Don't Be So Dogmatic - Why Being So Opinionated Is Unhelpful

James Preston Reply 4:51 PM
I am one of the most opinionated people I know. I am also one of the most gentle people I know. It's one of the strangest combinations you could ever have. Praise God for my gentleness, or else I'd be a hack to live with!

Martin Luther made a statement (among so many pearlers) that ranks right up there as one of my favourites...

"Self-righteousness is the default mode of the human heart."

I doubt he was a psychologist, but this is one of the most important observations of the human race any human has ever made. Because it is so true.

Our own personal opinion is the one that matters most. The opinion that we believe is the correct opinion. Everyone else is wrong. And it will take a lot of evidence to prove otherwise. And if you don't get my opinion, I am going to give you and show you mine until you do get it!

I saw this first hand when I had the immense and humbling privilege of "seeing" the Grace Message in its clarity like never before. It came by supernatural revelation. I had heard the facts for about 3 years straight. But all it took was one fateful night in 2009 for me to "see it".

But what I noticed over the next few months was intriguing... People who had also "seen this Message in its clarity" became worryingly harsh about it. Knocking those who didn't quite understand "it" yet. And publicly, too.

I am equally to blame. I had a few brainfarts of my own on Facebook for which I am deeply ashamed of and sincerely apologise for. These "brainfarts" came from a place of self-righteous bigotry where I knew it and they didn't!

This bigotry pushed people away. Instead of inviting them into a study of their own, we pushed them back into their corner arming them with more reason not to jump in our water.

This wasn't "The Message's" fault. It was our human nature's fault. Our self-righteousness. What we believed was right dammit! And if you don't believe it then you're wrong! That self-righteous dogmatic approach hindered people's reception of this Message. But it doesn't change the Message one bit.

But that's beside the point of this post... This post is about our dogmatic beliefs. Not one particular belief itself.

This self-righteousness spans across all platforms: Technology, sports teams, politics, travel, religion, health. You name it. Self-righteousness is everywhere.

Opinions count. And they matter. And they're important. Without them we wouldn't change the world. Without a little bit of passionate dogma we would remain a passively loose-wristed society. But we must somehow find a means to give space for a change of opinion. And most certainly respect the opinions of others.

I am no saint. Trust me.

I am unfortunately deeply opinionated. But I do my best to ensure those opinions don't offend. My best doesn't mean I get it right all the time, but I try.

May we all respect each other's opinions, and be more mindful of how our opinion may affect our audience.

We can't convert everyone. And sometimes, our trying is only going to enforce their standpoint. Let's do our best to Love, and let the opinions come later.

4 Things The Government Shutdown in USA Taught Us

James Preston 2 7:03 AM
The USA Government finally ended their Shutdown on Wednesday night, 16 October, after 16 days of not being able to come to an agreement as to how its Government should be funded. So instead of agreeing to disagree, all Government departments were shutdown.

The shutdown intrigued the world, as it should taking place in the world's most dominant economy. Here are 4 things the circus-like shutdown has taught us:

1. Bureaucracy doesn't work
Democracy is a great thing, and in many ways a Godly thing. But something is amiss in society when Democracy itself gets in the way of significant decisions.

The bureaucratic systems in society today only serves to make people wait weeks for something that could take only a few hours to act on.

This is why the Virgin Group is not a stock-exchange-listed company. Richard Branson pulled Virgin off the London Stock Exchange many years ago. He could not handle the amount of time it took for decisions to made because all the shareholders had to be in agreement before it was enacted.

He bought all the shares back and took Virgin private again. All so that ultimately only a handful of people could make the important decisions and keep Virgin at the forefront of innovation.

I am not advocating autocratic dictatorship, but the truth is, the more people feel like they have a stake in a big decision, the longer that decision will take to get made.

This is why when America is at war, the President of the United States as "Commander-in-Chief" has power and authority to make decisions without consulting congress. It is too dangerous a time to wait for a decision to be made, they must be made quickly and efficiently.

In the same way, a big decision like funding the entire Government should be one that requires an authoritative voice to make the final decision.

I'm not saying Democracy doesn't work. It is the lesser of many evils. But the more bureaucracy involved in making decisions, the less powerful a leadership is. There must be a final, small, group of people, even one person, who can stand up and make that all-important final decision.

I know this is idealistic, and I don't really have many proposals to offer a solution. But maybe you do. It's food for thought when you're running a country one day.

2. Everyone wants a King like Jesus
This is a point Bill Johnson makes. And I love it.

Following on from point 1, the fact is... people actually long for a hero. Look at how George Bush was praised during the 9/11 attacks. Look at how Barack Obama was almost worshipped as the hero to rescue America after the financial crisis of 2008. Or the love the world has for the idyllic relationship between Prince William and Princess Kate. Deep down inside, people desire a hero and leader they can trust to lead them to greener pastures.

Our bureaucratic systems have emasculated those gifted to lead.

Many people would disagree with point 2. But that's because they think of Jesus as a harsh, Just Warrior who will wipe out anyone who disagrees with Him. The fact is; Jesus is the greatest King this world will ever have. His blood pulses with Love for every single person on this planet. Every one of them. His decisions would always be made with this in mind. His decisions will lead us to Heaven on Earth.

People (especially Americans) were desperate for President Obama to stand up and say "enough is enough, we are going ahead with this whether you like it or not!" As this News Anchor so accurately (and passionately) points out on this live TV show. I wonder how Jesus would have handled this crisis?

3. The divide in America is getting greater
It's getting clearer and clearer. Republican and Democratic footsoldiers are on the verge of hating each other. I say footsoldiers because the leaders themselves understand politics is a game of looking friendly with as many people as possible. But the footsoldiers are looking at the other party and shaking their heads, even clenching their fists.

The divide between Republicans and Democrats has never been greater. And this is seriously worrying.

This fact was clearly highlighted in this Government Shutdown. The Republicans were so opposed to the Democrat's healthcare plan, they boycotted the national budget. How much do you have to disagree with something to shut your entire Government down?

This only served to fuel more anger from the Democrats (especially the footsoldiers) toward Republicans, and I shudder to think where it could land up. I won't get into this divide now, the fact is, the rift between the two parties was never highlighted more than in this Shutdown.

4. The USA has more debt than it can handle
When someone cannot fund their own household because they don't know which debt to pay first, that person needs debt counselling.

When a leadership can't fund its own government, that nation is "in over its head" with financial crisis.

In a basic nutshell: This entire crisis stemmed around the fact that the USA had a deadline to agree upon how they would pay their debt before 17 October. The government couldn't reach that agreement.

I have heard some horrifying predictions regarding the US economy. I choose to hope those predictions won't happen. But the fact remains; the USA is in deep financial crisis, and something drastic needs to happen to keep it afloat.

There is no doubt they can get out of this. No doubt whatsoever, but if they keep playing bureaucratic politic games, they will only find themselves in a nationally crippling crisis.

Something must be done, and it must be done soon. It is going to take a radical decision by a radical leader to do it.
American politics are fascinating. I, like many of the world, am captivated by them, because they truly are a great nation. Almost every decision their government makes affects world economies. But with the spotlight on them for so long in such important times, how long will it take before one of their leaders rises up to actually make that all important heroic decision?

If I were an American, I wouldn't be worried. I would support my government, and pray that a courageous leader would emerge. That leader isn't going to be the anti-christ. What a load of hogwash. (Another post for another day). That leader will be blessed by God to lead the world's largest economy onward to greatness. Without it, they'll be left in the dust of Chinese imperialism.

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

James Preston Reply 3:28 PM
I know you've heard that adage a million times. The problem with repeated cliches is that they lose their effectiveness. Even though they hold great insights of incalculable value. This one is no different.

Good things really do come to those wait.

Now, that doesn't mean if you sit around doing nothing just "waiting for something to happen" good things will come. No. It means your success will take time.

I'm acutely aware that this isn't very popular advice right now. From both a theological standpoint and a cultural one.

Culturally speaking; in a world of instant gratification and overused stories of overnight successes, patience is not something we're good at. We want something, and we want it now.

Theologically speaking; most of you readers of this Blog would, like me, believe Jesus accomplished everything we already need for our success and prosperity. (Prosperity meaning a number of aspects of life). Which can sometimes inaccurately translate into "I should be seeing my prosperity manifest now".

The impatient culture within which we live doesn't help our theology either. It serves only to emphasise our sorely lacking ability to wait with a smile.

But wait for what? Or more importantly, wait after what?

Wait for your success. And wait for it after you've received the promise of it.

Whatever it may be, whether it be the promise of a miracle, the promise that you believe you are blessed to be successful in business, you will be a great leader, the fact is... the promise is only the beginning.

The fruit proving you actually believe the promise is most commonly revealed in your actions after you've received that promise.

Abraham received a promise that he would be the father of many nations through Sarah. If he didn't believe it, he would've been like most other 90 year old man. Not exactly sexually active with his 90 year old wife. But the fact that he tried to "make things happen" with Sarah (regularly for 7 years!) goes to show that he believed God at His Word. Did Abraham believe 100%? No. After a few years he tried with Hagar. You know the story. But he still believed something was going to happen. And he kept trying.

That's what we need to remember in our society crazed with instant results. Hey, I love instant results as much as the next guy! I'm a classic 1985 baby, part of the MTV "want it now" generation! But the more I have wrestled with God over His promises, the more I have realised the harvest germinating under the soil is far greater than I even imagined. I just didn't give up tending to the garden.

The garden of your life requires you to take care of it. From educating yourself, to equipping yourself, to make the right decisions, to actioning ideas, you need to do something to get the ball rolling. But don't mistakenly believe that just because you did something means you will see something tomorrow. It might take next week, it might take next year, it may even take next decade! (Depending on what you're building).

The question is... have you started building? Have you started planting?

If so, keep at it. Don't stop. Don't give up. Ever. And one day you'll look back and see just how much fruit that "garden" has produced.

Because good things come to those who wait.

My Months Without Sugar

James Preston Reply 4:25 PM
I was wondering what to write this week... as once again I found myself short of time to sit down and focus on a decent article for you. It's been a crazy week for so many reasons, of which I won't go into.

But I just read a good article from Leo Babauta who Blogs at Zen Habits and "Minimalist". He is doing a month without TV or video, and plans on doing a month without sugar this month. He made it sound like it would be so difficult. And then I knew what to write... My months without sugar.

I thought I would give you some of my experiences of my months without sugar. Give you the side effects, the experience, and the difficulty.

It is possible that I have had less sugar in 2013 than I have in any other year of my life, maybe even my Baby years. Very possible.

As most of you know, I started the LCHF diet in March, and have been on and off throughout the year. My biggest break from the diet being just a few weeks back when I was back to my old way of eating for a whole 3 weeks. It was heavenly. ;)  Haha, no just kidding. That makes it sound like when I am on diet I'm in hell! Which is certainly not the case.

So I am now into my 2nd week back on the lifestyle* without any sugar or carbs. Zero.

  • No sugar in my coffee.
  • No bread/grains/pasta.
  • No starchy veg like Butternut or Carrots.
  • No fruit.
  • No fruitjuice.
  • No artificial sweeteners.
  • No peanut butter.
  • No yoghurt besides full-fat Greek yoghurt.
  • No cereals.
  • No sauces.
  • Water, coffee, milk & cream the only liquids.

That really is the essence of this lifestyle: No sugar. And that means carbohydrate as well, because your body treats carbohydrates exactly the same as it does sugar. Even Low GI carbs. They just release the glucose into your blood slower.

So how has it been?

Much, much easier than I ever imagined. So easy that after 7 months I am still living this lifestyle. Bearing in mind I used to be a sugar addict.

The first 4 days were difficult:

  • I got ravenously hungry. And I craved carbs. Chips, potatoes, bread. 
  • I had a slight headache, but not major.
  • I was very tired as my body adjusted to finding its energy source from other avenues (primarily fat).

The rest?
Easy as pie.

What makes it so easy is that I don't limit what I eat. I don't ration portions for my meals. I eat as much as I like when I like.

That's what makes this lifestyle so easy. It's really one simple rule: cut out sugar.

Obviously the key is that you replace it with fat. That's right... "fat". Even saturated fat!

After 7 months of living this way, my cholesterol sits at an average 4.8 and I feel healthier than ever.

I have cream in my coffee. Have lots of mayonaise with my salad and chicken. And eat a decent amount of Greek Yoghurt. These fatty food pleasures keep me sane, but more than that... keep me happy. I love them. If I get a bit peckish... I look forward to some coffee and cream. It tastes amazing, and keeps me going for hours!

The results have been incredible:

  • I have more energy than ever.
  • My waistline clearly is taking a good shape.
  • I never get tired in the afternoons.
  • I don't need afternoon naps like I used to.
  • I am seldom if ever hungry.
  • I eat less.
  • I am not afraid of skipping a meal, because the fat of my earlier meal/snack sees me through to the later meal.
  • I spend much less on takeaway. Much less.

I have stunned myself by how much I have enjoyed not eating sugar. Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy the good off day where I indulge in some Wakaberry Fro-Yo or a good Burger & Chips. But adjusting back to this way of life is a sinch.

Sugar is a problem. A major problem in society today. Possibly as bad as tobacco and alcohol.

I never thought I would ever say that. I believe some sugar as part of our diet is ok, and in many ways healthy. But it's just easier for me to stick to the rule of none at all.

But the truth is... the food industry is shaking in its boots because it sees what's on the horizon.

Life without sugar is one of the most natural and healthy ways of living I could ever have imagined.

Try it. For two weeks. It'll be easier than you think, and the results will simply stun you.


*I say "lifestyle" instead of "diet" because that's exactly what it is: a lifestyle. Not a diet.

For more info on the LCHF lifestyle, check out my most popular post of all-time:

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