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Posts tagged "Abraham Lincoln"


When We Were Young: A Story of America

Back in the summer of 2004, roughly fifteen months after the United States invaded Iraq, I sat in the United States House of Representatives, high in the balcony on to the right of the lectern for he who stood at it, and listened to Colin Powell speak to a chamber full of congressional interns. It […]

Empathy in Sorrow, Freedom in Truth: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Here’s a look at George Saunders’ new and acclaimed book, Lincoln in the Bardo (appropriately released just in time for these days of Lenten journey). This review was written by Ethan Richardson & CJ Green. …As in the land of darkness, yet in light, To live a life half dead, a living death, And buried; but, O yet more miserable! […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Chapter Seven Verses Sixteen through Nineteen

This morning’s devotion comes from the main character in this video

You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:16-19, NASB)

3039842-slide-s-5-hipstory-leadersI grew up in the South, where this was an often-quoted verse. And people said things like, “We’re not judging, we’re just being fruit inspectors.” I’m not kidding. I’ve actually heard people say that, and they believed it. Conversely, I recently came across this quote from good ol’ Honest Abe: “A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear falls at length into his lap.”

Quaint as it may be, I feel like this relates much more to what Jesus is really talking about. If the standard is perfection, and we all fail equally, then how can anyone be a “fruit inspector”?

I once listened to a preacher talk about how profoundly passive a metaphor the fruit tree was. Think about it: a tree has no input on where it’s planted, where it grows, or even what kind of fruit it produces. It’s completely at the mercy of external forces as to whether it even produces fruit to begin with. A tree has no say in the matter. It simply must be what it is.

This is oddly comforting. God is working out His plan in, through, and all around us. It’s often difficult, but I know I can trust that. Passivity is the key to activity. Seems counterintuitive, but if we take Abe for his word, it actually works.

Think You Got What It Takes? Leadership, Depression, “Madness,” and Empathic Power

What makes the great ones? Ask almost anyone anywhere, and you’ll get the same response: some form of personal exertion, “determination” or “perseverance” or “vision”. Ask almost anyone, and you’ll receive a response rooted in the individual’s uncompromising leadership–they’ll speak of the necessary qualities which brought him/her to helm in a time when he/she was […]

And a Depressive Shall Lead Them: Famous Statesmen and the Inverse Law of Sanity

A worthy article in The Wall Street Journal by Nassir Ghaemi entitled “Depression in Command,” exploring the mental-health proclivities of great world leaders. Essentially, many of the men who’ve proven particularly adept at leading in/through times of crisis suffered from depression. The two main case studies he cites are Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln. Like […]

Moses: Our Founding Father of Freedom?

An interesting op-ed by Bruce Feiler recently appeared on CNN talking about the role of Moses in American politics. It seems that Moses as a deliverer in the Exodus and a lawgiver on Mount Sinai finds an integral significance in the history of America. As Feiler notes, By the time of the Revolution, Moses had […]