personal 'mission statement.'
see myself as called as a teacher to help prepare those students whom God
has put in my trust - by helping them discover the particular role God
has called or commissioned them to perform as servant-leaders, and to prepare
them to be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves in carrying out that
particular goals [in order of increasing importance] are to help them develop
1) basic knowledge
concerning our world and its ways – and techniques for adding to that knowledge
as future needs arise;
2) the wisdom to know how
to use that knowledge to make wise decisions as servant-leaders;
3) the character to ensure
that this wisdom will always be used in the service of mankind and to the
glory of God.
a 'Christian political science.'
am a teacher - though mostly in the style of a preacher (and vice versa:
I teach when I preach and I preach when I teach). When called to
speak about what I know to be true I have but one thought in mind:
to invite others to consider with me the world that lays at our feet -
with the choice before us to either approach it God's way or
know the choice well. I have, at various stages of my life, pursued
one course - then the other. I have played it man's or the world's
way: a very successful organization man as a university professor, a government
administrator, an IBM systems analyst, and as an ordained Presbyterian
minister and contributing member of a great corporate church. But
I have also played it God's way, living on life's edge, doing street ministry,
jail ministry, church revitalization, and Christian school teaching - trusting
in God to help support a family of six while I devoted myself to his ministry.
the two, the better choice by far has been to play life God's way.
I learned this at an early age - even when it wasn't very clear to me who
exactly God was. But I did have some sense of a higher hand on my
life - and thus lived boldly. Now I play it with the clearest of
understanding, teaching young Americans about how choosing for God will
fill their lives with vision, significance, and a deep sense of being alive
I put the matter a different way - in contrasting what I term the 'mysticism'
of the Christian life, versus the mechanical process of living the life
of worldly 'materialism':
- in particular the variety that strives to be more than a mere nominal
version of Christianity and instead truly to follow Christ
or its subcategories,
Humanism ("man is
Darwinism ("man is
life as a network of vital inter- personal relationships encouraged and
supported by a loving God
life as a perfect mechanical order of material things (including humans)
functioning precisely according to natural design
as far or high as human thought / dreams / imagination can go
||... the visible
world of material things
harmonization with life ... through love and the quest for partnership with
both God and fellow man
dominance over life ... through the mechanical control of both man and
his material environment
mystic union with the Supreme Source (God) of all life, which offers man
the power to embrace life fully, even in the
face of hardship and opposition
scientific and technological know- ledge, which ideally offers man (as
his own God!) the power to control life and even eliminate hardship and
a cooperative community (demo- cracy of
equals) founded on well understood or 'traditional' values shared widely
chain-of-command system (status hierarchy) operating according to the utopian
or 'progressive' plans and programs of a ruling elite
prophet or teacher; a person who teaches and inspires right behavior in
governor or manager; a person who commands and enforces right behavior
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - appealed to Americans to do what they well
knew was 'the right thing' - to get past our prejudices and open up our
middle class democracy to all alike, regardless of skin color.
Lyndon Johnson - created a new' Great Society' program directed by equally
new Washington experts (he did not trust Americans, especially fellow Southerners,
to do 'the right thing' on their own)
Christ - his teachings and example led the way to a sense of unity with
God and fellow man
Stalin - his brutal dictatorship imposed industrialism on Russia ... executing
and starving millions of Russians in the process
find ways to fit in; to find ways to
contribute to the life of the community ("keep up with the Jones")
find ways to achieve elite status; to find ways to climb to the top of
the social order ("get ahead of the Jones")
learning in order to gain the
knowledge vital to being the best possible contributor to the well-being
of the world
learning in order to qualify for entrance into the elite institutions (such
as colleges and professions) that lead to power, fame and wealth
||the joy of
joy of owning, directing, control- ling, dominating
God showed up.
I am one who rather late
in life came to understand the world we inhabit in Biblical terms.
I have become a 'Christian political scientist.' Over time I grew increasingly
amazed at how the Bible – especially the Jewish Scriptures or 'Old Testament'
– speaks so powerfully about the social condition of man ... the heart
of social dynamics that pose themselves to all humans, Americans, Jews,
Persians, Greeks, Romans - or whomever.
My academic background – my university
studies at the University of Geneva and the University of Illinois, my
doctoral studies at Georgetown University and my 15 years of university
teaching (international studies) in Alabama – was largely within the field
we call 'political science.' Typical of professionals in the field
of political science, I was a complete secularist during most of those
However ... I was by no means a 'utopianist'
as has been typical of most American (secular) political scientists since
the mid 20th century. My year at the University of Geneva in Switzerland,
my years of master's and doctoral work at Georgetown, particularly my master's
study of the (failed) African nationalist movement of the 1960s in South
Africa and my doctoral study of the endless linguistic/cultural problems
afflicting bi-cultural Belgium, had made me a through-and-through 'Realist.'
I had no fancy ideas about the instinctive nobility of man nor the belief
in the natural historical path to 'democratic' utopia that afflicts American
I well understood the tough side
of man displayed endlessly throughout human history. This left me
little to cheer about as a student of society. As a 'Realist' I understood
that man was fated to struggle, thrive for a while, then weaken and die
on this planet - in an endless cycle.
Through a marvelous set
of circumstances, I began to discover that the greatest of all political
science textbooks, far above all others, happened to be the Bible.
I quickly recognized that the God who created the universe according to
a precise set of principles we call 'physics,' 'chemistry' and 'biology'
had also created the principles for human life as well. We were biological
creatures. But we were more than that. We were complex creatures
of a free will and tremendous mental capacity - given this biological principle
largely, it seems, to be able to be the one thing in creation able to share
with God in the glory of all creation.
But the complexities of human life,
especially social life, are way above our ability to clarify in the same
way we have been able to clarify the laws that guide the physical universe
around us. We have tried to understand (and thus manage) human life
the way we do the physical world around us. But we have failed again
and again (that's the 'Realist' in me speaking).
But God did not leave us clueless
about the principles by which he designed human life. He was much
more forthright in setting these principles in front of us. He presented
these to us through the ancient wise ones who learned how to connect with
the 'voice' of God so that they could learn and pass on to us these principles.
We call these 'prophets.' But actually they were 'scientists' ...
social and psychological scientists, laying out for our clear understanding
the 'Laws' by which God designed life, or at least what he intended for
life in all its glory to be for us if we used our free will to live by
Having made this discovery in the
mid 1980s, and having a a deep hunger to learn more about this divine wisdom,
I left my post at the University of South Alabama to take up seminary studies
in Princeton – still ever the student ... and hardly with the thought of
ever pastoring in mind at the time. But God continued to show me
ever deeper these (Christian) principles as he directed my path to become
a pastor in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (everything from street and prison
ministry to standard Presbyterian ministry!), and finally a Christian high
school teacher in Eastern Pennsylvania.
In short, what I came to discover
in the story of ancient Israel and in the life and teachings of Jesus is
how life works under the hand of the One who made all heaven and earth
The patterns are clear – and as unshakable as the laws of gravity, thermodynamics,
quantum mechanics, etc. There in the pages of the Bible is the very
clearest explanation of how man is to live in accordance with the 'natural'
social laws of God.
call to restore America's forgotten Christian political legacy.
I am through and through
an American, loving deeply the great Anglo-American cultural legacy that
has been ours for 400 years - though I have lived, studied and worked abroad
much of my life and find compelling reasons to be deeply impressed with
the cultures of other peoples as well. I truly appreciate and celebrate
the accomplishments of other cultures: European, Middle Eastern, and Asian
in particular. I enjoy exploring the philosophies, arts and life
histories that they generated over countless centuries.
But most of all, I enjoy surveying
work that God has done among us in America since he first planted an Anglo
nation on this continent - one which continued to take in waves of immigrants
and risk takers who would flourish because they dared to help build our
nation to the glory of God - receiving in return blessing upon blessing
of an awesome nature. I take great pleasure in reflecting on
the social and cultural miracles by which God and man together moved forward
this unsophisticated, but nonetheless very inventive American culture.
And I especially love to invite others to share in that reflection with
need to free the sense of "soul" from its bondage to 'mechanism.'
I today teach not only as
a matter of great pleasure, but also as a matter of great urgency.
Somewhere along the way America chose to forget that this country was founded
by people who understood clearly the principles of a 'Christian political
science' and who, well equipped with this wisdom, boldly brought our nation
to greatness - against great adversity. The Puritan New Englanders
of the early 1600s who carved 'Yankee' America out of the forests of America
understood these divine principles of political science very well.
They worked consciously in accordance with the laws and the ever-revealing
will of God to build 'a city upon a hill.' 150 years later, the Fathers
of our hard-fought independence and the world's first truly lasting republic
also were well aware of these principles of God's political science - quick
to affirm that nothing of America's new experiment in national 'democracy'
would ever work apart from the people's continuing awareness of the overriding
or ultimate supervision or judgments of God.
But (as happened with ancient Israel)
we Americans, who are sinners like the rest, from time to time haven fallen
in love with our own logic rather than God's. We like the feeling
of 'freedom' - that is, not having to be accountable to anything other
than our own private or personal wills. Today we are caught up big time
in one of these great love affairs with ourselves. And our social
institutions are suffering terribly as a result.
So I teach - and preach. It
is never too late to do something about our sins. After all, sin
is not a new or unexpected condition that we suffer from. God has
dealt with man's sins for thousands of years. Nonetheless, without
the wisdom of understanding the problems of sin, we will likely misuse
the freedom God has given us to block rather than aid God's redeeming work
This is the great tragedy of human
history: a people who once walked mightily with God and thereby found greatness,
but in that greatness forgot God as the source of that greatness, listened
to the flattery of the Deceiver who convinced them that their greatness
was from their own cleverness and special gifts, and were led away from
that God-given greatness into social decay and collapse. It's not
a new story. But it does not need to be repeated in America.
So I teach - and preach.
need to recover a deep sense of social responsibility and moral integrity.
I am old enough (I am in
my mid 70s) to remember when America was not what it has become today.
I remember when 'America' referred to its people, its homes, its local
communities, its countryside and cities - and not essentially its Washington,
D.C., government, as it seems to today. I remember when America was
stirred to action through the popular appeal of charismatic leaders, able
to inspire the volunteer spirit in Americans to do the right thing.
I remember America when it was not run by faceless social programmers or
'managers' such as those today who have come to assume the responsibilities
of life for us so that we are now left 'free' merely to pursue life's many
'entitlements.' I remember America before multitudinous insurance
programs and battalions of lawyers.
need for great American leaders.
I remember when we were
led by 'the Greatest Generation' – before we became socially lazy and culturally
vulgar. I remember when life focused on family rather than personal
profession, when we lived in communities, when we faced our social problems
and tried to overcome them rather than escape them. I remember when
schooling was focused on 'education' - or the cultivation of wisdom - rather
than on vocational or professional 'training' (it is important to understand
the difference between education and training: you can 'train' dogs
but you cannot 'educate' them; dictatorships train their people but dare
not educate them). I remember life before SATs and ACTs. I
also remember when character counted more than celebrity as the measure
of a person. And most importantly, I remember when piety was a trait
we esteemed and not despised as some form of bigotry.
path to greatness.
So I teach - and preach.
I teach the youth who will be America's leaders of tomorrow. I teach
them not just facts. I teach them about life's problems - and its
long-standing solutions. I tell them stories about situations similar
to ours today (history!). I teach them about great individuals whose
sense of destiny shaped huge social outcomes - both good and bad.
I teach them the value of bravery and the tragedy of arrogance. I
teach them about the sources and possibilities of social power - and the
great accompanying dangers if not handled well. Most of all, I teach
them about the rules or laws of human life, individual and social, that
God set out for us, rules and laws that must never be disregarded, just
as with any other laws in Creation. With respect to the ways of the
world, I teach them to be wise as serpents.
'teachings' offered on this website.
I teach them to be Alpha
males and females - but 'Alpha' only as Jesus showed us what it means to
be 'Alpha' - for Jesus was/is the ultimate Alpha (and Omega). The
Alpha person is the servant to all - as Jesus was the servant to all.
Service to others above concern for self - the makings of a true warrior
or one of the greatest of leaders - is what I teach them. I stress
again and again the importance of surrendering self to such service - in
order to receive in exchange a greatness of character that produces the
Of course in our ego-soaked culture
of personal self-sufficiency and personal self-advancement this is a virtually
impossible task. But not for one who has turned his/her life over
to a power greater than self. Faith (as Jesus taught and modeled)
not in self but in God is the absolute key to such power. Without
faith in a higher source of life there is nothing to life but a shallowness
of purpose (or total lack thereof), an 'existentialist' emptiness.
After all, we are, in all of creation,
uniquely crafted to be more than just mere creatures, mere 'things' living
a rather tightly bounded physical existence. We have been given souls
and spirits that can soar in our thoughts and feelings to the outer reaches
of the universe – and even beyond. We can in our imaginations exist
in a time that once was and a time that will someday be - as if it were
the time we now inhabit. What awesome creatures are we - if we do
not fall into the materialist spiritual trap of seeing ourselves as mere
mammals and just so much genetic material confined to the here and now
Being truly a great person is counter-intuitive.
Everything about the ego we are born with wants to fight any form of surrender
to others. We want to stand apart from others where we can provide
for our own 'protection.' And thus our own logic (where Satan prowls)
does us in.
It is only when we escape that self-serving
logic that we finally take hold of the greatness that makes us sons and
daughters of the Most High God whose plans, thoughts, and words (God's
direct all existence. It is only when we reach toward God as our
'Abba' (Daddy) - as Jesus constantly directed us to do - and become joined
with his Logos that we attain greatness. In this self-surrender
we take on the quality of becoming innocent as doves - and achieve
true human greatness.
Finally: What it is specifically that I am trying to teach my students ...
I do not propose to offer
on these web pages the complete picture or even significant portions of
what I teach. What I teach can be learned only through actual personal
contact - in class or wherever. What is posted here is some small
portion of those teachings - a factual backup of sorts. However it
is wisdom and not just mere knowledge, character and not just mere fact,
that ultimately is what my teaching strives to pass on to my students (and
what my students pass back to me in exchange) - something very much alive,
something that cannot be found on these pages.
Nonetheless, I hope that what is
offered here can be useful - useful in putting a perspective on life that
is otherwise largely lacking in modern Western or American material-secular
culture. Hopefully this perspective will stir within you key questions
- and in this raising of questions, stimulate a spiritual pilgrimage of
your own, a pilgrimage that might direct your path to the feet of a great
teacher or teachers, a pilgrimage that will lead you to want to become
yourself a great teacher some day. Then you too might show others
- how to become wise as serpents and innocent as doves
or: "what any well informed American needs to know about our
Thesis: Societies are founded/held together/moved ahead by social ideas or ‘grand dreams’
Vital historical background:
English America was founded in the early 1600s not on one but on the
two very different social dreams of Virginia and New England.
What were they specifically?
2. How did the European
Enlightenment of the late 1600s and the 1700s challenge the traditional
dream of the entire Christian West? To what extent was the
Enlightenment’s grand dream effective in producing social change in
both Europe and America?
3. Was America indeed founded in
the late 1700s by a ‘Revolutionary War’ and the subsequent creation
from scratch by the Founding Fathers of an entirely new constitutional
Republic ... or were those events simply the determined protection by
Americans of a political dream and related political habits already a
century and a half old at that time?
4. Both England and
France were the great imperialist powers of the 19th century
(1800s). Each was led forth by their own grand imperialist
dream. What were they?
5. At the same time that
England and France were playing out their imperialism, America was
practicing its 'Manifest Destiny.' How did that underlay not only
America’s western expansion but also bring the Northern and Southern
halves of the country to bloody conflict?
6. In the 1700s
and 1800s Russia was trying to emerge out of an Eastern isolationism
produced by centuries of hostile neighbors overrunning it because it
possessed no natural boundaries protecting its heartland. How did
that work out for Mother Russia?
7. Germany suffered
from much the same problem as Russia. How were Germans finally
able to construct a German 'nation' in the latter part of the 1800s?
Socio-political progressivism produced from a blend of Christian
evangelism and secular humanism moved up alongside English, French,
American, German, Russian nationalism at the turn of the 1800s into the
early 1900s. What exactly was its social agenda?
How did nationalism, imperialism and progressivism combine to form the
underlying political, economic, social, intellectual and spiritual
momentum of the 20th century?
10. What was President
Wilson’s social agenda in trying to make sense of a ‘Great War’ that
had mired down in a bloody stalemate among competing European
nationalisms? How effective was he in implementing his social
11. The 1920s marked a period of intense distrust
of anyone’s larger social agenda. What focused the lives of the
post-war world in America and Western Europe?
12. How did Stalin take Lenin’s dream and transform it into a powerful social vision for Russia?
The early 1930s collapsed even the feeble social-moral foundations of
America and the West. How did that affect Asia? How did
that affect Western Europe ... especially Germany? How did that
14. How was World War Two a test of
strength among traditional and rising grand dreams of societies in
Europe, Asia and America? How did that work out for everyone?
How did a 'Cold War' arise out of the political rearrangement of global
power following World War Two? How did Americans see this less a
matter of geopolitics and more a question of intense ideological
rivalry? How did the Cold War reshape American society? How did
the Cold War affect the revival of Europe? ... of Asia’s
emergence into social independence? ... of the Middle East? ... of
Latin America? ... of Africa?
16. America went through a
major shift in its grand dream in the 1960s. What was Kennedy’s
dream? What was King’s dream? What was Johnson’s
dream? What did the 1960s do to these dreams?
How did Nixon attempt to reverse the course of Johnson’s legacy and set
America on a more 'Realist' course? How did that work out for him?
How did Carter propose to push America ahead on a more 'moral' course
in spreading American constitutional or 'democratic' ideals
abroad? How successful was he in seeing his ideals planted around
19. What was the
cause of the collapse of Russia’s Communist or Soviet empire in the
late 1980s/early 1990s? How did that impact Russia? How did
that impact the rest of the world?
And now ... today:
How did 9-11 change the optimistic picture of the 'post-Cold-War
world'? How did America under Bush Jr. respond to the perceived
challenge coming out of the Middle East? How did Obama set up his
own response pattern? What was the Arab Spring all about?
What grand dream seems to drive the Muslim world today? What are
its challenges? How is the West trying to answer the world of
21. How did the Russian-American 'reset button' of
Obama-Clinton work out for America? What dream has Putin put
before the Russian-speaking world? How have America and the West
responded to the Putin challenge?
22. How did China move
forward from the days of the Maoist 'Great Leap Forward' and 'Cultural
Revolution' into full membership in the international industrial and
financial community? What is China’s grand dream today? How
will this likely reshape the international status quo?
What was the grand dream of the 'New Europe'? What were its
successes? What have been its shortcomings? Where is this
once great sub-continent headed today?
America seems caught up in a fierce cultural war between Christian
traditionalism and secular-humanist progressivism? What social
forces are behind this conflict of grand dreams? How has this
played out politically, socially, morally and spiritually for the
nation? What do you think lies ahead for the nation ... ten years
from now, 25, 50?