Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Wisdom of Leading by Example Rather than By Denigrating Opponents Personally

There is much to really like about Sarah Palin. Her values, her charisma, and her outside the beltway background makes her politically attractive to many. Whether she has a future in national politics is yet to be seen, but Saturday night she gave all of us in leadership a valuable lesson. According to the Huffington Post, Palin "mocked" President Obama for using teleprompters in speeches, even to students in school. Yet, Palin herself would often glance at her hand where she had written several notes as talking points for her speech. The words "Energy", "Tax" and "Lift American Spirits" are clearly visible. Sarah Palin will weather the criticism that comes her way from her faux pax Saturday night, but the lesson that seems evident to me is that one would be wise to build support on the basis of clear enunciation of principles rather than denigrating an opponent's personal idiosycrasies (like using a teleprompter). If an opponent is to be challenged, let it be on matters of principle. All of us have personal idosyncrasies. When we build support by mocking our opponents personal habits, we invite scathing criticism of our own. Again, it seems to me that civil discourse and discussion should lead us down the path where we only point out the differences of our opponents policies and principles, choosing to leave out our observations of his or her perceived personal faults. What's the difference between attacking another's policies rather than his or her personal idiosyncrasies? The former seems to lead to effective and needed debate on the issues, the latter to personal ridicule and denigration of other people. Of course, Sarah Palin has been the recepient of the latter by those who oppose her since she was thrust into the national limelight. I have not heard her speak often, but I am hoping that her advisers and speech writers will not lead her down the same path the liberals have taken when it comes to denigrating her personally. She has enough material on policy issues alone to build a huge support base. All of us who comment on blogs, or lead others, would do well to simply and clear enunciation our principles rather than personally denigrating those who disagree with us.

In His Grace, Wade


Dr. Mike Kear said...

"Only the gospel, through the power of the Spirit, can effect real change in society - since it transforms sinners from the inside out. After all, there are no Christian countries, only Christian individuals. Hence, our commission is to proclaim that gospel faithfully in whatever context God puts us. When we allow ourselves to get distracted by politics, we inevitably neglect our responsibility to preach the gospel."

~ John MacArthur, Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong

Rex Ray said...

I believe it’s impossible for you to read all the comments.

So I believe you missed my comment (Sat Feb 06, 01:11:00 AM 2010) in explaining why your post of Friday February 5 should not have:

“James tells Paul that the Jerusalem church leaders…”

but should have:

“James tells Paul that the Jerusalem church members…”

BTW, Good advice on this post.

Lydia said...

And here I was impressed she only had three items listed on her hand with no teleprompter or notes.

Perhaps leading by example would also include not chastizing folks about their spending habits and tightening belts when you are one of the biggest spenders (of OPM, that is) out there. And your new budget includes the biggest debt we have seen.

Surely, you could come up with a better example of leading by example than this one. said...


I did miss that comment. I, again, agree with your assessment.

I don't think, however, I will edit my post again.


Wade said...

Dr. Kear,

I agree with MacArthur.


Wade said...


I absolutely agree.

That's why we go after the policies of the President and not his reading style for speeches.


Lydia said...

"That's why we go after the policies of the President and not his reading style for speeches."

Personally, I am hoping he goes off teleprompter more. We get a better idea of his REAL intended policies and thinking.

But at this point, that does not seem likely.

Christiane said...

I just watched the wonderful sermon that Wade gave this morning.
I think about how the attitude of some Christian people, in sitting in judgment on others who are going through a lengthy healing process, can be so detrimental to the healing work of the Holy Spirit within a Christian community.

Truly, 'the pointing of the finger' and the 'thank God I am not like those other sinners' has NO place within a Church where people, in pain, have come to return to the Lord in their lives.

I think that Wade and his Church have found a secret: that God heals in His Way and in His time, if Christians will, in humility,surround those who struggle, and care for them with compassion.
The caring Christian community itself, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, becomes an agent of healing for those who have suffered and who continue to struggle in their process of healing and moving towards the light of Christ.

I think those people who shared about their difficulties in Wade's service this morning have found a 'home' among Christians who recognize that, in the Body of Christ, there is a place for all, even for the controversial. Wade's congregation is joined with those in the wider Christian community who would have us remove the scales from our eyes so that we can see 'beyond' the phony images that we have created for others to inhabit;
because, in our pride, we are unable to accept them and love them as they are.

My deepest respect is given to Wade's compassionate Christian community which has opened its arms to those who need Christ's love and healing grace. Surely the Holy Spirit will bless those who lead others to Christ,
by their compassionate imitation of the way He cared for hurting people when He was among us.

Peace of Christ,
Love, L's

Bob Cleveland said...


Not at all unlike your post about the Baptists in jail, in Haiti.

How easy it is to leave the high road, aways to our own detriment.

Tom Parker said...


Sarah is playing the role of hypocrite quite well on this one.

I for one certainly hope she is not the face of the Republican party for 2012. said...


"How easy it is to leave the high road, aways to our own detriment."

That, sir, is precisely the point of my post. You and I must think a great deal alike, because I often find you saying in fewer words what takes me far too many to articulate!

Wade said...


I think the person who articulates a clear, fiscally conservative national policy will be the candidate--that's why I think its important to focus on policy in debate. Let the message be heard! said...

Thanks Christiane!

I appreciate the kind words.

Those who attend our services know we focus on the gospel and say nothing about politics.

Bob Cleveland said...


Thanks. Perhaps that's one difference between preachers and teachers.



Muff Potter said...

I'm wonderin' here Pastor Burleson, does fiscally responsible policy include a reexamination of the two ruinous military adventures we are now prosecuting in Iraq & Afghanistan?

Or does it just mean the continued dismantling of all the gains of FDR's new deal and the further destruction of the middle class?

Holly said...

Wade, I would bothers me when people criticize Michelle Obama for her clothing or style, or her vegetable garden...or the Pres. himself for peripheral things. Personal attacks really do no good. There are plenty of ideological differences to point out without delving into the personal.

And yet, I hardly think that three scribbled words on a hand portend the same dependency on perpetually scripted speeches scrolled across a teleprompter. It's not equivalent enough to label it hypocrisy. If Sarah used a teleprompter, well then, that would be problematic and applicable.

I get your point, though. said...



I thought about the fact that things written on the hand are different than a teleprompter.

But as you rightly point out, the point is not so much about the use, or disuse of a teleprompter (or handnotes), as it is the attack on personal rather than ideological grounds. said...


For folks like me who believe the government's role should be defense and not benevolence, your concerns do not resonate as much as you might like.

Tom Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Parker said...

I hear you. You make some mighty good points.

Republicans often talk about being fiscally conservative, but usually those are words said to be elected and then they do otherwise.

If some misunderstand me, I do not like the way either the Democrats or Republicans govern our nation.
Deficits have occured under both Democrat and Republican administrations.

Those military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost this country trillons of dollars and untold of injury and loss of American lives.

believer333 said...

"Those who attend our services know we focus on the gospel and say nothing about politics."

Very commendable statement. Thank you for this stance. My church does the same.

Tom Parker said...


Do you think Sarah Palin should have been the vice-presidential candiate in 2008 for the Republicans?

Lydia said...


Palin is not an issue for me one way or the other.

I believe Obama is a socialist and I believe that DeTocqueville nailed us....we would slowly lose our freedoms by giving them away to our government in exchange for false security.

I support the person closest to the principle of personal liberty. I do not think governments know best nor do I think they manage our personal lives and problems well.

Liam Madden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Common ground makes me smile...

Amen, and Amen to Lydia!


Tom Parker said...


What is your position on GB as he bankrupted our country with two unnecessary wars?

You and others can blame Obama all you want but he sure inherited a mess that did not take one year and it will not take him one year to fix.

No politicians, Democrats or Republicans can fix the financial mess this country is in.

Michael Ruffin said...

Amen and amen.

Ken Coffee said...

The president considers himself a "gifted" speaker, whereas Palin is more of an off-the-cuff (literally) kind of speaker. She will need to learn more about developing a speaking style, but part of her "charm" is the fact that she relates to the way so many other people would speak if they had the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Tom Parker,

Good morning to you and blessings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you are having a wonderful day and that a meteorite does not fall on your very position. GB in fact did not BR the nation, though he did nothing to stop the economic downturn--not sure anyone really could have. The fact remains that I support GB's military strategies as did most of the military. On that we disagree--I get that--no need to berate the issue. But the other fact that remains is that "The Anointed One" has already added to the debt in one year what GB added in 8. So, when China shoots a bomb up your @$$ don't you dare blame me or GB!!!!!

Oh, I hope you are enjoying this beautiful winter wonderland as we are in Mid-Missouri. God is good. The serenity of snow sooths my soul. Be careful when you walk to your car, I would not want you to fall on you "Chinese bomb target."

Grace and peace of sorts,


...ya, ya, I know I scare ya and all that... said...


I agree.

Her charm is only enhanced when she let's others, rather than herself, point out the difference between Obama's rigid style and her easy going spontaneous style.

Holly said...

Did you see Sarah's hand as she campaigned Sat. for Gov. Rick Perry?

It said, "Hi Mom." :)

You know, honestly...I have been so put off by the attacks from Christians against Obama. I said "Christians," not "Republicans." It's really ugly in a lot of quarters. Putting out videos that try to find some hidden way in which Jesus reveals the anti-christ's name,that's pretty low. I've also seen some out and out LIES circulated in e-mail form, photos doctored to make him appear stupid, etc. and yes, they have come from Christians. It's horrible, and I don't support it at all. As much as like Sarah P as a person - I too have thought she has become too shrill and fringy at times - and thought that she should stick to principle.

Here's the thing, though - I try to extend Christian love and charity to Obama, even though many of his policies are offensive to me. I pray for him, even though I had to fight through that one and learned a good lesson in so doing. I would hope that we would all do the same thing for Sarah as well, when we think she is wrong. Extend Grace to both sides. Hold both sides to principle. Sarah says that she is a Christian. Obama says that he is a Christian also - so - if we are willing to call Sarah out on principle of Christian actions, then we should be willing to call the President out on the same.

I agreed with you, Wade. I just didn't think that the catalyst for comparison was of equal weight.

Blessings to you -

Rex Ray said...

You said, “I, again, agree with your assessment. I don't think, however, I will edit my post again.”

I thought you wouldn’t change your post if you disagreed, but to agree and not change baffles me.

How about (James 4:17 God’s Word Translation)? - “Whoever knows what is right but doesn't do it is sinning.” :)

Do you remember the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou" and they were in a “hot spot”? Paul was a ‘hot-potato’ that put the church leaders in a “hot spot”.

The Jerusalem church was more or less the ‘mother church’ that tried to control the thinking of all churches. You know – sort of like some Baptist leaders today.

This is shown in (Acts 21:24 Living) “…that you yourself obey the Jewish laws and are in line with our thinking in these matters.”

“THEY” in Acts 21:20 were the church congregation who might have stoned Paul if something wasn’t done. Paul was hero of Gentile churches.

If the church murdered Paul it would have been worse than the murder of William Morgan in 1826 for publishing secrets of Masons that caused 2,000 Lodges to disband and 45,000 Masons to quit.

This was the spot the Jerusalem church leaders were in. When Paul arrived in Jerusalem, the leaders had one day to think of what to do. They hit Paul with HIS problem and solution in the same statement.

(Verses 22, 23) “Now what can be done? For THEY will certainly hear that you have come. We suggest this…”

The big question is, in the long run, did their suggestion help Paul (died in prison) or was their suggestion a solution for the church leaders ‘hot spot’?

The leaders could tell Gentiles, “See, Paul was arrested while following our Jewish customs which you should do.”

But the leader’s suggestion had a majory problem. With his head shaved, no one recognized Paul for six days and only one more day to go on the vows.

Did a ‘little bird’ identify Paul? ‘Be sure and tell strangers who won’t recognize you and trace you back to us.’

Does that sound crazy? Why didn’t the church leaders testify at Paul’s trial by refuting the lies he was charged with?

The leaders should have told the court that Paul was there at their request and was not trying to start a rebellion against the Roman government.

Why, through the years did none of these leaders ever visit Paul in prison? They could at least sent a letter saying sorry.

In the end, Paul reached a conclusion: (2 Timothy 4:16) “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”

Paul’s prayer was the same as he heard Stephen pray – had the same crime been done?

Tom Parker said...


Thanks for the response from you. I feel better now, knowing that you and I disagree on this one.

I did not even think about saying, you scare me until you brought it up.

You do scare me in lots of ways, but I still hold out hope for you.

Rex Ray said...

I believe you said a lot of truth. I despise anything said that’s twisted making untruth sound like truth.

That also goes for ‘do-gooders’ passing on emails of untruth in efforts to glorify God.

It’s been said that people tend to talk about what they’re in love with. With that in mind, in all the talks and speeches, have you ever heard Obama say “Jesus”?

We’ve had leaders with all kinds of religions’ beliefs including atheist. Would it make any difference if Obama was a Muslim? Would your prayers for him have a new direction?

Hey! I just now analyzed your saying, “If we are willing to call Sarah out on principle of Christian actions, then we should be willing to call the President out on the same.”

Maybe you and I are thinking the same.

Tom Parker said...


You said to me:

"So, when China shoots a bomb up your @$$ don't you dare blame me or GB!!!!!"

Wow 5 exclamation marks! I'm impressed.

I'll put up with your shenanigans but when your curse me I've got a big problem.

If that is the only way you can dialogue with me--do me a favor and dont.

It comes across as quite JUVENILE.

But once again, I know it is just your facade.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

Politics and profanity. Please help me understand how either of these two things promote our sanctification or our witness to the lost.

Anonymous said...


Little Tom Parker is scared. :(

I assure you TP, there ain't no facade on this Midwestern boy--whatcha see is whatcha get!

And if yur gonna get your feathers ruffled over a little mid-grade scatological language then maybe it is YOU who should not respond to MY comments. Yah, that's right--go back and re-read!

You don't want it? Don't give it!


Tom Parker said...


Thanks for confirming my desire not to dialogue with you. It is just not possible.

I'm not going to play your little
3rd grade games.

When you grow up, I might reconsider.

Also I believe you have cursed me twice in comments to me, which is two times to many.

Nice going for someone who desires the office of Pastor.

Grow up, dude.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

Mr. Crowder,

Is what Mr. Parker said true? Are you a Southern Baptist minister?

Just wondering.

Garen Martens said...

When I write on my hand, I call it my "Palm" Pilot. said...


Agreeing with your assessment does not mean I believe it.

I am saying I see your point.

I agree with your logic, and believe you have made a good point.

However, to call NOT changing my post "sin" is a tad narrower definition of sin than one to which I hold.

But even if it is sin, I remind you that "love covers a multitude of sin" and so I will consider my sin covered.


Wade said...


Now that, sir, is funny!


Lydia said...

A blogger today referred to it as a redneck's teleprompter.

You gotta admit, it is a lot cheaper than using a real one. Especially all the trouble to set one up in an elementary classroom.

Gene S said...

What I have noticed in recent years is that when Republicans run out of intelligent and reasonable reasons to elect them, they begin to "call names."

Same is true of the Conservative Resurgence folks! Whenever I hear the terms "liberal" or "skunk" it confirms how weak their thinking is and how scared they are someone might ask some real questions about their MOTIVES in wanting to control!

Rex Ray said...

Thank for the reply.
I feel your post: “Free From the Law…” and we “Should Welcome the Charge of Antinomianism” is one of your best and is most important.

The study of Acts 20:21 and Scriptures surrounding Paul’s meeting with church leaders explain the roots of how those that ADDED Jesus (backing the laws of Moses) for salvation highjacked Paul’s thinking on what was accomplished at Calvary, and those that went with the laws of Moses were eventually named Catholic.

1. WHO brought charges that Paul was an antinomian and WHO were these charges told to?

In verse (21-22 Living), the leaders said:

“Our Jewish Christians here at Jerusalem have been told that you are against the laws of Moses, against our Jewish customs, and that you forbid the circumcision of their children. Now what can be done? For they will certainly hear that you have come.”

Their words neither denies nor admits the leaders told their congregation, but at the time I believe Paul was hoodwinked to believe it was someone else. The Living makes it clear who the charges were told to.

2. Did church leaders think Paul was an antinomian, and obeying the laws of Moses was essential?

(James 2:18 Living) “But someone [Paul?] may well argue, “You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too…”

(James 5:19-20 Living) Dear brothers, if anyone has slipped away from God [stopped obeying laws of Moses?] and no longer trust the Lord, [lost his faith?] and someone helps him understand the Truth again, [faith to obey again?] that person who brings him back to God [saved twice?] will have saved a wandering soul from death, [hell?] bringing about the forgiveness of his many sins.” [Catholic confession?]

Wade, on you not changing your post from “church leaders” to “church members” being a sin; did you see my smiley face?

Lydia said...

No politicians, Democrats or Republicans can fix the financial mess this country is in.

Mon Feb 08, 10:15:00 AM 2010

They most certainly can. By getting out of the way.

I can hear the Obama campaign slogan now for the next election: I inherited a mess and I cannot be blamed for making it worse. :o)

Lydia said...

"What is your position on GB as he bankrupted our country with two unnecessary wars?"

Tom, Isn't it confusing to many on the left why Obama did not pull out of both places over the past year? Why increase troops? He had the votes in Congress to do what he said he would do in the campaign. He also did not close Gitmo and had the democrat congress to back him on that.

So, what has been the hold up? Isn't this bankrupting us?

Tom Parker said...


You said:"So, what has been the hold up? Isn't this bankrupting us?"

I believe you know it is just not that simple.

Lydia said...

I believe you know it is just not that simple.

Tue Feb 09, 10:40:00 AM 2010

but he thought it was during the campaign?

Tom Parker said...


I do not think he ever promised to get us out of the wars immediately and I think those that voted for him understood that.

Lydia said...

I do not think he ever promised to get us out of the wars immediately and I think those that voted for him understood that.

Tue Feb 09, 11:50:00 AM 2010

But he sent MORE troops. They certainly did not think he would do that when they voted for him.

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

Coming in late on this one...
First of all, I agree with Dr. Kear and have a great deal of respect for him as we go way back. But Shame on you Rev. Wade for this post. As a public speaker, you should know the vast difference between having three points written on your hand and being able to sensibly speak on the subjects in your own words as opposed to having someone write your speech for you and read it off a teleprompter. There is no hypocrisy in what Gov. Palin did. And as far as I'm concerned, what Palin went through at the hands of Obama and his followers, including sexually explicit insults to her daughters and the negative comments on her downs syndrome baby, she has every right to call a spade a spade!

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

After I posted the comment and re-read it I decided to go back and redefine the last statement. It was a bad choice of idioms on my part, because I know there is some idiot out there that is going to think the spade comment is racist and will call me such for its use. What I mean and what the idiom means is "to point out the obvious".

In the end, however, it should not matter who is in office; it matters that we as Christians pray for them because they have been chosen by God to fulfill that role.

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

Okay, one more comment... I'm sorry Wade for saying "shame on you". As you can see I'm too emotional to be posting this morning. I must be a complete wreck...I actually cried all through the movie Julia,Julia the other night, maybe a mid-life crises. However, I had heard so much of the media blasting Palin over this in the last couple days, that I thought your article was going along with the tome of the moment, but I'm sure that was not your intent. I'm gonna shut up now and take a chill pill.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

Pastor Bob! I hope you know how much respect and love I have for you, brother! Even when we've had differing opinions (or when it was me who desparately needed to take a chill pill), you've always taken the high road and we've always maintained a strong friendship. Blessings to you, my friend!

Dr. Mike Kear said...

On another subject...

I know that Pastor Wade allows some folks to use profanity on this blog. Would it be out of line for me to say that this bothers me? In light of Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 3:8 we Christians should hold ourselves to a higher standard than the world in how we speak to one another and the language that we choose. If I am off-base with this comment, I apologize and ask that you delete it.

Lydia said...

I know that Pastor Wade allows some folks to use profanity on this blog. Would it be out of line for me to say that this bothers me? In light of Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 3:8 we Christians should hold ourselves to a higher standard than the world in how we speak to one another and the language that we choose. If I am off-base with this comment, I apologize and ask that you delete it.

Tue Feb 09, 02:06:00 PM 2010

Vulgarity and cussing are cool now in certain circles. Many from Driscoll to Piper are doing it and/or supporting those that do.. so it must be ok..after all, they are great leaders. Even Akin made excuses for Driscoll's vulgarity such as calling our Lord a redneck. said...


I do not moderate the comments on my blog. Sometimes that causes problems because people post things that I, too, do not like.


Ramesh said...

I would have to say that this is one of the strengths of this blog. That is people are free to comment what is on their mind. We just have to ignore "bad" comments.

Pastor Bob Farmer said...


thanks for the encouragement brother.
you are right about the profanity issue.