Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Politics and Presuppositions: What We Need to Know

The Presidential campaign is entering in its most intense phase and it has never been closer or more passionately fought.

As I look into social media- there is a sharp divide from mutual friends about the nature of the debate and solutions to issues.

I wanted to step back from the fray and make a larger observation about what we can learn about the nature of presuppositions and how this points us to real solutions to societal ills.

The first point is an admission- I have these same presuppositions. So when I write, "I'm backing up from the fray to comment"- it appears I am taking a neutral, objective look at the issue. But this is a false claim. I am not neutral-no one is neutral- there is no such thing as a completely neutral view. I am a human being infected by my own apperception.

SO let me deal with this vital issue first. From the time we are born, we are beginning a program where we are 'conditioned' in how to see, and how to think. It is the old argument of nature vs. nurture. The reality is, we are shaped powerfully by both.

As a Christian, I accept the base nature of man as inherently evil. Our default mode is rebellion to authority and results in both passive and active violations of the Creator's moral law.

But there are others, who begin with different views regarding God, man, good, truth, etc.

The main point is that we filter facts according to presuppositions rather than absolute truth. In fact, our presuppositions are so powerful that some reject the existence of absolute truth.

The older we get, the more ingrained these deep beliefs take root. We latch onto people and facts that seem to support our vantage point and we critique and reject people and facts that challenge our positions.

That is why this election will come down to a slim margin. Most have already made up their mind, will likely not be swayed by any campaign technique, and the electoral balance hangs in who turns out their base and who wins the 'independent and open' votes in a few key states.

Both candidates represent powerful presuppositional views in their own make-up. President Obama cut his teeth in the educational system and experience from a more progressive mindset. He was multi-cultural and pluralist from the very beginning and he worked in inner-city Chicago among those who seem to have been left behind in the land of opportunity. He saw the failures of the Chicago housing authority and educational institutions, but he also saw little alternative but to reform and re-engage a governmental application to a hopeless situation.

Mitt Romney was shaped by a conservative view of life. His experience in the marketplace and the narrative of how his family rose from immigrants to great success in business, amassing great wealth in the process.

Both men are in a political party of peers and a base who continually rally around base principles which represent the presuppositions of their party.

So what do we do with this? We have to learn from it or face dire consequences in the future.

The hardest thing to do is win a political base playing to your base and then govern the nation as a representative of all. It takes great wisdom and leadership to recognize the difference in a mandate election and a divided electorate. Winning has consequences, no will deny that. And there must be acceptance and followership when the rule of law is followed and procedure certified.

However, to govern according to strict ideology regardless of the consent of the governed is not a wise practice.

I did not vote for President Clinton and I grieve at his sinful behavior in the Oval office. But he did govern wisely by understanding the need to be more center and across the aisle for the purpose of progress. Even with differences, both parties worked together on bi-partisan solutions to real life problems.

This has been my biggest issue with President Obama. I wish he had understood that the majority of Americans liked the idea of across state line competition for health care providers, they liked the protection afforded by those with pre-existing conditions, and they liked the extension of the coverage to older children. But the 'ram (or Rahm) it through regardless' approach did not help my desire to support his policy. The passage of the sweeping bill without really knowing what was in it was appalling.

President Bush in a sense did the same thing in his prosecution of the war on terror. There seemed to me to be a rush to Baghdad regardless of finding some semblance of consensus. The unity the nation had found in the wake of 9/11 quickly faded and there was a lot of bully pulpit and less dialogue on both sides.

But there is a much larger, much deeper message on the power of presuppositions. We have to understand the strategy for dealing with these issues personally and practically.

For the Christian believer: We have to challenge one another to let God's Word shape our presuppositions. We have to have a healthy skepticism of how we see things. We have to reject our natural inclination to make decisions based on what 'feels' right and challenge each other to dig into, "What does Scripture say?". We have to let Scripture push our doctrine and bend our doctrine to align with the teaching of the Bible and not vice-versa.

For the non-Christian believer: You have to hope that God will open your eyes to the reality of your situation. The Bible says that you are without excuse. The Bible says that you know God is calling, but you suppress that truth in unrighteousness. You have to believe that the simple offer of the good news of Christ's death is something that you cannot ignore.

For all of us: We have to be willing to see other people with alternate viewpoints as human beings made in God's image. We can challenge them, but they are not the enemy.

One word of warning: The media does not help us here. They have learned to increase ratings by feeding our presuppositions rather than challenge them. The media is NOT and honest broker of the truth and they are as slanted right AND left as they have ever been.

Our educational institutions have let us down as well. We have lifted up test scores as a litmus test of success while our students do poorly on reading comprehension, they do not know how to argue with logic and support, they do not know how to prove truth through sound epistemology.

And finally, we will never find a political solution to life's ills. But if we all sought after a universal consensus based on the Creator's Laws, we would find a better chance of harmony. Republicans and Democrats, Black and White, Rich and Poor could all find harmony and equality in Christ. If the true and living church of Jesus Christ would live out its mission we would find we need less government agencies and have more Statesmen signing up to re-shape our republic.

Then, it would not matter who was President.

And, according to how our Constitution is written- it means a lot less than we could ever imagine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Soul of the Lion- last post

In studying all types of men in history- you find that most do not finish well. This is especially true of warriors, who find times of peace to be incompatible to their base nature.

I have blogged on this issue in the past: Warning to Warriors (2007)

But you cannot add Joshua Chamberlain to that list of those who fizzled out after their moment of glory.

His famous fight at Gettysburg was on July 2, 1863 (35 years old). He went on to live a fruitful and productive life until he passed away peacefully at 9:30 in the morning on Feb. 24, 1914 completing 86 beautiful years on earth. That is an extraordinary long life for a man in that time of history.

So what did he accomplish AFTER Gettysburg?

  • Promoted to General (that took a long time because Chamberlain did not promote himself)

  • Severely wounded in battle (a Minnie' ball slammed into his right hip-severed arteries-nicked his bladder- crushed pelvic bones- it took two discouraged surgeons who performed what has been called a miracle of medicine- but he suffered physically from that wound for the rest of his life).

  • returned to war

  • shot again in battle- a chest hit that was slowed down because it passed through his horse first.

  • An honor: Chamberlain was appointed to receive the infantry surrender.

  • The magnanimous gesture: Chamberlain received more acclaim and criticism for the honorable way he treated the confederates during the surrender at Appomattox. Instead of humiliating the vanquished foes, he had his men salute them.

I quote from Wallace:

As Chamberlain watched the remnant of Lee's once great army, perhaps the most effective fighting instrument of its size ever created by the American people, the significance of the situation profoundly impressed him. He had earlier resolved to recognize the moment by saluting the Southern troops and had so informed his his regimental commanders. He was aware of the responsibility he was assuming, aware, too that criticisms would follow, as indeed they did. But his chief reason, he said, 'was one for which I sought no authority nor asked forgiveness. 
'Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood; men whom neither toils and sufferings. nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?'

When Gordon, the Confederate counterpart saw what was happening, his whole demeanor changed. He wheeled his horse toward Chamberlain and bowed.

This act was noted all throughout the South and Chamberlain became known as 'the most knightliest  soldier of the Federal army'.

A few days later, a confederate officer approached Chamberlain: "You astonish us by your honorable and generous conduct. I fear that we should have not done the same to you had the case been reversed."

  • He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor

  • He became a successful Governor of Maine

  • He became the President of Bowdoin College

  • He was a reformer in economics and education.

  • He represented American interests in France.

  • He transformed the Port at Portland.


This quote from a letter to his sister sums it up: "I always wanted to be  at the head at some enterprise to transform the wilderness into a garden both materially and spiritually- to be a missionary of civilization and of Christianity at once."

I highly recommend the biography by Wallace- but my deep prayer is that we find more men in the spirit of Joshua Chamberlain- it is our only hope!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Decision of Difference: Soul of the Lion pt 3

July 2, 1863 marked the famous Battle at Gettysburg, one of the bloodiest days in history, a fight of epic legend, and a landmark victory where inevitable momentum swung to the Union.

Little would Joshua Chamberlain know at the start of that day, that he would be the key player in such a grand narrative.

It was that moment where a leader of courage, character, and conviction found the fruit of his labor to know schemes and tactics, and discover that his leadership had created trust in his men to rally to his call and create a sudden surprise victory.

It began by Chamberlain taking a quick survey of the battlefield and discovering a weakness. He was the anchorman of the left flank and mentally rehearsed what would happen if the enemy captured a strategic position known as 'little round top'. His forward thinking and acquired military skill put his men in position to defend that valued plot of land.

And the enemy came in full frontal assault.

Five times that day, the south roared and rushed Chamberlain's regiment. It was primarily the Alabama 15th under the command of William Oates against the 20th of Maine under the direction of Chamberlain.

Chamberlain held firm, following orders to hold the position to the last man, at all costs.

Then came that monumental moment. Chamberlain was out of ammunition and would not be able to hold another attack. He had put every man in his disposal to fight: cooks, bandsmen, and guards. He had few options left. He calmly gave the order: 'fix bayonets'.

His brave men responded and went on the attack. Oates was pulling back and had to order retreat when he saw the attack approaching.

Here are a few noteworthy quotes and notes:

A soldier of the 15th had recognized Chamberlain and put him in his sights. He wrote, "I rested my gun on the rock and took steady aim. I started to pull the trigger, but some queer notion stopped me."

Both sides displayed fierce toughness and the admiration for one another lasted a lifetime.

Wallace notes it this way: "It was a magnificent feat of arms, rarely if ever surpassed in the importance of its accomplishment by any regiment in American military history."

Colonel Oates of Alabama wrote, "There never were harder fighters than the Twentieth Maine men and their gallant Colonel. His skill and persistency and the great bravery of his men saved Little Round Top."

A Texas orator: "Hood had been victorious  on every field until 'God stopped them at Little Round Top'."

Fifty years after the battle, Chamberlain returned. Once a bloody day of scars and the dead was now a park of beauty and monuments. He walked around, climbed the summit, and sat there quietly until dark.

He was overcome by the thought that he was surrounded by the fallen. Those young men who did not know 'what were their lofty deeds of body, mind, heart, and soul on that tremendous day'.

The hills of Gettysburg had witnessed their valor and sacrifice.

The great man, Chamberlain, reflected on the moment. "(The graves at Gettysburg) shall hold the mighty secret in their bosom till the great day of revelation and recompense, when these heights shall flame again with transfigured light- they, too have part in that adoption, which is the manifestation of the sons of God."

On that ridge, 50 years earlier, bleeding from a leg wound that had taken shrapnell- Chamberlain had grabbed a moment undergirded by that hardened faith- and made a decision that made a difference.

The average man would have lain there and rested or given up the ghost- but not this mighty warrior of God. To give up or give in would mean a loss in vain.

May we all 'fix bayonets' when our time is called upon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Soul of the Lion pt 2

You would think that a man of Chamberlain's ability would be an excellent military leader from the start. But it did not take long for him to realize that his understanding to tactics and maneuvers was woefully lacking.

But like any great man of character, the assessment did not hinder him from engaging and driving himself to shore up and develop these areas of weakness.

There was one amazing trait that always helped Chamberlain when the bullets started firing and the cannons spewed fire and thunder- he had an uncanny calmness within the chaos. This ability to relax when others were in desperation allowed him to make great decisions and stirred great confidence in his men.

It was observed by many that no one worked harder than Chamberlain in studying the art of war, but he also equally worked to lift up and serve the people around him. The hard work and heart compassion made men respect and love him at the same time.

It did not take long for Chamberlain to realize how much better this new environment was for him and his unique skill set. Bowdoin had a great reputation, and it was a place he would love and serve- but the leadership he was under did not appreciate him. He was constantly criticized and second guessed because he did not walk lock step to conventional wisdom. His superiors didn't quite know how to handle that and his co-workers were never challenged in their assumptions and presuppositions.

This is a telling quote: "(In war/military) I have my care and vexations, but let me say that no hardship or danger ever makes me wish to get to that college life again. I can't breathe when I think of my last two years (at Bowdoin)".

I also cannot express enough that Chamberlain's deep faith served him so well. He wrote: "Most likely I shall be hit somehow at sometime, but all 'my times are in His hand' and cannot die except by His appointment."

The stories of all the close calls and bullets makes it hard to refute his assertion. He had his horse shot out from under him on at least 3 different occasions and escaped sure death over and over.

He also grew tougher. He learned to embrace 15 mile marches in all types of weather and over all kinds of harsh terrain. He wrote this to his wife, Fanny: "(I pull my tarp over me on cold and wet nights) However, I ENJOY it and I get up as bright as a squirrel and hearty as a bear for a breakfast of salt pork, or hard bread; with, maybe, coffee without milk and alas! without sugar."

But battles also ripped into his heart and soul. On one occasion he had to sleep between dead bodies. The cries of the hurting and the blood covered surgeons and the rotting smells all added up to the horrors to this conflict. He did not shrink back, however. He fought depression as valiantly as he fought the enemy.

After one battle he saw the juxtaposition of a beautiful river and across, on the bank, was a field strewn with dead soldiers in a sea of blue and gray. "Death-gardens, haunted by glorious ghosts- a splendid but unavailing valor."

I also have to remark that Chamberlain had a warrior's stubbornness. He was slow to anger, but when it finally kindled, he set his jaw and held nothing back. But is was always in defense of an ideal and he never lost his loyalty to those within his service and devotion.

DARK DAYS AND A HARSH WINTER: As is true of most narratives, Chamberlain had to endure a dire winter before his glorious victory at Gettysburg. In the winter of discontent, a man has to wrestle with deep doubts, health concerns, and a general lack of morale. Chamberlain was knocked to the ground with outbreaks of smallpox. His greatest concern was handling a broken 'espirit de corps' due to actions by his men that appeared mutinous. He stayed engaged, despite the grind and exhausting marches, weary and undone- he refused to give in and eventually the sun rose again bringing warmth and better health.

All of this leading up to a fateful July 2, 1863 when history would hang in the balance.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Soul of the Lion Part 1

I have notes to blog from now to the end of the year. The topics will be random and varied.

Last spring, I finished an outstanding book by Willard M. Wallace called, "Soul of the Lion", a biography of the stellar Civil War hero, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

That book propelled Joshua Chamberlain near the top of my all time favorite heroes!

And it is what we are missing in our culture today- a man's man with an impeccable education, a love of literature and learning, but steely tough in morality and justice. He was a man rooted in his faith with such a sturdiness that he never wavered in intensity or purpose, regardless of circumstances. He faced fear and opposition with aggression and he produced a great harvest of progress over the span of his long life.

He was unique in that he could adapt to the climate- cool as an administrator and educator but a fiery, risk taker in battle.

So what follows are notes and quotes from this remarkable hero of our country:

All-american boyhood- barn chores, wood cutting, plowing, planting- growing up in 19th century America the farm is a never ending tyrant. But he was close enough to Bangor that ship building and the visions of adventure were burned in his heart as well. His father taught him to fight with a broadsword, but he also learned to love music and sang in the choir. On top of all this, he was studious in the classroom- a military academy- where he learned Latin and French, as he practiced military drill.

His mother wanted him to be a minister, his father wanted him at West Point. MOM WON... for a while.

He went to Bowdoin College- 1st rank Greek- 1st honors French- received accolades for astronomy, math, chemistry, chosen to present orations at the Spring Exhibition, won 2nd prize his senior year for English composition- elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He joined two literary societies and taught Sunday School while leading the choir at a local church.

He entered Bangor Theological Seminary in the fall of 1852. He taught logic and natural theology. He was noted for having a fine sonorous singing voice. He was appointed professor of modern languages, filling a position that had once been held by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

He was extolled as an outstanding teacher. He held strong educational philosophies that were grounded in strong standards, but understood that teacher's needed to have a type of relationship with the students that allowed for implementing techniques which piqued their interest and motivations.

His views were out of step with most of his contemporaries, so he 'found himself walking a pretty lonely path among a distinguished faculty'.

The unexpected change came about from the changing conditions in the nation. He opposed slavery on Biblical principles and denounced the South's withdrawal as harmful to the prosperity and security of the Union. Again, most of the faculty remained quiet and neutral regarding these issues- but Chamberlain could not shake them- it effected him personally.

The people around him were more than shocked when he began to speak of entering into service. The Bowdoin College trustees moved heaven and earth to keep him and dissuade his decision.

They offered him a 2 year leave of absence in August of 1862 to travel and study in Europe at the college's expense. They felt that they could move him from the source of the conflict, temper his strong convictions, and keep their beloved teacher safe from the harms of impending war.

It was a strong temptation. Chamberlain tentatively accepted the more than generous offer- but his conscience soon took over and remained too strong.

When he announced his enlistment to defend the Union, he received abnormally harsh criticism from almost all at Bowdoin.

Adjunct General Hodson recommended him for service: "A gentleman of the highest moral, intellectual, and literary worth." He was offered a position as colonel, but turned it down. Chamberlain wanted to enter service in a subordinate position.

On August 8, 1862 Chamberlain was granted a commission as Lieutenant Colonel of the new 20th Regiment Infantry of Massachusetts.

"Thus began the active military career of one of the most remarkable officers and one of the hardest fighters to ever serve in any American army." (pg 36).

I will post more at another time. But my prayer is that we are still producing these types of men today.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A Way to Miss God's Grace?

I had the great privilege to hear Rev. Frank Barker preach this past Sunday on the all-too-familiar story of the woman at the well out of John 4. Every time I read that story, (maybe a thousand times?), I see something new.

I couldn't help but think, marvel, at how God had PREPARED the woman to have the village changing encounter with this outcast soul.

I'm going to re-tell the story- but I am going to change the woman's response. And then let us think together, what difference could this have made?

Jesus Meets the Woman at the Well- with a TOTAL DIFFERENT RESPONSE- borrowing from the Message Bible.

To get to Galilee, Jesus had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob's well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, "Would you give me a drink of water?" (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.) The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, "How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" (Jews in those days wouldn't be caught dead talking to Samaritans.) Jesus answered, "If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water."The woman said, "I am not buying your line and if you talk to me again, you are asking for trouble." Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.""What do you know of thirst, or of want. How dare you judge me, you piece of jewish filth."
He said, "Go call your husband and then come back.""This is what I thought it would be, a self-righteous morality check" she said.   "I am only asking about things that are well known and true.You've had five husbands, and the man you're living with now isn't even your husband. Your heart is hardened in your denial of God's moral law and you are experiencing consequences because of it." "Oh, so you're a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?""Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God's way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you're called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter."It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration." The woman said, "Useless words" "I am the Messiah," said Jesus. "You don't have to wait any longer or look any further." Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked. They couldn't believe he was talking with that kind of a woman. No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it. The woman quickly grabbed her water pot, cursed Jesus, and ran back to town. Back in the village she told the people, "Come see a man who propositioned me, told lies about God, and deserves to die!" And they went out to destroy Jesus on account of what the woman said.

As I spend more time with all kinds of people, I am shocked and saddened at the frequency I see of the type of heart above. This is not the majority of people I speak with- but there are some who are this hardened and even more so. They mock, sneer, make fun of, and ridicule the very truth of God.

Is there something in common with these types? Well my un-scientific observation is that these are the tall, handsome, talented, wealthy, popular, used to getting their way, and caring only for themselves types of people. And you can even find them in the church.

The humble heart -like the real woman at the well had- the real heart, that knows reality and our shortcomings is so ready to eagerly meet Jesus and drink of His water, but sadly, I meet others who despise anything He is selling.

So what do you think? Would this woman have found grace? What should we say to this kind of person? More grace? Or truthful condemnation?

In my belief of a monergistic salvation, I know God had prepared the woman's heart for this grand encounter and he will condition all to that point of surrender- but as I pray for a number of people on my salvation list, I cry out to God to turn their mockery to eagerness, and their bold rebellion to shame.

May the good seed of God's word fall on plowed-up- fruit-bearing soil.

Love to hear your feedback and push-back.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Pain of the Profound

“David must have been plagued by a very fearful devil. He could not have had such profound insights if he had not experienced great assaults.” Martin Luther

We have many in my midst today struggling with the sovereignty of God through the mis-steps of man. A lot of my dear friends are saddened by a perceived sea of error, sin, cover-up, and bungling.

How do we respond to these times of disappointment without it seeming so weak and trite to quip “God’s will, man”?

We know the scripture of Romans 8:28 and Joseph saying “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” But that doesn’t help me right now.

So let me do some more examples from Church history. Can God be glorified through the splinters of theological and doctrinal disputes?

Is He glorified on a missed field goal or a botched fly ball?

Is the gospel going forth as stories unfold of slander or suicide?

When we say God is in control and victorious- you need to understand that there is nothing trivial about that answer.

We don’t get hurt so much today. We live with pain, but I want to suggest that it is less than the saints of old. Just over a hundred years ago, it was not uncommon to lose children. Old gravesites show us a world of lost infants, and toddlers, and sweet school children.

People did not have access to Tylenol or Advil. And there were not “Docs in a Box” on every corner.

Families did not have acu-weather red icons of tornados rushing to their city and almost no way of calling for help in an emergency.

I guarantee you that I am making someone mad right now when I propose that we don’t hurt as much anymore.

You are a fool- I know pain” You say, and I know you are right. But even a diagnosis of cancer is done in the light of prognosis and MRI’s and understanding. It is not the mystery of the day of darkness – and that helps.

AND it hurts. We win more than we lose. We get our way. We have food and clothes. We have enough peace for leisure and recreation. We have holidays and celebrations. We have so much good that we lose our need for God.
As I study history, especially church history, I am amazed at God’s good sovereignty. He allows the pain and screw-ups for reasons. Some of the times, the mystery remains- but in most cases time reveals the whys.

We want the “why” NOW!

For example, Why did the Ottoman Turks advance and threaten Europe during the 16th century? How could God allow such to advance?

Some would say that it is judgment of sin. And they would be right.
Others say rain falling on just and unjust. And they would be right.
The muslims would say 'Allah's will". And they would be wrong.

I say it was also to the glory of God and the advancement of the gospel and the growth of the church.

How? One way is that Charles V was prevented from wiping out the Lutherans because of his distraction of the Turks and his desire to keep a unified populace in a time of tension.

God allowed secular and sacred events to provide the right climate for growth and sustaining of The Reformation!

Please, don’t run from God during times of trial or trouble. Don’t distance Him in distress. Instead press in to Him. Have the confidence that He can and will work things out!

Romans 4:20 "No distrust made him (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification."

Does this answer all questions about our part? Do we stay “frozen chosen”? My answer is absolutely not. Step out in courage and go- but please, don’t wring your hands in defeat and keep a loser’s look and lean.

“You are worrying yourself sick because you cannot know how or where it will all
end. But were you able to understand it all, then I would have nothing to do with this
cause!” Martin Luther to Melancthon

“Human life without knowledge of history is nothing other than a perpetual childhood, nay, a permanent obscurity and darkness.” Philip Melanchthon