22 Kislev 5775

10:50 PST

Going to try to start using Jewish calendar. Talked to [Ryan] about how I had ordered Names of God translation and he alerted me to ISR which I immediately ordered. Waiting on service to begin; perhaps 10 people gathered although most were on time today!

[Ryan] prayer: Jeremiah 11:1-5, 12:17, John 21:12-19

1 John 3:18, 4:20

Jeremiah 17:5-10

[Pastor]: Psalm 138

John 17

15:45 PST

I wanted to wait until I had a more accurate – if that is the word – translation of the scriptures before I dove into this topic, but I feel the need to write my thoughts.

I’ve sampled some of organized Christianity for a few years now and I see two major issues that do not sit right with me. The first is that people go on and on about “knowing the LORD” and “knowing Jesus” but they neither know the Father’s nor the Son’s name! The second issue has to do with our performance of love.

I could elaborate on the name but people may miss the point. As regards love, Yeshua said the world would know his disciples by the love they have for each other. The apostle “John” wrote that if we cannot love the brother whom we we see, how can we love the creator who we cannot? Moreover he admonished the called out ones to love not in word or tongue but in deed and action.

[Psalms 51:16-17, James 1:21-27, 1 John 3:18, Luke 6:46-49]

David writes that YHWH does not desire sacrifice nor burnt offering. James writes about the folly of hearing and not doing. Yeshua himself laments how readily people will call him “Lord, Lord” and yet do not do the things that he says.

Many will tell you many things about how to “get spiritual.” While you sometimes might find a scriptural example of a particular ritual, you’d be hard pressed to find any Biblical character teaching it as a rule. Other than… do the Word!

The Badge of Christianity

John 13:35 (NKJV):

By this, all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

I’m sure we’ve all heard that love is the distinguishing mark of Christianity, yet why does it seem so elusive? There are plenty of scriptures that encourage us to love, to grow in love, or to exemplify love (Hebrews 13:1, Romans 12:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, 2 Peter 1:7-8, and of course 1 Corinthians 13). Yeshua himself states in Matthew 22:36-40 that the sum and substance of the Law and the Prophets (in other words, the entire Old Testament!) is to love YHWH with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.

We know from John 8:39-44 that, without (and before) being born again, we are not sons and daughters of YHWH, but rather sons and daughters of our illegitimate “father” the devil. And he, being the father of lies and incapable of love, did not teach us how to love, but rather how to lust.

Upon being born again and receiving the Holy Spirit, we are equipped with the tools to learn how to love, but like any other spiritual discipline, love must be practiced. We must also discern between the different kinds of love. There are three kinds most Christians are familiar with, along with a mysterious fourth kind I might propose.

The most familiar kind of love, and often the kind we think we have an easy handle on, is eros, the erotic type of love between physical lovers (i.e., man and wife). This type of love is also the type most easily perverted by the devil and turned into lust, and indeed a great deception of our time is the notion that human sexuality is “natural” and that it is “healthy” to explore it and have as much casual sex as one desires. This is not supported in the scriptures, as sex involves soul ties, spiritual unions and “two flesh becoming one” – not something to be done casually. Sexual addictions are often extremely damaging to the people that suffer from them. And as Yeshua taught in the Sermon on the Mount, looking lustfully can be just as spiritually damaging as fully engaging in the act – I can attest to the truth of this having been in bondage to a pornography addiction, which, among other things, corrupts one into viewing the opposite sex as objects and makes it difficult to treat them with true love.

The second type of love familiar to most Christians is phileo love, the kind of love demonstrated between very close friends (such as David and Johnathan). Service in the military is a great place to learn phileo love, as you learn to be willing to sacrifice your own life in preference for the lives of your battle brothers and sisters. Phileo love promotes harmony and unity, as described in Philippians 2:1-4.

The third type of love, exemplified in 1 Corinthians 13, is agapē love – a determined kind of love, a kind of love that says “I am going to love this person unconditionally, no matter the circumstance.” The scripture speaks for itself on this point, so I don’t think I need to elaborate on it much.

The fourth and somewhat mysterious kind of love is called sorgé love, and it is the Father’s love. Yeshua carried the power of sorgé love when he was on the Earth, and imparted sorgé love to heal and to cast out demons and to perform other miracles.

Just as Yeshua said the world would know his disciples by the love they shared for each other, he taught people can be known by their fruits. Because, if you’ll permit the word, real Christianity is about a living and loving relationship with the Creator of the universe, mediated by His Son through His Spirit, the fruit people bear in relationships with other people speak about the fruit of their relationship with the Father and vice versa. 1 John 4:20 attests to this principle.

How do we actually go about demonstrating our love for God? Read and reflect on the book of 1 John – but the sum and substance is, His love abides in us, is perfected in us, and we demonstrate our love for Him if we keep His commandments.

Of course, like anything, intellectual understanding only profits so much. Indeed, re-scripting the mind according to the scriptures and meditating on Biblical examples of love is a necessary first step towards becoming a loving person. But it can’t merely be an intellectual exercise; love must be put into practice. The mind thinks loving thoughts, the mouth confesses loving expressions, and the heart begins to swell with compassion and the same love Yeshua carried on earth.

Metaphysics and Mystical Experiences

Continuing the train of thought from my earlier post on metaphysics:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_P14JjMcM]
The video speaks for itself, so I won’t waste your time repeating its content.

Another topic I consider metaphysical – though some might not – is the topic of the make up of the spiritual realm. I encounter many people who seem happy to believe in Elohim – the Creator – and that a man named Yeshua (Jesus) existed some 2000 years ago. They may or may not believe in the miracles. They may or may not believe in the resurrection. They emphatically agree that loving God and loving your neighbors are the right way to live. But, often because of the history of the Bible or misunderstandings concerning how ancient texts are analyzed and translated, these well meaning people conclude we don’t need the scriptures to tell us how to pursue a relationship with God. When push comes to shove, they often cite their own “spiritual experiences” to back up their assertions.

Now, when I said I considered this topic somewhat metaphysical, it’s because it has to do with the nature of reality that is in fact much more real than observable reality. It kind of goes back to the difference between temporal reality and eternal reality – the spiritual realm is where angels, both righteous and fallen, reside. The Bible clearly affirms the existence of angels, as well as demonic spirits, and the spiritual realm. But if you are one to throw out the scriptures, you may argue that there are no such things as demons, or that Satan is just a metaphor for human misconduct, or there is no such thing as “evil.” And you might be arguing this because – and listen carefully – a demon disguised as an angel of light whispered sweet things in your ear about tolerance and respecting all paths to God and so on and you – being untrained in the scriptures; not believing in the scriptures; not recognizing Yeshua as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the way, the truth, and the life – are now living according to doctrines of demons!

But what really are “spiritual experiences,” especially if people who don’t prescribe to a certain religion can claim to have had such experiences from God? I think William James did a pretty good job summing it up in 1902, though he called them mystical experiences. To summarize, mystical experiences are defined by two major and two minor qualities – in the major, they (1) defy expression, (2) are authoritative as providing insight into truth; in the minor, they (1) are transient (cannot be maintained for a long time) and (2) are passive (i.e. cannot be voluntarily induced).

Don’t believe the what I said 2 paragraphs ago? Despite being exactly one of the people I describe (having succumbed to my own spiritual experiences, and consequently coming to some odd conclusions), the scriptures testify of these matters. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV), Paul warns the church about false apostles but also expounds on Satan’s power to deceive:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Paul also warns Timothy – and by extension Church leadership – about doctrines of demons in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV):

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”

Not every sweet voice that whispers to you good sounding things is of God! 1 John 4:1-3 NKJV:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Why is it so critical we place our trust and faith – pledge our fealty and sacrifice our lives – to Christ? In large part because Christ is truth and everything else is a lie! John 18:37 (NKJV):

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Yeshua answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 14:6 (NKJV) reads:

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 8:31-32 (NKJV) reads:

Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Most people remember verse 32, but not verse 31, which instructs us to abide in Yeshua’s words, to be disciples (disciplined ones) of Him! We can see clearly from the scriptures above that a chief aim (or even THE chief aim) of Yeshua’s earthly ministry was to prove there is an absolute truth and to lead people to that truth! Ever notice how Paul frames spiritual warfare almost in the terms of a debate in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? The scripture reads:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to Christ – the mind is central to spiritual warfare, and truth is central to obtaining the mind of Christ!

We now know that we cannot come to the Father, except through Yeshua. But are we allowed to worship our Father in just any way? Well, the answer has some depth. While Abba – YHWH our Father – is absolutely a loving God (1 John 4:8 NKJV: He who does not love does not know God, for God is love), he is also absolutely a Holy God – Jehovah Tsidkenu, the LORD of righteousness. (Leviticus 19:2 NKJV: “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I YHWH your Elohim am holy.”) In our Father, there isn’t even the slightest hint of evil – James 1:17 NKJV: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

In the Old Covenant, there were many rituals and laws designed to protect people from YHWH’s holiness. You might be saying – say that again? Because the people were sinful – and because the only mediator between YHWH and man was the Law, which was perfect but unattainable for man – YHWH had to protect the people from Himself lest he obliterate them with his holiness. Take for example the story of the profane fire from Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10 1-3 NKJV):

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before YHWH, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from YHWH and devoured them, and they died before YHWH. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what YHWH spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.'”
So Aaron held his peace.

Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire in a manner not instructed according to YHWH’s righteousness and were consumed by his holiness.

Now, Yeshua has come, and stated in John 4:24 (NKJV) “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Moreover, by His death and resurrection, He tore the veil between God and man, pouring out His Spirit and serving as Mediator of a new covenant that grants direct access to our Father (Hebrews 9:11-15 NKJV):

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Yet this still doesn’t mean “worship any which way you please!” As 1 John 2:3-4 states:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Yeshua had many commandments – such as the one above, “abide in My word.” Or the whole Sermon on the Mount. But it’s about time to wrap this post up.

The take away I’m getting at is, you can’t just trust your emotions when it comes to spiritual encounters. Satan is deceitful. Most people aren’t going to knowingly worship something evil, but they might be duped into abandoning the truth for a sweet sounding lie. (This is sometimes called COMPROMISING!) Make sure you know the truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit aid you in living the truth.

Metaphysics and Mystical Experiences

Continuing the train of thought from my earlier post on metaphysics:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_P14JjMcM]
The video speaks for itself, so I won’t waste your time repeating its content.

Another topic I consider metaphysical – though some might not – is the topic of the make up of the spiritual realm. I encounter many people who seem happy to believe in Elohim – the Creator – and that a man named Yeshua (Jesus) existed some 2000 years ago. They may or may not believe in the miracles. They may or may not believe in the resurrection. They emphatically agree that loving God and loving your neighbors are the right way to live. But, often because of the history of the Bible or misunderstandings concerning how ancient texts are analyzed and translated, these well meaning people conclude we don’t need the scriptures to tell us how to pursue a relationship with God. When push comes to shove, they often cite their own “spiritual experiences” to back up their assertions.

Now, when I said I considered this topic somewhat metaphysical, it’s because it has to do with the nature of reality that is in fact much more real than observable reality. It kind of goes back to the difference between temporal reality and eternal reality – the spiritual realm is where angels, both righteous and fallen, reside. The Bible clearly affirms the existence of angels, as well as demonic spirits, and the spiritual realm. But if you are one to throw out the scriptures, you may argue that there are no such things as demons, or that Satan is just a metaphor for human misconduct, or there is no such thing as “evil.” And you might be arguing this because – and listen carefully – a demon disguised as an angel of light whispered sweet things in your ear about tolerance and respecting all paths to God and so on and you – being untrained in the scriptures; not believing in the scriptures; not recognizing Yeshua as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the way, the truth, and the life – are now living according to doctrines of demons!

But what really are “spiritual experiences,” especially if people who don’t prescribe to a certain religion can claim to have had such experiences from God? I think William James did a pretty good job summing it up in 1902, though he called them mystical experiences. To summarize, mystical experiences are defined by two major and two minor qualities – in the major, they (1) defy expression, (2) are authoritative as providing insight into truth; in the minor, they (1) are transient (cannot be maintained for a long time) and (2) are passive (i.e. cannot be voluntarily induced).

Don’t believe the what I said 2 paragraphs ago? Despite being exactly one of the people I describe (having succumbed to my own spiritual experiences, and consequently coming to some odd conclusions), the scriptures testify of these matters. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV), Paul warns the church about false apostles but also expounds on Satan’s power to deceive:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Paul also warns Timothy – and by extension Church leadership – about doctrines of demons in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV):

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”

Not every sweet voice that whispers to you good sounding things is of God! 1 John 4:1-3 NKJV:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Why is it so critical we place our trust and faith – pledge our fealty and sacrifice our lives – to Christ? In large part because Christ is truth and everything else is a lie! John 18:37 (NKJV):

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Yeshua answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 14:6 (NKJV) reads:

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 8:31-32 (NKJV) reads:

Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Most people remember verse 32, but not verse 31, which instructs us to abide in Yeshua’s words, to be disciples (disciplined ones) of Him! We can see clearly from the scriptures above that a chief aim (or even THE chief aim) of Yeshua’s earthly ministry was to prove there is an absolute truth and to lead people to that truth! Ever notice how Paul frames spiritual warfare almost in the terms of a debate in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? The scripture reads:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to Christ – the mind is central to spiritual warfare, and truth is central to obtaining the mind of Christ!

We now know that we cannot come to the Father, except through Yeshua. But are we allowed to worship our Father in just any way? Well, the answer has some depth. While Abba – YHWH our Father – is absolutely a loving God (1 John 4:8 NKJV: He who does not love does not know God, for God is love), he is also absolutely a Holy God – Jehovah Tsidkenu, the LORD of righteousness. (Leviticus 19:2 NKJV: “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I YHWH your Elohim am holy.”) In our Father, there isn’t even the slightest hint of evil – James 1:17 NKJV: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

In the Old Covenant, there were many rituals and laws designed to protect people from YHWH’s holiness. You might be saying – say that again? Because the people were sinful – and because the only mediator between YHWH and man was the Law, which was perfect but unattainable for man – YHWH had to protect the people from Himself lest he obliterate them with his holiness. Take for example the story of the profane fire from Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10 1-3 NKJV):

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before YHWH, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from YHWH and devoured them, and they died before YHWH. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what YHWH spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.'”
So Aaron held his peace.

Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire in a manner not instructed according to YHWH’s righteousness and were consumed by his holiness.

Now, Yeshua has come, and stated in John 4:24 (NKJV) “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Moreover, by His death and resurrection, He tore the veil between God and man, pouring out His Spirit and serving as Mediator of a new covenant that grants direct access to our Father (Hebrews 9:11-15 NKJV):

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Yet this still doesn’t mean “worship any which way you please!” As 1 John 2:3-4 states:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Yeshua had many commandments – such as the one above, “abide in My word.” Or the whole Sermon on the Mount. But it’s about time to wrap this post up.

The take away I’m getting at is, you can’t just trust your emotions when it comes to spiritual encounters. Satan is deceitful. Most people aren’t going to knowingly worship something evil, but they might be duped into abandoning the truth for a sweet sounding lie. (This is sometimes called COMPROMISING!) Make sure you know the truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit aid you in living the truth.

Words Words Words

Sorry about not updating for a bit. Part of the problem is that I’m not sure exactly who my audience is or what exactly they’d like to hear, so, anybody leaving feedback asking to hear about such and such subject or tale or what have you would be greatly appreciated. Here are the various periods of my life which may or may not be interesting to learn about:

  • Childhood to parents divorcing, 1988 til ~2002
  • Divorce to dropping out of high school and moving to Utah ~2002 til 2006 (with the help of a good friend and his brother, until I turned 18 at which point I lived on my own)
  • Living in Utah until I ship to boot camp, and the rationale behind changing from a relatively “liberal,” “anti-war” sort of guy to a Marine, July 2006 to October 2007
  • Boot camp, Marine Combat Training, and MOS (military occupational specialty) school plus my final stateside leave before shipping out for Okinawa, October 2007 to January 2009
  • Okinawa tour, January 2009 – February 14th, 2010
  • February 14th 2010 til approximately June 2011, aka the Wounded Warrior Battalion, early “retirement” and the psych ward hat trick

Note also that my own personal memory is notoriously bad and can sometimes be at odd with the “facts.” Then again, a lot of the “facts” (especially prior to 2002) are hard to discern because everybody in the family has a different take on just what happened, so, who knows. Anything after 2004 is more or less reliable, as I started to better keep track of and document things.

Anyway, today’s got me thinking about contrasts. It always comes as a shock to me when people tell me I’ve been a positive influence on them. Two examples of this really stand out in my mind – the first was when many of the Marines in my company looked up to me as a hero shortly before (and, more surprisingly, even after!) the incident two years ago, and the second was just recently when somebody told me that I had saved their life.

This contrasts quite sharply with the rather horrible, self-absorbed way I’ve more or less taken a crap on a lot of people who’ve had the misfortune of caring about me. Most people I just kept at an arm’s distance, and this “worked” well enough for me and for them. But there were others who got fed up with my games and tried to call me on my BS, which prompted me to vent all over them. The first such person I can remember doing this to was SD, and I was pretty well wrapped up in regret about that for a long time. The situation more or less “resolved” itself (as best it could) around January 2009 when I realized that things were just going to be the way they were.

Then there was KL, who was a more recent victim than SD. For what were probably stupid and selfish reasons, I basically told KL to get bent and swore I would never correspond again. Then, under the influence of the events of February 14th, 2010, I email KL with a very curt apology, which, surprisingly, is accepted. Of course, being that I’d be locked away in a military psych ward for a while, I don’t get back to KL for another month besides. And as you can imagine, talking to somebody while you’re still locked up doesn’t exactly lead to profitable conversation. Not to mention my treatment the first time around wasn’t the best (which those of you who read my “God Complex” write up last year might remember – for those of you who didn’t read it, I may or may not get around to putting it back up)…

So yes, having someone tell me I saved their life contrasts quite sharply with how I’ve treated these other people. Moreover, my outlook on my own behavior contrasts quite sharply these days as well – it wasn’t long ago when I actually prided myself on how much of a douche I had been to these people. This is evidenced by today’s retro post. I think there were other emails where I said even nastier things – and then I’d go around and gloat to certain friends about some of my choicer phrases, leaving them in awe that I’d actually say such things to people.

We’ll close with some scripture that more or less speaks for itself. First, some verses to remind me not to be prideful, as I once was:

[COLOSSIANS 3:12-15] Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

If you’re like me, you may have problems knowing what love is. (Which gives me an idea for a post for tomorrow if nobody chimes in with feedback!) Thankfully, scripture can clear this up:

[1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-8, 13] Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away…. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Leading with Reluctance: The Strategy of the Recluse

It works, but you're still doing it wrong.

When Ferdinand wrote about his reasons for launching In Mala Fide 3.0, it caused me to reflect upon my own experiences. Alte called him out for his position of leadership in whatever you might call this community. She had said “I know you guys don’t like to think of yourselves as leaders because leadership is a burden…but leaders aren’t defined by self-declaration. Leaders are defined by the fact that they’re followed.” What follows could be described as my personal philosophy of leadership. Take it for what it is worth.

I have been in leadership positions for much of my life and I would characterize my leadership style as “reluctant” at best. I don’t like the burden but I’ve been in many situations where I could tell no one else was capable of shouldering it. Some of these positions were trivial, such as leading a video gaming clan and teaching casual players how to play to win. Others were more serious, such as being an assistant manager for a high volume store, responsible for managing the inventory and the professional growth + training of the employees under me. And others were “no joke,” as the kids say, such as shouldering the hopes and dreams of an entire company of Marines as I conveyed their grievances to our battalion commander. Writing this post will be somewhat in violation of my own principles; in order to talk about my strategies I must tell you my successes and I wouldn’t normally do that, but I digress. Continue reading