A personal "mission statement."
The two paths.
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
My 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.
Recovering a "Christian political science."
I 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 man's way.
I 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.
Between 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 to life.
Often 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
||Christianity – 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 naturally good")
Darwinism ("man is naturally a
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
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
to find ways to fit in; to find ways to contribute to the life of the community ("keep up with the Joneses")
find ways to achieve elite status; to find ways to climb to the top of the social order ("get ahead of the Joneses")
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
Then God showed up.
I am one who rather
late in life came to understand the world we inhabit in Biblical
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 years.
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 political science.
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.
The American way.
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
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
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 those principles.
Having made this discovery in the
mid-1980s, and having 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
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.
The call to restore America's forgotten Christian political legacy.
I am through and
through an American, loving deeply the great Anglo-American cultural
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 me.
The 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 democracy 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
have 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
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 among us.
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.
The need to recover a deep sense of social responsibility and moral integrity.
I am old enough (I am in my late 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.
The 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 college or
university was focused heavily on education – or the cultivation of
wisdom – rather than just on professional training. To me, it is very
important to understand the difference between education and
training. For instance, you can train dogs but you cannot educate
them. Likewise, 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.
The 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.
The "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 true leader.
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 of
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 Logos) 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.
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
Vital historical background:
1. 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
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?
8. 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?
9. How did nationalism, imperialism and progressivism
combine to form the underlying political, economic, social,
intellectual and spiritual momentum of the 20th century?
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
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
13. 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 affect America?
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?
15. 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?
17. 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?
18. 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 the world?
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's 21st century:
20. 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 Islam?
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?
23. 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?
24. Domestically, 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?