, they create presumptions, inferences, and deflections.

Increasingly in America, we see grown men in Christian leadership roles wallow in feigned self-pity, contrived offense, psychological fragility, and hurt feelings. And men who have experienced actual abused or exploitation are overrun by a crowd of charlatans.

The Darker Side of Tone Police

Some Tone Policemen are so enamored with the spurious glittering therapeutic power of spells they cast, it’s astounding. They relish silencing and controlling others in order to insulate themselves, protect their psychological comfort, or dominate and humiliate others. These males are cowards and don’t deserve the title of ‘Man’ in a biblical sense.

Dealing with Tone Police

Remember, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” [Proverbs 15:1]

Bring the issue forward to one in authority with confidence. I recommend the following steps:

1. Write down the problem – This helps you articulate it and ensure you have a valid issue. To the best of your knowledge, is it true?
2. Pray over the issue and interactions.
3. Invite someone else to the meeting (if appropriate).
4. Take a few moments to breath deeply.
5. Be kind, be firm, be honest, and be courageous (Fear of man is a snare – Fear of God leads to wisdom and peace)

Dr. Henry Thompson says, “Have emotions but don’t allow emotions to have you.
James 3-4 teaches about our tongues and worldliness.

Self-awareness:

Tone Policing is subconsciously learned social behavior. It is catechized through culture via various means (family, media, entertainment, etc). That does not excuse it. If you are not self-aware enough to understand you are manipulating someone, you are not mature enough for leadership.

Responding to Tone Police:

If you are on the receiving end, take a moment and assess yourself and the situation. Then tell the Tone Policeman that their ad hominem (personal) attack is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Expose the logical fallacy and offer them an opportunity to re-address the issue. If they continue to pull the Tone card, tell them you won’t be manipulated or entertain it any longer. Leave their presence. If they continue, report it to someone else in authority [Follow Matthew 18].

Tone Policing is Sin:

Tone Policing is a sin because it’s a manipulation of another human being. The cure is repentance before God and reconciliation with those manipulated and harmed.

Warning to Tone Police:

If you engage in Tone Policing, you run the risk of alienation from community, co-workers, and friends who you depend on. Back-sliding and destroying your Christian witness become growing risks.

Additionally, you run the risk of misreading scripture because you will read God’s Word through a lens of ‘tone.’ That is dangerously thin theological ice.

Someone will say, “But wait, Jesus He was kind and gentle. He used a compassionate tone.” True, but Jesus Christ offered stern words and harsh language without sinning.

Read the texts below, see if Jesus Christ would be pulled over by the Tone Police and given a Tone Ticket for speaking the truth in an off-putting, emotionally-charged tone.

Matthew 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”

Matthew 12:34-35 “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”

From Luke:

11:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces….

11:46 “And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers….”

11:52 “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

11:53-54 “As he (Jesus) went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.”

Warning from Luke:

12:1-3…. “[Jesus] began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”

What is the Alternative to Tone Policing?

Listen and speak truth plainly, firmly and humbly as before the Lord. Try to discern truth even as you are being harshly criticized or confronted by an emotionally charged person. Remember, you are a Christian leader! You have a higher calling. If you are so insecure that you resort to Tone Policing, you need to choose another profession. Or you can Repent!!! Ask for forgiveness! Then, work towards restoration with others!

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!”
[Pslam 139:23-24]

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” [Proverbs 19:11]

In all things, charity.

The prophet is specially called to critique and challenge the people of God when they have forgotten or betrayed their original calling. Thus Moses confronted the people of God over the golden calf, Elijah over the prophets of Baal, Jesus over legalism and hypocrisy, Martin Luther over the distortion of faith, and Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer over the idolatry of nationalism. Such prophetic critiques were often delivered with outrage, but they were not denials of the chosenness of those attacked. On the contrary, the purpose of critique is restoration, not dismissal. The prophets were specially called and their prophetic messages were special calls to bring God’s people back to the original calling from which they had fallen away.
Os Guinness

The Call

You are worthy and valuable

The truth is the truth regardless if you believe it or not. You are very valuable! You have so many fine qualities. You are made in the image of God. Therefore, you have intrinsic value and worth. No one, not even you can change that reality. The truth is the truth regardless if you believe it or not.

The Lord put a word on my heart that I must share with you. Not sharing would be to deny water to the thirsty.

Someone needs to hear this today…

Several years ago, I’ll never forget I heard Pastor Dr. Greg Cook talk about how we’re all “self-deceived deceivers.” Spot on!

Since I was a small child, I struggled with a deep-seated sense of worthlessness. Perhaps it was my upbringing or a traumatic event I can’t remember. It was a lie I believed about myself and that lie shaped my life in many ways for many years. It led to chaos, destruction, and casualties in the lives of others. But, over the years, Christ delivered victory. To God be the Glory!

To a greater or lesser extent, we all believe lies about ourselves and our value as a human beings. We believe a deception, then we deceive ourselves, then we deceive others by putting up a facade. Finally, we believe the facade is the real us – forgetting who we are. The false notion becomes so real that our lives can be built on a lie we believed long ago. Many times, we’re not aware that we’re acting on a false belief about ourselves.

Maybe someone made you feel worthless at some point in your life. The devil got a foothold in your mind and breathed out lies that you believe to this day.

Dear Christ-follower,

DO NOT believe lies the devil or the world have told you to believe about yourself!

The TRUTH is, you are so very valuable! You have many fine qualities. You are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, you have intrinsic value and worth. No one, not even you, can change that reality. The truth is the truth regardless if you believe it or not. Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead for you. He took your sin and worthlessness upon himself. He gave you the crown of life and the keys to his Kingdom.

Ask the Lord to reveal to you the lies you believe about yourself. Ask him to use other Christian brothers and sisters who love you to help you see clearly and believe the truth. Repent of believing a lie and believe the Gospel. Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to yourself each day and believe it!

Here are some truths to believe:

– In Christ, you are WORTHY because He is WORTHY! (Roman 8:17, Rev. 5:12) That is TRUTH!

– You have so many fine qualities, talents, gifts and beauty in who God made you to be. There is only one you! This is TRUTH!

– You are loved by the creator of the universe, who knitted you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139). This is TRUTH!

– You did not choose the circumstances of your birth but, God ordained them in His providence (Acts 17:26). This is TRUTH!

– Before the foundations of the world, the Lamb was slain for you (Rev. 13:8). This is TRUTH!

– Therefore, you were, you are and you always will be part of God’s Story (Eph. 2:8-10). This is TRUTH!

– It is NO accident you are on this earth. Today was and is in God’s plan for you. This is TRUTH!

If you have experienced victory in Christ over deep-seated feelings of worthlessness, praise Him afresh today! Now, help someone else experience that same victory. Encourage someone, tell someone they are valuable and they have many fine qualities.

You have the power to influence conversations tonight by how you serve and treat people in your life today. What is the story you want told this evening? …. Begin by telling it now.

Someone once said, “All of Christ for all of life!” Make it so, Lord!

Conquering the Madness of the Moment with God’s Story

God structured reality in such a way and embedded reality in his creation so that His image-bearers (humans) can apprehend it, albeit imperfectly. For sure, the fallen world, sin and broken lives distort and dim the good world God created. But, that is not the end of the story. It’s just a moment.

We live in an ever expanding crisis-centered culture.

Stress at home and at work, and free-floating anxiety are in the air. It seems like you can almost touch it. The world says, “just deal with it” as moments like waves pound you like an ocean storm. Some deal with stress and anxiety by indulging in excesses like drinking, eating, drugs, video games, social media scrolling, pornography, or other unhealthy activities. Some will fall into a pit of despair, depression, or apathy. Many barely make it through the day. It’s a chore to sleep at night. The alarm goes off in the morning shouting, “Wake up! Another crisis ensues!” It can be maddening.

I hear it and see it in the faces of people everywhere. It’s a problem.

The “Out of Control vs. Control” Problem

Most situations we face are completely out of our control. You can only control yourself and your responses – which is extremely difficult.

Out of My Control:

Are you helpless to do anything about a world on fire?

School shootings, natural disasters, wars, a traffic jam on the way to work, a serious health diagnosis, a family member making destructive decisions, an abusive boss, a flat tire, or the dying garden caused by the relentless Texas heat are examples of our limited control.

Don’t confuse the madness of the moment with the bigger story. Remember, we live in moments within a bigger story.

Open your newspaper or newsfeed. You come face to face with empirical evidence of evil, brokenness, and pain. Deep down you know what you’re seeing and experiencing is bad, it’s wrong, it’s cruel, it’s unjust! The madness of the moment militates against a deeper notion that the world is not supposed to be this way. Something is wrong.

Where did the notion that “the world and life are not supposed to be this way” come from?

C.S. Lewis said about his conversion from atheism to Christianity the following, “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” (Lewis’s full quote below this post)

In other words, although we live in a world of brokenness and sin, God did not obliterate goodness, truth and beauty embedded in creation. In a fallen world things are disjointed, distorted and decaying. However, God structured reality in his creation so that His image-bearers (humans) can apprehend it, albeit imperfectly. The fallen world, sin, and broken lives distort and dim God’s good creation. But, that is not the end of the story. It’s just a moment.

By God’s mercy that we have “some idea of a straight line.” The “straight line” is God’s Story.

Within My Control:

Presuppositional truths of the Christian worldview – God’s Story:

1. God is… (God exists, whether one believes or not does not change reality of God’s existence)
2. God is the source of all goodness, truth and beauty…
3. God created all things…
4. God created all things good… (God is the source of good).
5. Sin entered creation because man chose to “be like God” and rebel against his creator…
6. Creation fell into the curse of brokenness, pain, decay and death…
7. But, God sent Jesus Christ to redeem people from sin and His creation from the curse…
8. God is setting right what sin sets wrong…
9. God is currently redeeming and will restore all things in the future…

How to Conquer the Madness of the Moment

Remember The Story
So, when you find yourself caught up in the madness of the moment, remember The Story. Out-narrate the moment with God’s bigger unstoppable redemptive story. It is The Story we inhabit. The Story can be described in four chapters; creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. The story of the Bible contains all other stories.

Did you choose the circumstances of your birth?

Of course not, we did not decide where, when, and to whom we were born. We were born into a cultural moment within God’s bigger Story.

Discover or Rediscover Your Calling
Every man or woman’s life mission is to seek out their unique role in The Story. Merely existing is NOT what life is all about. Escaping life’s troubles and pain through pleasure or distraction leads to meaninglessness, madness, and self-destruction.

God created you for this place and time to serve His purposes in this generation.

Those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” (Roman 10:13) Those who God saves He calls into the biggest, truest and most beautiful Story ever told. God writes His Story with the lives of ordinary people just like you and me – moment by moment, one life at a time.

Reflect on the following:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
– Isaiah 26:3

“Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to his summons and service.” – Os Guinness

Note: Join me as I interview Os Guinness on August 8, 2022 at 7pmCT via live Zoom (ask your questions). Link…

“For the secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

C.S. Lewis’s full quote from above:
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it?… Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if i did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

Live Interview with Dr. Christopher Yuan (Holy Sexuality and the Gospel

On Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 7pmCT, we hosted a live virtual Zoom event with Dr. Christopher Yuan, author of the book Holy Sexuality and The Gospel.

Watch the video recording – Link below.

We discussed identity and sexuality from a biblical perspective, how to reach and apply the essence of the gospel to a gay loved one, what Christ-followers can do to minister in to those struggling with same-sex attraction, the importance of prayer, and more.

Please SHARE this event within your spheres of influence.

Bio – Christopher Yuan
Dr. Christopher Yuan has taught the Bible at Moody Bible Institute for twelve years and his speaking ministry on faith and sexuality has reached five continents. He speaks at conferences, on college campuses, and in churches. He has co-authored with his mother their memoir, Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God, A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope (100,000 copies sold and now in seven languages). He is also the author of Giving a Voice to the Voiceless. Christopher graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2005 and received a master’s in biblical exegesis in 2007 and a doctorate of ministry in 2014. Dr. Yuan’s newest book, Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story, was named 2020 Book of the Year for Social Issues by Outreach Magazine.

Dr. Leon and Angela Yuan have experienced much heartache from a broken marriage and their prodigal sons. But, God has given them the grace to rely upon His power to change the unchangeable and focus upon their own daily renewal and transformation. Learn more at www.christopheryuan.com

Resources mentioned:

Live interview and Q&A with Monique Duson

Monday, June 6, 2022 at 7pmCT, we hosted a live virtual Zoom event with Monique Duson from the Center For Biblical Unity.

Watch the video recording – Link below.

Monique Duson has a background in social service and children’s ministry. She has worked with a diverse array of under-served communities.

Monique worked as a Missionary to South Africa for over four years, serving children and teachers impacted by drugs, violence, and trauma.

She spent two decades advocating for Critical Race Theory (CRT), but through a series of events, began to clearly see the contradictions of CRT with the historic Christian worldview. Monique is now convinced that CRT is not the best way to achieve racial unity and actively speaks out against the use of CRT within the church. Her mission is to promote a vision for racial healing based on the historic Christian worldview.

Monique has appeared on shows such as Relatable (with Allie Beth Stuckey), the Alisa Childers podcast, and Breakpoint (with John Stonestreet). Monique has a BA in Sociology from Biola University. She is working on a MA in Theology.

Monique has appeared at Wilberforce Weekend (Colson Center for Christian Worldview) two years in a row. Monique is one of the most sought after Christian thinkers and speakers on race and culture. She is straight forward, funny, and encouraging.

Leadership: Your interactions today will be the topic at dinner tonight

As a leader, you must have the self awareness to understand that every interaction you have with your team today will have an impact. Like waves that radiate from a stone thrown into a tranquil pond of water, your interaction will wash into the lives of the families and friends of your team.

Have you heard the name Stephanie Louise Kwolek? Probably not.

Kwolek was a Polish-American chemist who worked at DuPont for nearly 40 years. In 1965, she invented one of the most significant materials in modern times. This material has saved millions of lives.

Five times stronger than steel. Kevlar is an unbelievably durable material. It’s mainly known for use in “bullet-proof vests.” But, Kevlar can withstand 500 °F for seventy hours. It holds up in −320.8 °F cold.

“Kevlar is used as a material in more than 200 applications, including tennis rackets, skis, parachute lines, boats, airplanes, ropes, cables, and bullet-proof vests. It has been used for car tires, fire fighter boots, hockey sticks, cut-resistant gloves and armored cars. It has also been used for protective building materials like bomb-proof materials, hurricane safe rooms, and bridge reinforcements. During the week of Kwolek’s death, the one millionth bullet-resistant vest made with Kevlar was sold. Kevlar is also used to build cellular telephones; [Wikipedia]

At nearly 48 years old, I’ve been in the trenches and learned so much about relationships – often times the hard way.

In leadership roles, I’ve failed more times than I’ve succeeded. My failure file is much larger than my success file.

When asked about all the failures he experienced attempting to invent the first lightbulb, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” In other words, Edison saw failures as vital steps toward success. I imagine Stephanie Kwolek failed a few times as well on her journey to create Kevlar.

Today, I see my failures at creating durable relationships as steps toward success. While I’m still a work in progress, I’ve at least made progress at becoming a bit better leader than I was yesterday (I hope).

As I see it, every interaction I have with someone adds credit to a relationship account. Every time I open up and allow the team into my life to see the good and bad, more credit is added to that account. Every time I can own a mistake or ask for forgiveness for doing something wrong, more credit. Every time I can celebrate with a teammate, credit. Every time, I can come along side and help them through a tough time, credit. Every time I pray with and for my teammates, credit. Every time I invest even a moment acknowledging their contribution to the mission and vision, credit is put in that relationship’s account.

My cup runneth over!

This is not about some flimsy transactional relationship model. I use the word ‘credit’ because that’s the best way I can think of to describe how to build and cultivate deep relationships on a team.

Perhaps, I’m trying to be like Stephanie Kwolek, I want to create the most durable fabric possible within the culture of my team. I don’t want to create cheap thin polyester fabric, I want Kevlar relationships – bullet-proof relationships with a lot of grace and dynamism.

Your interactions today will be the topic of conversation around the dinner table tonight.

As a leader, you must have the self awareness to understand that every interaction you have with your team today will have an impact. Like waves that radiate from a stone thrown into a tranquil pond of water, your interaction will wash into the lives of the families and friends of your team.

If you stop and think about it, as a leader, you have the power to shape the conversations long after the work day is over.

If you have such significant influence in someone’s life, don’t you think it’s important to understand the consequences of every single interaction with your team whether its verbal or non-verbal? It’s a relational stewardship – a huge responsibility.

How was your day?

Imagine someone on your team whom you lead going home after a hard day at work and sitting down at the dinner table with his or her spouse and children. Perhaps, the spouse asks, “How was your day?” The children pause eating and cast their gaze exhausted parent.

This is where your earlier interaction has the power to shape the entire evening of that family.

What if your team member responded with a description of how you ignored her or berated her over a mistake, or lost your temper, or didn’t listen, or made them feel like a cog in a wheel, or didn’t communicate something important, or allowed conflict to fester within the team?

What a sad story to tell at the dinner table, right?

That story will have a ripple effect beyond dinner. The children sharing their winning goal at the soccer game, or good grade on a math test matter very little when their father or mother is demoralized and feels unloved or unseen by their leader.

On the other hand… What if that person on your team responded to the question, “How was your day?” differently.

What if, their eyes lit up, a huge smile crossed their face, and a tear of joy moistened the corner of their eye as they excitedly shared what their leader said to them today? They tell the family how you (the leader) stopped by and took time to remind them they are important to the organization. How you said, that the project you’ve been working on for weeks matters, despite the challenges. How you thanked them for their hard work and grace with you as the leader. How you asked about their family or prayed for them on the spot!

Perhaps, you as the leader asked for forgiveness for being short or owned a mistake? Maybe, they tell the story of how you recognized their contribution or comforted them or asked for advice on an important project. What if it all you did was simply give your team member a big smile, a nod of approval, and wink of the eye just to acknowledge their contribution or a job well done?

That interaction will not only place more credit in your account, it will strengthen the relational fabric of the team – making it more bullet-proof and fire-resistant.

Most importantly, your interactions with your team today will be the topic of conversation around the dinner table tonight – and beyond.

What is the story you want told tonight?

Not a story all about you, but about how you made someone feel significant, appreciated, cared for, valued, and connected to something bigger than themselves.

That should be the story every leader should want told about them around the dinner table tonight.

So, why don’t you create that story when you go to work today? Don’t just pass by your team members without being aware that you have the privilege of shaping their story.

What that story will be is up to you. Make it a good one.

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”
– Proverbs 22:1

Special Thanks to my mentor and coach, General David Warner (Ret.) for making me aware how my attitude and actions impact the people around me. It makes me want to be a better leader, a leader who leads like Christ.

In-person Course: Culture and the Christian Worldview – Ft. Worth, TX

Deeper questions won’t be answered by shallow arguments.

UNKNOWN

Culture and the Christian Worldview – 8 week In-person Course at Christ Chapel Bible Church (Fort Worth Campus)

SPACE IS LIMITED – REGISTER TODAY

I want to share some exciting news! We’ll be offering a new class at our Fort Worth Campus beginning Sunday, May 1st. We will be covering how a robust biblical worldview should inform and guide our thoughts, conversations, and actions.

– Do you feel equipped to share you Christian worldview?

– Do you understand how and why people think the way they do?

– Do you struggle having crucial conversations with people who seem so far away from the truth?

– Do you grieve for loved ones, friends, and a culture that appears to be spiraling out of control?

– How do we disciple people through this cultural moment while reaching the lost?

Please feel free to forward and share with family and friends who may be interested.

Course Details:

Dates: Sunday, May 1st-June 26th (not meeting on Mother’s Day)
Time: 12:30pm-1:45pm
Location: The Den (Fort Worth Campus)
Childcare Available
Lunch provided
Resources provided
Cost: $20 per person
Ages: High School Student +
*This course will NOT be streamed or recorded – in-person only*

Register here…

Purpose and Expectations:

“Culture and the Christian Worldview” is an 8 week deep-dive into what it means to live out a Christian worldview in your spheres of influence. You’ll learn how to respond to our cultural moment in light of God’s Story.

The purpose is to equip and train you to:

1. Think critically about tough issues.
2. Articulate a biblical worldview with confidence.
3. Reach others for Christ for His Glory.

You will gain valuable knowledge, practical skills, and the confidence to engage in conversations about the important issues we face in this cultural moment.

What to expect:

– Develop a Christian understanding of worldview.
– Discover how culture informs us.
– Explore current societal pressure points.
– How we can walk wisely in our cultural moment (a cultural response).

As we explore topics and cultural issues, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in table discussions and ask questions in a context of Christian community.

We are created by God and called by God to this cultural moment!

Reflect on the following passages:

“God made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”
(Acts 17:26)

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:10)

In other words, God made you for this time and place in human history to be His ambassador to a broken world.

Thank you and see you this Sunday!

Learn more and register.

*This course will NOT be streamed or recorded – in-person only*

Sacred Cows, Ideas and Innovation

Innovative ideas begin to shape future reality before the innovation is even fully developed. The Thinking Christian must possess a biblical foundation and the cultural intelligence to understand that ideas capture the imagination prior to being fully adopted and acted upon.

Who invented the smartphone? Well, certainly Alexander Graham Bell and Antonio Meucci and Edison and Tesla had something to do with it. And the folks at Fairchild. And Palm and Cisco and General Magic and countless others.
When we insist on waiting until it’s done before we share it, we walk away from the most important component of innovation.

Seth Godin

Innovative ideas begin to shape future reality before the innovation is even fully developed.

Innovation is not limited to smartphones, the internet, or technology. Ideas like hospitals, orphanages, and liberty were innovations. Just as ideas like Critical Race Theory, postmodernism, queer theory, and trans-humanism were innovations. Ideas beget ideas and those ideas shape reality for good or ill.

Ideas are never stagnant. Once shared, they circulate and diffuse through groups of people. Before those ideas are even fully developed, they begin to mold the social imagination and sentiments. We live in a world structured around ideas. We often refer to it as ‘culture.’

Our cultural moment is shaped by innovative ideas and forces that began decades ago. Contrary to popular belief, not all innovations are good or beneficial. Innovative ideas emerge from the worldview of the person who conceived them. As an idea flows from the academy down through music, arts, media, elite circles, and politics, that idea carries with it a worldview (a belief about reality and how we behave based on that belief). The question is whether or not the worldview embedded in an idea is good or not – true or not.

We must ask questions:

“If I believe this idea, what is the result?”
“Where does this idea lead if taken to its logical conclusion?”
“Does this idea lead to human flourishing for everyone or just some?”
“Does this idea potentially harm people?”

For instance, women living in most Islamic cultures do not have the same rights as men. At some point, when faced with the innovation of the car, some Islamic clerics responded by putting forth the idea that women should not be allowed to drive. The result is that in a few (not all) Muslim majority societies, women are forbidden from driving or heavily restricted. This creates the conditions where females are dependent on males for transportation. Thus, limiting mobility and ultimately, freedom (of women).

Another example can be observed in predominantly Hindu cultures like India. The cow is sacred to most practicing Hindus in India. Cows cannot be killed or harmed in Hindu cultures. Due to the caste system, the population is segregated. The upper castes are forbidden from associating with the lowest caste (referred to as the ‘untouchables’). This creates the conditions of zero socioeconomic upward mobility for lower classes. They are stuck. When people are stuck, they are trapped in perpetual poverty – many are starving.

What does this have to do with sacred cows?

Since cattle cannot be killed or harmed in Hindu cultures, it means they cannot be used for food. India could feed its starving people beef but the idea that cattle cannot be killed prevents that from occurring. The result is malnutrition and mass starvation that could be prevented. Imagine 1200 lbs. of beef walking down the middle of the street crowded with starving people.

Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims. The idea of forbidding people to consume what God created for food is a bad idea. People die. Sacred Cows make good hamburger meat and maybe its time to innovate with the idea to feed the starving people of India beef.

The Thinking Christian must possess a biblical foundation and the cultural intelligence to understand that ideas capture the imagination prior to being fully adopted and acted upon. We need to understand that innovation is not limited to technologies. Ideas are innovations as well. I’d argue that ideas are far more powerful than technological innovations.

The solution?

We must recover a biblical vision of total reality, objective truth, and innovate against the bad ideas that harm people and God’s world. By simply sharing innovative ideas about that which is good, true and beautiful, we are actually shaping the future for God’s glory.

We would do well to develop a theology of innovation – beginning with “In the beginning God created…”

The Gospel of the Kingdom proclamation that Christ is risen and is currently ruling and reigning over ALL things, and that He will restore ALL things is the most powerful innovation ever. Let’s begin innovating with the truth – there’s an idea worth sharing.

Gaining Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence

Cultivating Wisdom and developing greater Cultural Intelligence will help you understand the time and place you live, along with the people who inhabit the world with you.

In a world of disinformation, misinformation, mass-formation, click-bait, and soundbites how are we to know what to believe or respond?

How are we to navigate challenging conversations? How are we to create real solutions for seemingly impossible problems? The majority of real and lasting solutions to problems are created locally, not by distant institutions or bureaucracies. You and I are responsible for bringing solutions in our own spheres.

Now more than ever, we need Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence. How?

Let’s begin with wisdom.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Wisdom is defined as;
a : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
b : good sense : judgement
c : generally accepted belief
d : accumulated philosophical or scientific learning : knowledge

The world defines wisdom as a proper application of knowledge, or judgement.

While that definition is helpful, a theological definition brings a fuller vision of wisdom into view. Michael S. Craven defines wisdom as an “ancient virtue.” He develops it further by stating, “Wisdom is an ability, it’s a skill. It’s the ability to discern what is good, true and beautiful.

Wisdom is not the same as education or knowledge.

Wisdom is not attained through academic or intellectual pursuits. Wisdom and its opposite folly (or foolishness) are moral categories. No amount of education can make one wise. Wisdom can’t be learned by just reading books or listening to lectures. Those are just means of transferring information. By all means, we should all read and learn. However, we should not confuse academic knowledge with wisdom.

We all know wise people who do not have a college degree or who barely finished high school. Think of that older lady or gentleman in your life who may not have a formal education but, they are extremely wise. You seek out their advice and act on it, right?

On the same token, we all know foolish people who have degrees from the finest universities. They’ve attained the highest levels of knowledge but they are foolish. Think of professionals, CEOs, doctors, heads of state, attorneys, and the like who make foolish decisions and end up in jail or on the front page of the paper. Would you seek out their advice?

In our modern culture, we falsely believe we can educate people into being moral and wise citizens. Highly educated people are not necessarily wise people. In fact, education devoid of morality and the virtue of wisdom can create morally empty monsters (fools). They use their academic knowledge for ill. Today, we educate a man without cultivating virtue in him. Thus, we give him more advanced and sinister devices to commit evil.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”


– C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Biblical wisdom is deep, immeasurable, priceless, and rare.” (Dr. Michael A. Milton)

My working definition of Wisdom.


Wisdom begins with the fear of God. Wisdom is the art and virtue of living one’s life by applying understanding of God’s moral commands. It is the active application of knowledge, understanding, and discernment to everyday life. It leads to answering the deeper questions of life. Wisdom is designed to be passed down to future generations. In fact, not transmitting wisdom to the young is foolishness.

What is the purpose of wisdom?

Wisdom brings the individual in line with reality as God created it. It aligns the one who attains wisdom with God’s commands. The result is a rich and meaningful life that brings a ‘moral good’ into the culture.

It begs the question, “Do I want my children and grand children to live wisely or foolishly?” If I hope for the former, then it is my responsibility to transmit wisdom to them. It is their responsibility to apply wisdom and live accordingly.

Cultural Intelligence

Without going into too, much detail, I’ll give you my working definition. Cultural Intelligence is the understanding of the place, time, people, and movements of a current moment. It combines a kind of a cultural situational awareness with an understanding of historical antecedents, current reality, and ability to extrapolate where society is heading. Cultural Intelligence is the ability to draw the cords of the past, present, and future in order to understand how to respond. In other words, Cultural Intelligence is understanding the times in order to respond properly.

To be culturally astute, one must understand the assumptions and sub-currents that shape current reality. This affects how we think of ourselves in relationship with others and the world around us.

How does one cultivate Cultural Intelligence?

It requires effort. Reading books, news papers and blogs, watching forms of media, and such is required. The objective is to posess a general understanding of how an issue became an issue. Reading primary sources and counter-perspectives is vital to Cultural Intelligence. Understanding where and why people disagree is clarifying and helps our critical thinking. Talking to others who are either experiencing something or have a good working knowledge of an issue is important as well.

For instance, the suicide rate among teenagers and young adults has risen significantly in the last three years in America. Why? What set the preconditions for this to occur? What are the root causes of the current suicide crisis? Simple, one answer conclusions rarely reveal the root cause. We must dig deeper. When we do, we often discover a confluence of movements, events, sub-currents, and philosophies leading to the current moment. The massive uptick in suicides did not just appear out of thin air. We’re seeing the emergence of an issue that is decades in the making.

The Tsunami Example

An analogy may be helpful. A tsunami is created by the shift of tectonic plates deep with in the earth (or volcano). That shift generates an earthquake. The movement from the quake displaces water deep beneath the ocean’s surface. It transfers energy from land to water. As the energy moves through the ocean, it creates a wave. That wave undetectable on the surface until it approaches shallows. By the time it crashes on the shore, they tsunami can be a hundred feet tall and move at 20-30 mph (NOAA).  It only takes one foot of water moving at these speeds to carry away vehicles and destroy buildings. Remember the tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004? It was devastating.

So, the suicide epidemic in America is much like a tsunami. In order to solve it, we must understand how it came to be – it’s root causes. This is where Cultural Intelligence comes in.

The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert to cultivate Cultural Intelligence. You just need to be open-minded, a critical thinker, and willing to accept facts as they are. You have to be willing to learn from history and explore deeper understanding. Often times, that will require conversations with people who are very different from you. That’s the exciting part!

Combining Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence

In the final analysis, cultivating Wisdom and developing greater Cultural Intelligence will help you understand the time and place you live, along with the people who inhabit the world with you. We live in a world of massive institutional programs and one-size-fits-all solutions pushed by governments and corporations. Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence will help you bring meaningful solutions that are localized to your community. The majority of real and lasting solutions for social problems are created locally, not by distant institutions or bureaucracies. At the end of the day, you and I are the ones responsible for bringing solutions to the problems we face.

Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence are necessary now more than ever. Below are some resources to help you on your quest!

 …

Additional Resources:

What does the Bible say about wisdom?

Proverbs: The Wisdom We Need Right Now

BreakPoint Podcast and Commentaries

Colson Fellowship

What Time Is It?

The modern concept of time is truly unique to moderns.
One of the most powerful technologies ever invented was the clock. Prior to the clock, time measurement was not precise. Seconds, minutes and even hours were not something humans considered. Think about a world without clocks and watches for a moment.

What time is it? What if I told you, your watch, the timepiece on your phone nor the clock on your wall can tell you what time it is. Time is a realm we think we understand but don’t.

We’re told that in the grand sweeping scope of human history, we’re just a ‘blip on the radar’ – Here today and gone tomorrow! That is true to some extent. But, are we to live like a ‘blip’?

Are we simply left to resign ourselves to a YOLO (You Only Life Once) mentality in which we strive for every mountaintop experience or pleasure we can find? Or are we just left to thoughts of life as some cruel joke?

Do our individual, family, community, and national stories trickle like meaningless isolated streams through human history?

Are we to adopt the fatalistic determinism of Friedrich Nietzsche where human existence is a cold dark reality and life is absurd and hollow?

By no means!

Here’s the question behind the question.

Does your individual life have meaning?

Either life has meaning or it doesn’t. How you answer that question will determine how you live.

What we believe about the meaning of life will determine how to understand time.

A major over-arching theme in my work is to help individuals realize they are created for a time and place. Moreover, you (reader) were born into a certain family, in a specific location, culture and time in history.

The modern concept of time is truly unique to moderns.

One of the most powerful technologies every invented was the clock. Prior to the clock, time measurement was not precise. Seconds, minutes and even hours were not something humans considered. Think about a world without clocks and watches for a moment. Today, cultures remain that do not share the modern-western understanding of time. We tend to call those people “backwards” or “behind the times.” But are they really?

As moderns, we are time bound slaves to the clocks on our wrists, phones, walls, and calendars. I hear the refrain, “I don’t have time!” “I’m running out of time!” “I’m killing time.”

In our rush and hurry between meetings and events, we miss the everlasting moment that is rich with meaing. Frantic activity is followed by chronic inertia. It’s exhausting and sucks the joy and meaning out of life. We wake up and ask, “Where did the time go?”

Don’t confuse the moment with the story. Don’t miss giftedness of each moment.

“Time is at the heart of our existence.”
– Os Guiness

Time therefore has a purpose. You were placed in a specific time and location in history. Don’t miss the significance of that.

In the book, “Carpe Diem Redeemed – Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times“, Os Guinness makes two points to reflect upon.

You have a choice to know and develop a relationship with the “Author of Time” or not. If there is a God who created time, space and reality, don’t you think it’s important to know him?

If you determine that God is the “Author of Time” then, you need to learn what part He calls you to play in His “grand story.”

Os Guiness suggests, “We will never be able to see and understand time objectively” if we are so immersed in time that we miss the bigger story we’re a part of.

I leave you with the question and one of my favorite passages.

What time is it?

Reflect and meditate on this passage:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

Ecclesiates 3:1-11

“So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)