CHRISTIANS LACK DEDICATION AND LEADERSHIP
To Christian conservatives:
I have been a Christian activist for 46 years. During this period I have discovered that :
Most issues and activities Christians & conservatives involve themselves with are defensive in nature.
Most who call themselves Christian or conservative are AWOL from the struggle to expand the Kingdom or maintain our Constitutional freedoms.
Those Christians who do respond do so on a very limited basis.
Some groups spend a great deal of time, energy & money on issues that, even if they prevail, will not make a great deal of difference in reversing the trend of the increasing irrelevance of the church and American freedoms.
With the advent of the computer the world is at your fingertips. Consequently some Christians have become 'information junkies.' I.e. they spend an inordinate amount of time seeking information, but do not translate this into action.
We need to face the facts:
For over 45 years we have lost ground to the Secular Humanists.
Every year there are fewer & fewer Christians working to make a difference.
We are losing those Christian leaders who have led the fight. Those who are still working are in their 6th & 7th decade.
A sign of insanity is to keep doing what we've been doing and expect a different result.
Secularists are winning the cultural war because they have been more dedicated and courageous than Christians.
In order for you to get a better understanding of what it takes to prevail I encourage you to read the following excerpts from the book, “Dedication & Leadership” by Douglas Hyde.
Hyde became a Christian and renounced Communism after serving in the party for many years.. He points out that the reason the secular humanists, socialists are winning the cultural war is due to the lack of dedication of so many who call themselves Christian. In his book he says that although the goals of Communism are evil there is much to be learned from its methods, members, and psychological motivation. He points out the tragedy that people give such energy, zeal and dedication to socialism and other forms of secular humanism, while those who have the best cause on earth often give so little to it. The insights he gives can be helpful to Christian churches and organizations. After reading this excerpt you will better understand why the liberals, socialists and Marxists are prevailing in our society and throughout the world. Unlike many Christians they are dedicated, courageous, and energetic. Since there are so few Christian activists we need to make certain that we spend our time, energy & money wisely and not engage in activities that although they may have an emotional appeal will not make a great deal of difference.
The purpose in making this available is:
To increase an understanding of the religion of Secular Humanism.
To point out why the growth of Christianity is lagging.
That we need to ask more not less of Christians.
That all forms of collectivism including communism are still an active force in the world.
That Christianity needs to place a much greater emphasis on teaching apologetics.
That pastors are too timid and have too little faith in their congregations.
That we need to produce well instructed, dedicated and totally committed Christians.
“Hyde starts out by saying, “Often, ex-Communists meeting together talk of the old days when we were in the Party rather like old soldiers discussing nostalgically the campaigns they shared in the past. We had been doing this. We had talked of old comrades who now saw themselves as our enemies..
Then, very wistfully he said: 'Do you remember what life was really like in the Party? You got up in the morning and as you shaved you were thinking of the jobs you would do for Communism that day. You went down to breakfast and read the Daily Worker to get the Party line–to get the shot and shell for a fight in which you were already involved. You read every item in the paper wondering how you might be able to use it for the cause.
I had never been interested in sport but I read the sports pages in order to he able to discuss sport with others and to be able to say to them, “Have you read this in the Daily Worker?” I would follow this through by giving them the paper in the hope that they might turn from the sports pages and read the political ones too.
On the bus or train, on my way to work, I read the Daily Worker as ostentatiously as I could, holding it up so that others might read the headlines and perhaps be influenced by them. I took two copies of the paper with me; the second one I left on the seat in the hope that someone would pick it up and read it.
When I got to work, I kept the Daily Worker circulating. One worker after another would take it outside, read it for a few minutes and bring it back to me again. At lunchtime, in the canteen or the restaurant, I would try to start conversations with those with whom I was eating. I made a practice of sitting with different groups in order to spread my influence as widely as I could. I did not thrust Communism down their throats but steered our conversations in such a way that they could be brought round to politics or, if possible, to the campaigns which the Party was conducting at the time.
Before I left my place of work at night, there was a quick meeting of the factory group or cell. There we discussed in a few minutes the successes and failures of the day. And we discussed, too, what we hoped to be able to do on the following day.
I dashed home, had a quick meal and then went out, maybe to attend classes, maybe to be a tutor, maybe to join some Communist campaign, going from door to door canvassing or standing at the side of the road selling Communist papers–doing something for Communism. And I went home at night and dreamed of the jobs I was going to do for Communism the next day
The Christian should be relating his faith to his whole life all the time everywhere, and should devote himself to the transformation of society to change the world as well as the salvation of his own soul.
His salvation is only the beginning of the Christian life, not the end. It is possible to receive all the instruction before joining the church, without receiving a word about the church's doctrine or their personal responsibility to transform society by taking Christian values into the workplace, or in their personal relations with others. Consequently the number of non dedicated non-active members continues to grow.
Hyde suggests that new members engage in some form of public activity making a public witness before instruction begins. It takes courage to do this. In doing so he realizes that he is ill equipped to be an effective soldier. This creates a desire to learn within himself so that he can better serve the cause. Shortly a suggestion is given him, 'don't you think that you should learn more about the issues and attend some classes?' These classes usually begin with 20 people, but end up with 7 or 8. He is first given simple jobs to do many of which are psychological preparation for what follows. Too often Christians fear that committing our young people to the cause leads to their defection. We fear that we risk too much if we challenge them , and we frequently lose them as a consequence. Communism proves that to commit people publicly at the time of their first early enthusiasm, which involves some degree of moral courage, and submits them to the possibility of attack is conducive to their growth and commitment to the party.
He is made to understand that the knowledge he gains is ammunition for the fight. Something to be used not just absorbed. He must learn to link words with action. They are taught that the way they present the subject matter is of immense importance. They are given a syllabus that has 4 lessons. 1. The kind of world we live in. 2. How that world can be changed. 3. The force that can change it. 4. The Communist Party
All this time he is not only being instructed, he is being inspired. The starting point must be the inspirational approach. The subject matter is presented in global terms of the world in conflict. He is made to feel that the period of history in which he's living is a decisive one, and he has a decisive role to play. That he's part of a great worldwide movement confronted by an implacable enemy in a battle that will decide the course of history for generations to come. He's taught to hate individuals such as employers and landlords. He is made to feel that they stand between them and the ending of injustices. That capitalist policies perpetuate an evil system. They have a desire for world unity as in the UN. The goal is not just giving information, but presenting it in such a way as that it will inevitably lead to action. They end each class by asking, 'What are you going to do with what you've learned today? How are you going to apply it?' At the next meeting they are asked how they applied what the learned the previous week. The lessons are given so that he feels that he is engaged in the fight against evil and on behalf of what's good. He feels a deep loathing against capitalism, and a profound hatred against those who seek to perpetuate it. He believes that he is fighting against monstrously evil things, and that he should have a willingness to give all in the struggle. By creating a similar psychology as in a time of war the Communist gets in a time of peace the response that goes with it.
To turn a man into a leader you must first give him confidence in himself. You must also give him something to be confident about. They believe that all progress comes through conflict. Before the person is given his tutorial work he receives training, teaching him both the subject and the method to engage in the struggle and to teach others. After he becomes effective in teaching others he is told that he must become active in a particular sphere of activity where he can be most effective and which is uniquely his. A man who forces his belief down the throats of others using a different vocabulary that theirs remains an outsider. If you have somewhat of an in depth knowledge of what you're discussing, others are instinctively assured that you probably know what you're talking about. In training he must be first inspired, have a clear defined view of the desired outcome, and that it can be achieved provided they prepare themselves sufficiently. They are given a sense of involvement in the battle, and that by learning receive the ammunition needed to prevail. They make sure the classes are small, because there the person can be an individual, and in the intimacy of the small group he can make a contribution to the discussion. By making a person tutor it gives him confidence in himself and enables him to glimpse his own unsuspected potentiality. He has a knowledge that other's don't have, help him grow in stature, gives him specialized training, and preparation in the sphere of activity in which he would be most effective. A lecture type approach is suitable only for preparing him for more intensive style instruction in small study groups. They should be asking themselves all the time, 'Education for what?' Sometimes they get so caught up in the job of learning and teaching the purpose of the education gets lost, and they begin to measure success only in terms of academic achievements. The goal is not only to equip for action, but to assist them in becoming leaders. The subject being taught and the level of understanding should determine the method of instruction being used. The 3 most typical are 1. Lectures followed by questions and a discussion or both. 2. Controlled discussion. 3. Question and Answer method. (Editor Note #2 controlled discussion is also known as the consensus process, and is used very frequently in meetings of school committees etc., where the facilitator has already determined the planned outcome) #2 is regarded as the most useful when the circumstances are right. The lines it most normally follows are: The number taking the course should not be less than 3 or 4 or larger than 14 or 15. Maximum attention must be paid to detail even in the way in which they are seated. Ideally they are in a circle around the tutor. The tutor doesn't follow the conventional practice of lecture. His success can be measured by the extent in which others do the talking in the way in which he would have said it. By way of preparation class members are given reading assignments, but they are kept to a minimum, perhaps 8 or 9 pages. The tutor prepares himself as if he was going to give a lecture. He makes a logical framework, but limits it to 3 main points. He controls the discussion and gets each member to talk on each major point. He then makes an opening statement in which he briefly outlines that which will be discussed. The opening statement will be about 4 or 5 minutes. Then he tries to get everyone talking. Generally there is someone who is very talkative. He may start off with this individual, but then he may have to stop him from dominating the entire group. The tutor directs the discussion by recognizing others and putting in a comment here and there unobtrusively to direct the discussion in the way he wants it to go. If someone has been silent, the facilitator does not ask them a direct question, but asks if they have any doubts or difficulties with what is being discussed that we can help them to overcome. The members of the group that have found consensus will help this individual to this newfound point of view. The individual with doubts will think that the fault is with himself, and generally revise his viewpoint. The group can than proceed to the next point. If someone is hostile or cantankerous, and there is no possible hope of his being persuaded the facilitator will not proceed until all have individually and collectively accepted the preceding. People in the group will think that since they have come to this conclusion by their own thought they leave convinced that it is their own opinion and belief arrived at be reading, thought and discussion. This controlled discussion method leads attendees to accept that that which was discussed is what any reasonable person would adopt once their mind was cleared of prejudices.
The question and answer method - The group is given reading in a syllabus. The tutor is given a leaders guide with suggested questions. It is of the utmost importance that the tutor determine the answers he will give beforehand rather than content himself with posing the question. Success depends on maximum cooperation from all people attending the class. He tells them the ground rules of the particular session. He tells them something like, 'tonight we will deal with the problems arising from the previous session. We will be discussing mainly our view the Marxist view of the social development and application to human history, and the Marxist view of the world and of nature. We call this view dialectic materialism which is the essence of Marxist philosophy.' This is most effective with a really small class of 4 or 5 people. It necessitates a greater preparation than a straight lecture controlled discussion. The tutor needs to take great care to ask the right questions, to have the answers to the questions before the class meets, to summarize the discussion using the students contributions as far as possible. A lot of thought has gone into both questions and answers. The questions are framed in such a way as to undermine the position held unquestionably the new recruit who has come to the party from some other section of the socialist movement. The recruit will have little question about the validity of that which he has read or been given to him. The tutor should assume a kindly and decent attitude toward his students.
Rough treatment should be reserved for those arrogant or intolerant towards others. Such instruction leads those who are indoctrinated, to abandon and repudiate their past thinking. These methods work. They achieve their ends, and should be learned by non communists. An enormous amount of time and trouble is put into communist classes. Attendees are made to feel that those higher up in the organization care.
They put on national campaigns in which their best propagandists are used to manipulate the public. The party has been much more concerned with the education of their people than the church. It works hard to develop literature that is simple, and helps the members understand the workings of the party. If Christians used this with success it would lead to Christians being more interested in Christianity, and being able to apply their belief. Due to their doing this Communists have been much more successful than Christianity in spite of the fact that it is evil through and through.
We must make Christianity relevant to our work and our work linked to our beliefs so that whatever we do reflects our faith. You're much more likely to be effective if your respected and the better job that you do will lead to people listening to your comments on other issues. If you don't do a good job people will not respect you, and will not listen to you.
Communists test their methods by a simple question, Does it work? The party lives by its campaigns, and the campaigns keep the members active all the time. This is a deliberate policy. People suitably activated, get satisfaction from being active because they believe they are engaged in something virtuous. Communists succeed in keeping members almost always active and making their activities relevant to their goals. Ideally the issues should be linked to the people's desires. One of Mao's successes was that when he was a guerilla he appeared to the people as one of their champions. They sent their members out among the people, to discover the issues that were important, reported back, and the party would work to discover a strategy as to how it could be used to further its cause.
The communists aim is a communist world. This aim is kept In the members mind all the time. He is made to feel that this is the ultimate aim so that the campaigns don't become an end in themselves. Or he may begin to think that in gaining reforms he comes to believe that reform is possible. Whereas the goal of Communism is to sweep away as a precondition to the building of a Communist world. This is a long term objective, but you need to have short term objectives. If you leave troops inactive for too long they will become demoralized. You have to have small skirmishes in which there is a chance to get a small victory to keep the morale up. A sudden cessation of activity due to sickness or something else has led to losing many workers. A cooling off frequently leads to a subsequent defection. One obvious immediate objective is the making of converts. Any communist worth his salt will instinctively look around him to determine who may come into the party, and after having identified them will begin to plan a strategy to bring this about. While looking for members he recognizes that he has a responsibility to convert public opinion in favor of the party. The party creates a certain attitude among its members by making them believe they have the best thing on earth, and the responsibility to share it with others. Communism uses hardships of others around which the party can conduct agitation. Whatever the issue may be as long as it doesn't conflict with the broader aims of the party the local party will probably go into action.
Unfortunately in many churches when someone in the congregation becomes active and tries to get the church involved the clergy becomes nervous and watch with apprehension as they try to apply some segment of their Christianity to the pagan society in which they live. So long as the congregation is just talking it seems as if there is little cause for alarm, but once they go out and try to do things red lights begin to shine in the distance. Many times concerns are expressed and groundwork laid, but not a campaign Someone in the church is nervous as to where it might lead. This isn't a problem for communists. In communism members are sent into action. They know their superiors believe in them. They send them into campaigns knowing that they will make mistakes which of course they do, but also they learn from their mistakes. Too frequently when Christians go into action they do not have the confidence that their leaders believe in them. If you never say a word on behalf of your beliefs, if you never do anything your never going to be guilty of heresy. Except the total failure to do anything about your beliefs seems to me to constitute a heresy in itself. Perhaps its one of the greatest and most deadly heresies of our time. The Christian might ask themselves, why with truth on their side they have none the less often failed, whereas the Communist has succeeded. Something in Christianity has gotten lost over 2000 years. Each generation must be evangelized anew. Each generation of young people must be Christianized all over again. This has been true over the centuries. Communists say that to make mistakes is not as important as to learn from them. General Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army when asked why they set their hymns to that of popular tunes replied, “I see no reason why the Devil should have all the best tunes. Nor is there any reason why the devil should have all the best techniques either. One can often learn more directly from one's failures than from success. This is why communists seldom make the same mistake twice. If there is anything in this for Christians to adopt and adapt surely the attitude of mind to determine to be absolutely honest with yourself, and with each other about what you're doing. To cut through the complements and cant so that it's possible to see whether or not the purpose of your cause has been served by the activities in which your engaged. To say to yourself and to each other what is this really about – what is it really for?
Marxists see themselves as conscious and willing instruments of change in the work of the world and society. They believe they can accelerate and direct that process. The party pays enormous attention to the task of trying to develop each party member. They study for the sole practice of putting into action what they learn. The party's task is to insure that each member is developed to the uttermost and made as effective as possible in the fight to see communism prevail. Too often Christians give the impression that they have the right answers, but they do not follow through by putting these into action. People tend to be influenced by the fact that you're not just talk, but are doing something.
We need to get profound ideas across in simple language. Communist newspapers are educators, agitators, and an organizer for communism. It is for simple ideas that men will die. Communist leaders reduced their message to a simple proposition for simple people. Revolutions are made by simple people led by intellectuals. A party perishes if it shuts itself up in its narrow party shell, and shelters itself from the masses. Any printed materials we use need to be excellent in content and appearance, because they are a reflection of what we are.
Many countries are antagonistic to America because of the culture we export vis a vie movies, standards. One citizen of Singapore said, “We had to clean up the mess the Christians left behind.”
Marxism is in conflict with every other philosophy, and when Marxists speak they attack the beliefs of every other religion, and tell the listeners they are spoon fed and dumb. They have evolved a technique that doesn't set out to prove that the other is wrong. Instead they seek to find a point of contact with his mind and extend an area of sympathetic agreement as far as possible. A principal of organization is that whenever 3 or more Communists gather together they regard it as a cell. They are expected to work together in this organized way in the interest of Communism.
Communists are professionals in the sense that they are not amateurs, and their methods are not amateurish. They fight for Communism as if they are in a war sweeping away the existent society as a precondition for building a new one. They live for the revolution from the moment they wake until they go to bed at night. Each member is expected to be a leader in whatever field life may take him. As Christians we need to produce men of a special mold. Communism takes good men with good intentions and uses them for a bad cause. Because its approaches to God, the nature of man, and to the world it starts off on the wrong foot. The consequences are that the men who join the party start out to be saviors and instead become men's jailors. When the Vietnamese were attacking the French at Dien Bien Phu they were told that their death was not for Vietnam they would be dying for the suffering for oppressed humanity of the world. That their death would make the world a better place. That was the briefing atheists gave their troops before they went into battle. They were not afraid to call upon them to die, and they did not hesitate to base this appeal, an appeal to the idealism which is deep in the heart of every man. This is a powerful thing and their followers went action. Wave after wave went into battle ready to die so that others might live. They were sent into the battle morally prepared for the fight. In Latin America one of the things Communists tell their cadres is that by joining the party every member should be aware that he may be arrested and suffer torture. It is therefore important that he be prepared politically and morally to endure these trials with honor. They are told that neither torture, ill health nor any other reason can justify betrayal of the cause.
Today we are at the beginning of a process of renewal. Almost the only thing certain of the period that lies ahead is that it will be a period of great change. This is a process that has started and there will be no stopping it. The process is likely to be accelerated rather than slowed down.
We have looked at some of the methods they use and have found effective. Some of these we may possibly be able to imitate, some are capable of adaptation, I suppose the fight for what is good has always to take two forms, the fight for truth and the fight against falsehood. In this study, we have been concentrating on the positive side of the fight, almost to the exclusion of the other. For myself, I would feel that we need more Christian leaders as an answer to the trained Communist leaders. We shall most effectively provide answers to Communism, not by producing more militant, purely negative anti Communists, certainly not by producing more amateurs, but by producing more well-instructed, dedicated, totally committed religious believers.
There is no part of the world today where socialists and Communists are not active. All forms of socialism including Communism are disastrously false doctrines. It is a fight not of our choice, but a very necessary one if freedom is going to survive in our nation and the world.
The task of making leaders is really one of creating an attitude of mind. When some new situation arises, the reaction of most people is to ask; when is someone going to do something about it? The spontaneous reaction of the trained leader is at once to ask himself: what do I do in this situation? He comes before his fellows and says: We should do this and that and the other. They follow him. Partly because he speaks with authority, they respect him and look up to him, but also because they have learned from experience that he has something to offer.
The Communist is taught always to ask himself: What do I do as a Communist? The answer he provides flows direct from his beliefs. Action and belief are always related in his mind and in his practice too.
The Christian, if he is going to match the Communist man for man, might profitably ask: What do I do as a Christian? Then act accordingly. A social revolution and a moral regeneration would occur in the life of the West if every committed Christian we already have were to acquire, or to be given, this attitude of mind and start to think in these terms.
In practice one learns to lead by leading–provided that one has been suitably prepared and trained to learn from one's mistakes. The Communists are not interested in producing leaders as such. It is Communist leaders they want. Men who will lead for the cause not just for themselves. The same surely goes for Christians too. Our public and professional life is full of people who are leaders who are also Christians.
If the Christian believes that it would be the better for being more Christian, he has a right and a duty to try to make it so. If he believes that it should be transformed, then there is every reason why he should set about the task of trying to Christianize himself, and simultaneously trying to make the society in which he lives one in which the human personality can develop, into a society which no longer degrades men and makes it virtually impossible for any of them to live a decent life.
The Christian should take a leaf out of the Communist book and to recognize that nothing is gained by squandering our human material or letting it go to waste, as is so often the case
If one really is setting out to do a job, then it is only common sense to make it as effective as possible. If you believe that public opinion needs to be rescued from present trends, then there is every reason why also you should try to make the Christian impact upon it as great as possible.
For this task, dedicated Christian leaders will be needed. There are techniques which can be learned, and there is every reason why they should be studied, then taught to others.
We have been taking a very selective look at Communism in action, as I warned right at the start, we would do. I have not been looking for the evil in it, not pinpointing what is false in its teaching or dishonest in its practice. The purpose of this operation has been to look at the Communists, and to gain from this information.
Despite this cultural war in which we are in, unfortunately most Christians sleep peacefully in their beds at night, with easy consciences. There can be no doubt that here is a big a job to do, as great a challenge as ever the early Christians had to face. It's time to stop playing church and put faith into action.
I hope the preceding will whet your appetite and will lead to your reading the book. I recently wrote an article entitled, “America In Peril.” If you would like a copy as well as information on what needs to be done in order to reverse the trend please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Robert Dreyfus