Friday Stream of Consciousness – 153

Featuring Pokemon & a guy named Trump

stream of consciousness

Here’s what’s on my mind this Friday morning:

  • I’m feeling a bit serious this morning.
  • Pokemon-Go seems like geo-caching with cartoons.
  • Click for click, the best “Old School” video game is probably Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man.
  • The stock market is heading south soon. But, I think it will trickle down…not crash…settling in around 17,000.
  • The national debt just passed 19.4 Trillion and is building at $32,000/second.
  • Wow.
  • Every leader should read Stephen Sample’s, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership. It is my favorite leadership book of the last 15 years or so that is accessible to everyone. It’s just awesome. The insights in it are fresh. I’m following one of his pieces of advice in…
  • Sorry, Google Play Music just started playing Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, and I almost hurled my coffee all over my laptop.
  • …in…reading the “Super Texts” of literature repeatedly for a while instead of news and/or currently popular books. So, I’m re-reading Machiavelli’s The Prince, and The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius now. The timing is actually quite good in thinking about today’s politics.
  • Regarding Trump:
  • I have so many friends who say online or under their breath, “How is this possible—look how far America has fallen.” They genuinely have no idea how anyone with a brain or conscience could vote for Donald Trump. Let me give you my read on what’s going on:
  • I’m fascinated by emotional process and leadership—and there are few more intriguing stories than President Obama and Donald Trump. So, I’m offering these thoughts as a leadership case study (done in a stream of consciousness—hah!) Here we go:
  • People view Donald Trump as their own personal bully to push back against a government they feel bullies them and doesn’t listen to them. They feel they need someone strong and free from political correctness to do it.
  • I don’t think they picked Trump (in record numbers) because they think his ideas are the best—but rather because he has the least fear and has a pre-existing vibrant life outside of politics—and is thus oddly believable. They see him as the bully on their behalf. My question is: Why do they feel they need one?
  • Most people don’t trust government. They see government as an elitist bully—a bit like Stef in the movie, Pretty in Pink. They feel the government hasn’t just done them wrong—but is actually working against their wishes aggressively through regulation—using the law as a weapon to enforce group-think rather than as a guardian of free society.
  • How did this perspective take root?
  • At the end of World War 1, the Allies didn’t handle themselves well—choosing to devastate and humiliate the Germans. This set the table for the rise of Hitler (Trump is absolutely no Hitler—it’s an analogy, people). Our current President in particular makes a habit of doing something similar (also not comparing President Obama to the allies). He lacks a sense of when he is asking or taking too much. He often humiliates his opponents rather than progressing humbly and lacks a sense of when he’s going too far.
  • When that happens over and over again—people push back. Unable to do it by themselves—they look for someone they can rally behind who is willing and able to push for them–someone with actual muscle and no fear.
  • I think that’s why Donald Trump is likely going to be the next President—for better or worse–and though Hillary Clinton has the name, money, media, and an incumbent President behind her.
  • I know there is another side to this. But, the Democrats’ lack of wisdom in victory is undeniable. For instance—lighting the White House in rainbow colors on the evening of a highly polarizing 5-4 Supreme Court victory on gay marriage was a mistake. These sorts of “nanny nanny billy-goat” leadership mistakes have become par for the course.
  • Another example comes to mind: shortly after taking office, uttering the famous, “Elections have consequences. I won,” after pushing through some economic policies over opposition. Of course, in subsequent elections in which the Republicans set record captures of seats in Congress—he didn’t believe the same…and didn’t adjust course. In his mind, they were obstructionists—not the consequences of an election by the people as he was. He corrected no course. He changed nothing. He heard no messages from the people in those elections…only in his own.
  • There is a lesson for church leaders in this.
  • If President Obama throws a major bone of some kind toward Republicans (the removal of a major regulation—a tax cut of some kind—a significant concession on health care, illegal immigration, Syrian refugees—a demonstration of interest in the rising national debt) during his last six months—people might get a sense Democrats aren’t as radical as they appear and have some respect for all Americans. In that case, Hillary becomes President.
  • He won’t. Therefore, she won’t.
  • This election isn’t about policy. It’s about distrust and anger. You can see how distrustful and angry people have become to trust Donald Trump over other Republican candidates and the popularity of Bernie Sanders. The last eight years created Donald Trump. If Democrats loathe him, they have themselves to thank.
  • Sorry, that’s the way I see it. I’m not saying it’s a good thing–it’s just what it is.
  • Whoever wins the election, leadership task one is earning the trust of the people back.
  • Machiavelli wrote: “The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.” That’s the problem.
  • Forget polls. If we didn’t learn anything else during Brexit or the primaries—people lie about who they will vote for. When you are shamed by culture for what you think—many simply lie and then vote the way they want inside the friendly confines of the voters booth.
  • That’s a concern you know. After all, how do we do relationship when we create a society where people cannot think, act or say as they wish without fear of having their lives torn apart?
  • We don’t.
  • So, we’ve already spent significant time thinking about politics. Will we spend such time thinking about the Gospel of Jesus and the glorious Word God has given us? What if we devoted such ample time to thinking about how to further the mission of the Church instead of our political party?
  • I got to attend my first Home-Run Derby here in San Diego. It was amazing. I had so much fun—and the Fanfest around it was awesome as well. If you ever have the chance to attend a MLB All-Star Weekend…do it!!! Even if it is just the Fanfest.
  • Yesterday, my shorts started sagging a bit. Could it be the impossible is happening–a bit of weight loss. Me thinks so.
  • Does anyone really want to see their preacher at the gym?
  • No.
  • But, it might happen anyway.
  • Have a blessed Friday, and remember what really matters: not who is President–but who is KING.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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