Life and Values


 

Easter has come and gone once again. It is a time that probably affects the entire world. People are on the move—some for religious reasons, others for pleasure and relaxation. The concept of Easter being a contentious subject, and a prickly pear situation for many, has led me to write this article.

ROOTS

As what some of the months in our yearly calendar are named after pagan gods (e.g. January is named after the god Janus, and March after the god Mars) so also the days of the week have a pagan origin (e.g. Thursday is named after Thor, the god of thunder). In Afrikaans Thursday is known as “Donderdag” meaning “day of thunder”.

Similarly, we find that Easter was originally named after the goddess Eastre or Ostara. She was the goddess of dawn, spring and fertility. The presence of the rabbit or hare during Easter was attributed largely to the fact that they were prolific breeders. They could have a few litters in a year and became a symbol of fertility welcoming spring, the season of new life and abundance. It is also known that eggs have been considered to be symbols of new life and fertility through the ages. Many ancient cultures used eggs during their spring festivals.

“In ancient Anglo-Saxon myth, Ostara is the personification of the rising sun. In that capacity she is associated with the spring and is considered to be a fertility goddess. She is the friend of all children and to amuse them she changed her pet bird into a rabbit. This rabbit brought forth brightly colored eggs, which the goddess gave to the children as gifts. From her name and rites the festival of Easter is derived.” (Encyclopedia Mythica)

The following is an extract from an article written by Warwick Taylor on hot cross buns:

The custom of eating spiced buns on Good Friday is believed to have been introduced to England by the Romans, but the tradition can also be traced back to the Saxon goddess Eastre, after whom Easter was named. Special dishes, including a spiced bun, were prepared in her honour during the annual spring festival to ensure fertility and protection in the coming year. Similar spicy sweet breads decorated with a simple cross were baked in ancient Greece and Egypt, and used as religious offerings.

This ritual was later adopted by the Christian church and became a common practice of the Easter celebration in England. In Tudor times the sale of these buns was banned by law, except on Good Friday, at Christmas and at burials. The fact that they were generally sold hot led to the later incorporation of the word “hot” into the name.

It has been recorded that in the 12th century monks baked the buns and placed the cross on them as a symbol of the Christian faith. It was believed that hanging a hot cross bun in the house on Good Friday offered protection from bad luck in the coming year.

It is believed by many researchers that Eastre or Ostara goes by many names in different cultures and she is in fact the same goddess that is mentioned in the Bible as the Queen of Heaven. (Jeremiah 7:18) It is also believed that the hot cross buns we know today actually originate from the cakes of bread that were offered to her by the people of Judah when their hearts were turned from God.

SHOOTS

Through the centuries, during the month of April, Christians have been commemorating the death and burial of Jesus Christ on Good Friday and celebrating His resurrection on Easter Sunday. Added to this, the eating of hot cross buns, Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies form part of the festivities. It seems that with the passing of time we have developed a fruit salad of Christianity and Paganism. Is this all wrong? Should we celebrate Easter? Are we actually paying homage to Eastre when we eat hot cross buns, Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies? Should we change the names of the months and days of the week that are named after false gods? (In Korea the months are numbered and not named.) Where does one draw the line? There are many different schools of thought concerning this prickly matter.

What are my thoughts? Let me attempt to briefly expound without being long-winded or tedious:

Firstly, all the traditions and festivities mentioned above are what Jesus called “the rules taught by men” in Matthew 15:9. The problems came in when the people placed their traditions above God and his commands, and in the process disobeyed Him. They honoured Him with their lips but their hearts were far away.  I believe this is the crux of the matter. There will always be different cultures and traditions. As we participate in, and partake of these however, we need to ask ourselves how our involvement affects our relationship with Christ. Does it improve, hamper or actually have no effect on our relationship with Him.

I quote Romans 14:5, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

This indicates that what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another. The emphasis is on being fully persuaded in your mind that what you are doing is right for you, and that your action or belief is in no way impeding your relationship with God.

We read in Colossians 2:16-17 “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality however, is found in Christ.”

Christ has come and has completed it all. His last words on the cross were, “it is finished.” Nothing more is therefore necessary for us to do except to follow Him in love and obedience in our daily lives. In fact the only celebration that Jesus encourages us to continue with till his return is the breaking of bread (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). However, this does by no means mean that you cannot, or may not participate in any other celebration or tradition. You are free in Him to make your own choices and no man has the authority to tell you otherwise. Therefore do as your heart compels you, for if Jesus Christ lives within you, He will guide you in all your ways and you will walk in His freedom.

FRUITS

As a child I experienced Easter as a time of hunting for painted eggs hidden away in our garden. It was fun but I never knew why I was doing it. I remember hot cross buns were bought before the Easter weekend but to my great disappointment we were only allowed to eat them on the Sunday. When I unhappily asked why, I was told because Christ had risen on the Sunday. That was the tradition in our house. I was never informed as to how everything fitted together, and I never understood what hot cross buns and painted eggs had to do with Jesus. It was only in adulthood after I had committed my life to Christ that I began to really question these things, and then discovered the truth and the origin of all these traditions.

We all know the saying “knowledge is power” and in Matthew15:6 Jesus said, “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” If we mix the truth with our traditions and are unable to discern the difference or separate the two, we will not understand or walk in the fullness of God’s promises for us. As Christians who truly seek to walk in the freedom of Christ we need to know the truth, and it is our task to teach and inform our children because it is the truth that sets us free.

In conclusion therefore, regarding traditions similar to the ones mentioned above, my husband and I use the following guidelines, and it gives us peace:

  1. Understand the origin of the relevant tradition.
  2. Question whether your participation in that tradition would improve, hamper, or in fact have no effect on your relationship with Jesus Christ.
  3. After consideration of the above two aspects, decide whether it is really important enough for you to participate in that tradition.

 

And so I end off with the words of Jesus Christ. He said in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

___________________________________________________________

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to pass it along to your friends.

All that I ask is that you include the copyright and URL of my website.

© Lorna Kirstein

http://kirsteinonline.com

 

 

 

 

FREEDOM’S QUEST

 

Freedom is what the vast majority cry for

And what the liberating military vie for

It’s what the dictators primarily lie for

And what the oppressed silently die for

 

Freedom receives sociological definition

And reveals philosophical vision

It conceives theological exposition

And conceals political ambition

 

Freedom is by authors romantically portrayed

And by actors brilliantly displayed

By orators it’s poetically conveyed

And by believers religiously prayed

 

Freedom’s quest is fervently sought

And professed most zealously fought

Its best can never be eternally bought

But its rest is ever thankfully caught

 

(C) Emil Kirstein, April 2006

___________________________________________________________

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to pass it along to your friends.

All that I ask is that you include the copyright and URL of my website.

© Emil Kirstein

(Author of Quest for Freedom)

http://kirsteinonline.com

 

THE WAITING ROOM

“Come, Penny! Come an’ sit here with Mommy.” Her gentle voice reached out across the waiting room to the little girl pushing the magazines around on the table. Some patients looked at the little girl playing with the magazines, whilst others briefly glanced at the petite mother before continuing to browse through their magazines.

The baldheaded old man who sat opposite the mother, frowned, glared at her and grunted, “Penny! Umph! What a name to burden the child with!”

All eyes were immediately focused on the grumpy old man. He surely got everybody’s attention. The mother looked rather bewildered and sheepishly responded with a soft, “What do you mean?”

The old man went into a coughing fit—a serious congested cough. Some patients put hankies in front of their mouths and noses—swine flu being the buzz word. Settling down after the coughing episode, the old man started his tirade, “Do you know what a penny’s worth? It’s absolutely worthless! Worthless, I tell you!

“In my day a penny had value, but today—it’s worthless, worthless. Do you know what the recession has done to my savings? The stock market has crashed and every penny I’ve saved over a lifetime has become worthless—worthless, I tell you. And inflation! Do you realize what inflation has done to my pension? Every time I go into a supermarket I get less stuff in my trolley for my weekly allowance. My money has become worthless! And then you name this little child, Penny! Do you realize that every time you call her, you’re calling her ‘Worthless!’ Shame on you!”

There was a stunned silence in the waiting room. All who had to cough suppressed it. All who had to sneeze kept it in. The atmosphere seemed more like that of a funeral parlor than a doctor’s waiting room. The silence was broken as the old man went into another coughing fit.

The petite mother was taken aback and her complexion swayed between shocked pale and embarrassed pink. Tears started to role from her eyes as she softly muttered, “Penny is short for Penelope.”

The old man discharged the second barrel of his double gauge barrage, “Penny—short for Penelope! Umph! Why didn’t you rather use ‘Elope’ as a short name. Then she would’ve been able to run away from this mess we’re all in, instead of being worthless in the middle of it!

“Woman, don’t you know the importance of a name? If your name’s ‘Stupid’ and everybody calls you by your name, you start responding to ‘Stupid’ and eventually you not only believe you’re ‘Stupid,’ but you actually start behaving ‘Stupid.’ And then finally, you simply are ‘Stupid!’ Do you understand what I’m saying? What’s your name, anyway? No, rather don’t tell me. By you calling your child ‘Worthless’ I can easily guess your name, personality and character.”

The receptionist interrupted the spectacle, and said, “Mr. Spike Thorne? The doctor is ready to see you now. You may go through.”

___________________________________________________________

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to pass it along to your friends.

All that I ask is that you include the copyright and URL of my website.

© Emil Kirstein

(Author of Quest for Freedom)

http://kirsteinonline.com


The Pursuit of Happiness

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour a day to drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They talked about their wives and families, their jobs and where they had been. And every afternoon when the man in the bed at the window could sit up, he would pass the time telling his roommate all the things he could see out of the window.

The man in the other bed would live for that hour when his world was broadened and enlivened with all the activity and color of the outside world. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake, the man had said. Ducks and swans played on the water, whilst children sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amid flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape with the city skyline in the background.

As the man described what he saw, the man in the other bed would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. The man grew envious of his roommate’s position at the window. He thought it unfair that he never got to be at the window and he became resentful. Late one night, as he was lying staring at the ceiling, the old man at the window began to cough. He turned his head and watched the old man struggle to breathe as the fluid filled his lungs. He knew he could press the button to call the nurse, but did nothing. After about five minutes the coughing subsided and the room was quiet. The next morning the nurse arrived to find the man’s lifeless body and took him away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the man asked if his bed could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to move him and as soon as he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, the man propped himself up on one elbow to look through the window. Finally he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to look out of the window at his bed. It faced a blank wall….

(Author unknown)

__________________________________________________________

Above is the story of two men reacting differently to the same circumstances they are trapped in. Despite the situation, the man at the window had made a conscious choice to see beauty instead of bricks and in so doing was able to find joy and share it with his roommate thereby lighting up his life. The roommate, however, was not content with what he heard. He was envious and resentful of the man’s joy which he attributed to the position at the window. He wanted it all, so he callously watched the man’s death without lifting a finger in order to obtain that position for himself. Finally, when he had what he had coveted, he was rudely awakened to the harrowing truth and ended up with nothing.

Someone once said, “The pursuit of happiness is a matter of choice. It is a positive attitude we consciously choose to express. It is not a gift that gets delivered on our doorstep each morning, nor does it come through the window.”

Our circumstances do play a significant role as regards to what makes us joyful, but if we wait for them to become perfect, thinking that will bring true, lasting joy, we will be gravely disappointed in the end. We live in an imperfect world where there is much sadness, suffering, pain and poverty, and this situation is not getting better. However, when we know who Christ is, what He has done for us, and we choose to allow His Spirit to dwell in us, true joy flows from within giving us strength to face and overcome life’s many challenges, and at the same time touch the lives of those who come in contact with us.

Paul had discovered this joy and strength in Christ. That is why he could say, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:12)

May our knowledge and understanding of Christ and His love for us grow in the year that lies ahead as we allow Him to dwell in us and give us joy and strength to face and overcome whatever obstacle or challenge lies ahead.

__________________________________________________________

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to pass it along to your friends.

All that I ask is that you include the copyright and URL of my website.

© Lorna Kirstein

http://kirsteinonline.com

A Chinese man and a Jewish man were eating lunch in the same restaurant. Suddenly, without warning the Jew got up, walked over to the Chinese fellow and smashed him in the mouth, sending him sprawling. The Chinese man picked himself up, rubbed his jaw and asked, “What in the world did you do that for?” And the answer came back, “For Pearl Harbour!” His response was total astonishment, “Pearl Harbour? I didn’t have anything to do with Pearl Harbour. It was the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbour.” The Jew responded, “Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese… they’re all the same to me.” With that they both sat down again, and before too long the Chinese man got up, walked over to the Jew and sent him flying with a hard smack to the jaw. The Jew yelled out, “What did you do that for?” And the answer came back, “The Titanic.” The Jew responded, “The Titanic? Why, I didn’t have anything to do with the Titanic!” Whereupon the Chinese man replied, “Goldberg, Feinberg, Iceberg… they’re all the same to me!”

Even though we can truly smile at the tenacious stupidity of prejudice portrayed in the above illustration, we have to admit that our own behaviour isn’t much different on many an occasion! Yes, the very same prejudice portrayed above finds its way into our very own lives in such a subtle way that we stand amazed when accused of such stupendous behaviour. And this happens in the sociological, political and economical spheres of life; in business, politics and church; in absolutely every area of our lives.

  • Have you ever suffered harm or hurt at the hands of a person from another race (white, black, pink or green), and now you classify them all as…?
  • Have you ever done business with a Christian (or Muslim, or Jew, or Greek, or Indian, or German), had a raw deal, and now you classify them all as…?
  • Have you ever been molested by a man (or woman, or adult), and now you classify them all as…?
  • Have you ever had a bad experience in your dealings with your bank (or church, or doctor, or municipality, or lawyer, or supermarket, or police), and now you classify them all as…?
  • Have you ever … and now you classify them all as…?

The list is infinite. The common denominator is prejudice where the thinking is basically that all must pay for the sin of one. This is diametrically opposed to the message of the Gospel where One paid for the sin of all!

Prejudice is a luxury true leaders can’t afford. When policies, philosophies and practices are founded on prejudice, the vision is distorted, the mission is corrupted, the emission is hatred and the final conclusion is death.

Adolf Hitler orchestrated the rise of the Third Reich on racial purity and supremacy, amongst other reasons, which resulted in the extermination of “inferior” peoples like the Jews and the Gypsies. The basis of hatred, founded on prejudice, was well established. And the end result? Death of the vision… death of the mission… and death of the leadership…

In South Africa we have deep embedded prejudices. The government strives to “legislate equality, acceptance and tolerance.” However, prejudice is not a matter of the law, but a matter of the heart! The law is limited in function by only being able to punish offenders. But a change of heart, a change of thinking, a change of how we see other people, results in a permanent change of the attitudes of people, which will render the law irrelevant and immaterial. When we listen to the political rhetoric of certain of today’s firebrands, it’s quite clear that prejudice is alive and well in our society, and that a change of heart is desperately needed.

Leaders need beware of prejudice. Those who engage in it are merely emulating the behaviour of the Chinese and Jewish gentlemen in the illustration. Not only does prejudice prove personal stupidity, but also out of it is born diseases like racism, sexism, superiority, pride, and the like—which in turn lead to hatred, violence and those terrible diseases of the soul. And how the devil enjoys division! He actually specialises in this field. When a person falls prey to prejudice he’s a very effective tool in the hands of the devil in causing division. And this is regardless of the standing or position of the person concerned.

The process to eradicate prejudice starts with the leaders. There are normally more followers than leaders, and the followers emulate the example of their leaders. Leaders who advocate tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness, radiate a Godly love that changes people. However, leaders must have a first hand experience of receiving that Godly love, tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness prior giving it away—for one simply cannot give what one does not have.

As leaders it is imperative to determine whether there is any prejudice alive in our beings, and to remedy the situation in our own lives without delay—through the grace and love of God.

Where we all desire a better South Africa as far as business, government and Christianity is concerned, let each leader take up the challenge and act—having said, “It starts right here! It starts with me!”

___________________________________________________________

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to pass it along to your friends.

All that I ask is that you include the copyright and URL of my website.

© Emil Kirstein

(Author of Quest for Freedom)

http://kirsteinonline.com

The Man who Stilled the Water

Only when you’ve lost everything, and there seems to be no hope, do you fully understand what it means to put your hand in the hand of the Man who stilled the water. Only then do you truly experience the saving grace and salvation of the Man who calmed the sea. You come to understand that the salvation He offers is not only spiritual, and for the world to come, but also for all insurmountable situations and practical problems suffered on this earth.

Sometimes we kick and fight a door that will not open until we come to the end of ourselves, and give up in hopeless dejection. Only then do we turn to our Saviour for help, and only then do we realize that this Man from Galilee has the power to open doors that were impossible for us or any other man to open.

Many times the door that God opens for us is not the one we would have chosen, and for us to pass through it means we have to give up our precious comfort zones that give us safety and security. The situation can be aptly compared to that of a mother eagle kicking her unwilling chicks out of the warm nest in order to teach them to fly. Once out of that comfortable nest they were initially so reluctant to leave, they discover the greater wonder awaiting them outside. Likewise, most human beings find change disturbing and often vehemently resist it, so there come times when God has to deal with us in a way similar to that of the mother eagle with her offspring. Once we have been set free from the limitations of our comfort zones and securities, we discover and experience God in an amazing new dimension, our faith is stretched and we are able to trust Him more than ever before.

If the eaglets had remained in their nest they would have experienced warmth and safety but they would never have learnt to fly. They would never have discovered the world outside, or the potential inside of themselves enabling them to be part of it. The same applies to us. When we remain in our comfort zones we feel safe and secure. However, we will only discover the greatness of God and our potential in Him if we of our own accord break free from our confining boundaries, or if we allow Him to set us free from the limitations of our false securities. Peter had to get out of the boat, and walk to Jesus in order to experience the miracle of walking on the water. If he had remained in the safety of the boat he would never have known it was possible to accomplish such an astonishing feat.

All things are possible for those who believe and put their trust in this Son of God who is the great I Am. He will never turn away from, or ignore those who cry out to Him in anguish and fear when their fruitless efforts fail, and all their securities crumble. What a great and awesome God we serve who loves us with such deep and eternal love. He is, and must be, our only security because He alone is faithful and worthy of our trust. Throughout history He has proved Himself to be the omnipotent Rock of ages and He hasn’t changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He will see us through our darkest hours and bring us into His glorious light.

All He desires is our total dependence and trust in Him, however, there are times when these attributes are severely put to the test—for instance when our salvation is not immediate and we find we have to wait for it. That waiting period is undoubtedly a perceptive test of our endurance and trust in Him. The secret is that if we are able to depend totally on Him in a formidable situation, He gives us the strength to wait until the end—and be saved by His mighty hand. Irrespective of how daunting, grim or impossible a situation may seem He will certainly give us ultimate victory. We need never hesitate, doubt or fear to put our hand in that strong, faithful hand of His.

The lyrics of an old song “Put your hand in the Hand” that was sung by Elvis Presley and many others in the 1970s come to mind and still ring true:

Put your hand in the hand of the man

Who stilled the water…

Put your hand in the hand of the man

Who calmed the sea…

Take a look at yourself,

And you can look at others differently,

By puttin’ your hand in the hand of the man

From the Galilee!

__________________________________________________________

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to pass it along to your friends.

All that I ask is that you include the copyright and URL of my website.

© Lorna Kirstein

http://kirsteinonline.com

The original lyrics and music of “Put your hand in the Hand” were written by the Canadian songwriter Gene Maclellan.

QUESTION AND THINK
We live in an “instant” world and in a “spoon-fed” society. Sadly, I’ve found that most people are too lazy to think for themselves. They rely on what they’re fed, and swallow anything and everything that’s dished up—bait, hook, line and sinker. And if it’s dressed up and well presented, it goes down even better. The coming of the Internet has facilitated research and the flow of information. However, too many Internet users accept, believe and propagate what they read without doing any verification homework.

True leaders simply aren’t like that—they question and they think! Questions such as who, what, where, when, why, how, etc. need constantly be asked to prevent indoctrination and misinformation.

Ontology is that branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of being. Thus the ontological question endeavors to provide an answer to the question, “What is it?” Epistemology is that branch of philosophy that deals with the validity, methods and scope of knowledge. Thus the epistemological question endeavors to provide an answer to the question, “How do we know that.”

Leaders needn’t be philosophers, but leaders need to ask questions and think for themselves. Too often we coin the phrase, “knowledge is power,” yet we fail in our responsibility to obtain verified knowledge. We’re content in our comfort zone of untested information.

In failing to ask the question, “How do you know that?” we become prone to the reasoning of other people. Their arguments, statements or agendas dominate the table, and we inevitably end up by discussing and debating the opinions of others. By asking the simple question, “How do you know that?” the entire emphasis is shifted from discussing a statement that everyone is supposed to accept as factual, to proving that statement as factual in the first instance, prior discussing it.

Let’s look at a very practical example. A person says that the remains of dinosaurs that lived 150 million years ago were discovered. Now the ensuing debate normally is about whether there were dinosaurs or not, whether evolution or creationism is the correct interpretation of origin, and the like. However, by simply asking the question, “How do you know that dinosaurs lived 150 million years ago?” the entire emphasis is shifted on the one making the statement, to prove his statement. And the irony of this exercise is that he can’t, because there are too many suppositions in the equation to make any reasonable sense at the end of the day.

Mankind has firstly been conditioned to accept the words of those in “authority” for they “know” what they are talking about. But do they? Unless we challenge their statements we’ll never really know what’s right and what’s not. Furthermore, mankind has been conditioned not to question for it’s an unacceptable practice, very rude and extremely disrespectful. Thus we’re conditioned not to think for ourselves—and to be followers where others lead.

Academic schools of thought present a certain sense of credibility which results in the fact that Joe Soap hardly ever questions their allegations and findings. This gives them power over the people. When a school of thought can control what people believe and think, they have power over those people, and they have “willing” and “controlled” followers!

Of this there are many practical examples throughout history. In South Africa the political concept of “apartheid” was dished up to the masses, who, without questioning and thinking for themselves, swallowed it for many a year. Not only do we have this in politics, but also in religion, where but a few “anointed” have the “insight” and “revelation” to interpret “the way.”

Sadly, this is also evident in Christianity! And this happens despite the fact the Bereans were commended for daily verifying the Scriptures to see whether Paul had been teaching the truth. I’ve a very simply question to the person in the pew, “Do you check what you’re being taught?” I also have a question for the person in the pulpit, “Do you ask your hearers to check if what you teach is true?”

Scientists are another group of people prone to this kind of thing. The theory of evolution has become a fact—without anyone proving a thing. Medical science has ridiculed the spiritual as “unscientific” to such an extent that believers have more faith in their doctors and their pills than in their Creator and Healer. A very small group of academics who prescribe to the humanistic world view have virtually taken over the world with their value system.

Evidently, if you make enough noise, if you sound credible enough, if you use the right platforms, you aren’t questioned sufficiently and your hollow philosophy turns into a masterpiece!

Tradition is another very powerful tool in the hands of manipulators. We are told to do things or believe things in certain ways because “it has always been done that way.” This is found in the political, spiritual, sociological and economic spheres of life. And because we simply don’t dare question our forefathers and think for ourselves, tradition, instead of reason and truth, rules our lives and dictates our belief systems. Thus today we still have societies in certain parts of the world that are governed by traditions dating back thousands of years—ignoring progress and innovation for the sake of tradition.

Why is it true that when a fable is repeated often enough it becomes accepted as a fact? Because no one questions the fable sufficiently! Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? These questions separate the leaders from the followers. These questions separate the thinkers from the undiscerning.

Ignorance and blind acceptance of what you’re told and taught give others power over you. Knowledge, truth and understanding enable and empower you—it makes a leader out of you. No wonder then that Jesus Himself said that knowledge of the truth sets free! In politics, in business and in the church, start asking questions. “What is it?” “How do you know that?” “Why should I do that?” These questions serve as a dividing line between fact and fable, between substance and nonsense, between reality and fantasy. It’s one of the marks of separation between a leader and a follower.

The Biblical reference that “rebellion is as witchcraft” is often misinterpreted and very effectively abused by classifying questioning as rebellion, and thus suppressing the development of independent thinking. The full context of the Scripture refers to obedience to the voice of the Lord and rebelling against the word of the Lord. It has nothing to do with questioning the rules and laws of man, with questioning the reasoning and revelations of the learned, or with questioning the authority of man over man.

Just for a moment picture a scene so often seen on TV: There’s a speaker—a religious preacher, a political orator, a public speaker, a popular entertainer… And there’s an audience—fascinated, captivated, entranced, emotional, and lapping up every word… Have you ever wondered about what you’re witnessing? Have you ever marvelled at the seeming adoration of the hearers? Have you ever been a part of such an audience? Have you ever questioned the speaker? “How do you know that?” “What is it?” Questions such as who, what, where, when, why, how, etc.

True leadership consists of integrity and accountability. If truth and knowledge of the truth is not part of the equation, both integrity and accountability become no more than mere empty words.

How then can a leader obtain knowledge, and in that, knowledge of the truth? Ask! Ask questions! Think! Think clearly about the answers, evaluate them carefully and discerningly—and then ask even more questions! And most importantly, leaders question everything! Often we’re apt to only question the things that don’t suit us, but we blindly follow the things that suit us or sort of make sense to us.

My challenge to you, dear reader, is simply this: QUESTION and THINK. It is true knowledge that empowers, and truth that sets free—not the indoctrination, manipulation or control of others.

__________________________________________________________
If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to pass it along to your friends.
All that I ask is that you include the copyright and URL of my website.

© Emil Kirstein

(Author of Quest for Freedom)

http://kirsteinonline.com

Next Page »