Divisive Leaders

In our adult Sunday school class we’ve been doing a somewhat in-depth study of 1 Corinthians. We’ve progressed as far as chapter 3 and this coming Sunday (well, tomorrow actually!) we’ll be looking at verses 10 and onwards. It’s a very powerful passage. My main purpose for this blog post though is to quote something I found on Bible.org by Bob Deffinbaugh. Those who know me well will know immediately which “leader” came to mind when I read his comments. Here’s what he says:

I know of several men whose failures have caused great damage to the church and to the cause of the gospel. There seems to be one common element in these disasters—the men who fell were so powerful, and their control so great, that they seemed almost “unstoppable.” The reason for this: these leaders were so elevated and revered in the minds of their followers that they were considered beyond the temptations and sins of mankind. When men are elevated too highly in the minds of their followers, the people begin to think their leaders are infallible, that they are above the sins we see in ordinary people. And so they refuse to believe the evidences of sin, even when they are compelling. Even if they are guilty of known sin, no one seems to feel sufficiently qualified to attempt to rebuke or correct them.

The problem of esteeming leaders too highly starts very subtly and innocently. It begins with a deep respect and appreciation, often because this individual has led them to Christ, or that he (or she) has significantly contributed to their spiritual growth. This one person is given excessive credit for the work of God and elevated to a position of authority above what should be given to men. Allegiance to this leader becomes a status symbol in which followers take great pride. Out of this misguided allegiance, they feel obligated to ignore or even oppose other Christian leaders.

Elevating any human leader more than we should is a huge mistake, and can have devastating consequences in our spiritual lives, as Paul tried to show the Corinthians.

Abraham Lincoln

Last night we visited the Lincoln Amphitheatre in Lincoln State Park, Lincoln City, Indiana. I had been to the amphitheatre a couple of times several years ago to watch a play about Abraham Lincoln’s early years, concentrating on the time he spent in Indiana, and also a rendition of Fiddler on the Roof. The theatre closed down in 2005, but was reopened last year. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. The actual play was not as good as the one I remembered seeing there some years ago. The current one is too difficult to follow. It begins with Lincoln’s assassination, and then has flashbacks to his boyhood years in Indiana, combined with flashbacks of his presidency and the Civil War. The cast did an excellent job. I just think the script was not the greatest. Seems like maybe they tried to cram too much into a short space, or having two storylines running together was confusing or something. On the upside, they did throw in a lot of good quotes from Lincoln, which were interesting (but mostly already forgotten!), and the guy who played Lincoln as president did an excellent job. Also, it seems like the acoustics weren’t as good as what I remember from before. I had a really hard time telling what people were saying. You had to listen very carefully and watch their mouths move. And to make matters worse, a pretty good thunderstorm came through, which made it even harder to hear for a while. Oh well. My kids all said they enjoyed it so I suppose that’s worth something.

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July 4th Party, 2010

Below are a few photos snapped at the July 4th party, 2010, which as usual was held in the hay field on the Hilltop. Click on a photo to enlarge it. Click anywhere to close the enlargement.

Update on iBook Submission

Here’s an update to my June 5th post about submitting to the iBookstore. Pastoral Letters was finally accepted and as of today I’ve sold 13 copies, which means I’ve sold several more to iBook users than to Kindle users, and in a much shorter timeframe. So prospects are good for that title. The Way of the Cross is a different story. I’ve submitted it about 8 times now, and each time get a mysterious “import error.” I’ve written to iBookstore support a number of times, and finally got a response from a rep called Sandi who said she would look into the error and for me to check the status again on Tuesday, July 6th. As I sell a lot more of Mantle’s book than I do of the McCheyne title, prospects are good that once it goes live I could see some good sales numbers. I’m toying with whether to sell the ePub versions of both these books from the Kingsley Press web site also. People could download the files and then sync them to their iPod Touch or iPad using iTunes.