When You Assume...

They became my Sunday School students. That happened the year before, after Miss Tilly asked me to replace her.

I was in high school and teaching the Book of Genesis according to the material of the day to the middle school students.

I loved those guys and they loved me.

Making this all the more painful. There’s something more self-forgiveable about being an ass in front of someone you don’t really care for. At least I personally find it a little easier to delude myself into saying “So what?” and moving on in a situation where I am surrounded by strangers. Face Masks In One Lesson Stevo, Allan Buy New $10.00 (as of 03:17 EST - Details)

But this one stays with me.

In Genesis 1:6-8, God created the firmament.

In Genesis 1:9-10, God created the dry earth.

One of the kids asked about the word firmament.

My thinking went something like this:

Firmament = firm
Firm = solid ground
Firmament must be earth

I had obviously never read the 8th verse very attentively prior to that day, for that verse says exactly what firmament is. It starts “And God called the firmament Heaven.”

Instead of going to the source and having a look, I thought about that question for a moment, and I was certain that firmament was earth.

I didn’t just say that though and move on. That’s not my style. I have a love for pedagogical flair and effectiveness.

I intuitively understood that different people learn differently.

Pedagogy without truth is toxic, just as marketing without truth is toxic, and rhetoric without truth is toxic. Power that lacks a foundation of truth is toxic.

I had power behind my ability. I had power behind my delivery.

Stepping Outside For A Lesson 

That morning in Sunday School, to explain firmament, I got everyone out of their chairs, and we went out of the side door that was seldom used in the church undercroft.

Going out through a seldom used door, by the way, further solidifies a point for the student. Amazon eGift Card - Bi... Buy New $50.00 (as of 06:05 EST - Details)

We went to the outside where Sunday School classes didn’t go during Sunday School, again an unusual behavior and likely to be even more solidifying.

I was really bringing this lesson home with memorable power and pizzazz.

The less of a foundation of truth you have, the more damage you do by adding power to your delivery. 

And I had everyone touch the tree leaves, the bush leaves, the bush twigs. I asked which of those was most “firm.”

And then we began to touch the rocks and pebbles and soil below.

“Firm,” I said.

“Firmament.”

“Firm.”

“Firmament.”

“What did God create?”

“Firmament?”

“Firm.”

“Firmament.”

The aging but still vivacious Miss Tilly happened by. It was getting to be close to church time and she had something to drop off in the undercroft, perhaps for coffee hour.

She taught me in Sunday School one year, but her sister Miss Irene taught me most years that I was in Sunday School. I loved her. I loved her whole wonderful family in our tight-knit wonderful church.

As it was strange for kids to be outside during the lesson, I was very proud to have broken this unspoken tradition to drive such an important point home. Atomic Habits: An Easy... Clear, James Best Price: $14.31 Buy New $11.98 (as of 06:25 EST - Details)

Miss Tilly happened by right at the conclusion of my firmament stunt.

She caught enough of the equivocation of “firm” ground and firmament to know that she needed to gently guide this young pup of a teacher.

And that she did.

“Good morning,” she cheerfully said. Oh, was her soul a happy and generous one. When she said good morning you knew she meant it, and you could feel the goodness of her soul.

Again, dishonesty can be so much easier to delude yourself about when someone you don’t like is involved.

I don’t remember the exact way she asked the next question, but it was the most gentle and unassuming way you could ask “What are we learning here?”

I proudly told her. Teenage me clearly thought I was a pedagogical mastermind. And maybe I was, but oh was that foundation weak.

I can just imagine the pride in myself that must have been expressed in my posture and voice.

She gently told me I may have misunderstood the reading, which would not have been the first time someone misunderstood the Bible.

Stepping Back Inside For The Real Lesson 

The outside adventure already naturally come to a conclusion, before Miss Tilly mentioned that to me, we returned to the undercroft and the single large room where perhaps 20 or 30 or 40 children gathered on that Sunday before church, and Miss Tilly said she’d get me something to look at.

Not concerned about image or ego or any of that low self-esteem talk so prevalent in our era, she wanted to make sure I could learn and the children didn’t leave with a mistake about the Bible drilled into their minds.

A few minutes later, she emerged from the wall of closets — that only her and Miss Irene seemed to know the every contents of — with a thin floppy book from the 1950s or perhaps before, that had obviously passed for age appropriate reading for a six-year-old in that era of higher standards.

It was a child-friendly Bible dictionary with the subdued colors and drawings that you might expect from the 1950s. This was the 1990s. $100 PlayStation Store... Buy New $100.00 (as of 06:25 EST - Details)

Check The Dictionary 

It was not for a lack of access that I engaged in this awful example of dishonesty in the classroom. I was not without resources.

In my own home, a massive Random House dictionary some 8 or 10 inches thick was placed in my hand at a young age. I was told to consult it before asking others whenever I had a question that I couldn’t answer myself. And after it was placed in my hand I was given a woodworking project to make the dictionary a home. It was not the era I lived in or the level of access to reference material that was to blame.

It was a lack of will. It was an intellectual laziness. It was a lack of drive to take a love of learning to the next level.

That doesn’t come from the outside. It must come from within.

Schooled By A Children’s Book 

Miss Tilly placed the children’s book in front of me and the children’s book told me that firmament was sky.

Boom

Boom

Boom

Ouch

Now what?

The room was getting loud. Parents were coming to pick up their kids. It was time for church.

And it was time to explain firmament was sky and all my pedagogy was built on a lie. The Original Reversibl... Buy New $15.00 (as of 06:25 EST - Details)

The Coward Allan

I still remember the pain I felt when I had to tell those kids that my pedagogy was based on a lie.

Sometimes the fessing up part is the most painful part of the lie. It’s temporarily seems easier to perpetuate a lie or let a lie slowly die away, unacknowledged.

That behavior is not okay.

Not everyone was taught that moral standard. Not everyone had a Miss Tilly who held you to it. I got quite a lesson on intellectual rigor that morning without any additional words needing to be spoken to me by Miss Tilly.

Not everyone has both the occasion in life and the will to conclude a need to feel accountable for all that they do.

It’s very easy for me to spot those people: those who feel no accountability for the lies that they tell. They are everywhere and I know their shame intimately. But if you are to lie to others, shame is part of it. Cause comes with effect. I know their avoidance of that shame. It’s not honorable. Avoidance can feel like the easy way out.

The easy way out, comes with confrontation of that behavior. Direct, head on, honest, painful confrontation. Perhaps a Miss Tilly was once involved in helping you navigate that ability. Eventually, you realize how much benefit comes from learning to do it yourself. Introspection and honesty with oneself can be uncomfortable, but the rewards it pays are no comparison to the low benefit avoidance of pain that accompanies the repeated shirking of that role that dishonesty requires.

The Coward Adam 

The same book of the Bible shows a most cowardly Adam doing a most cowardly thing. Virtually every father knows the joy of providing for his children. And in Eden, we see the introduction of the metaphor of God as father. He provides paradise in Eden and asks his children to avoid one thing, because he knows it will be bad for them.

When they don’t avoid it, what do they instead do? They hide. They hope it will go unnoticed or at least unacknowledged. And when Papa calls for them what do they do?

God: “Adam, explain yourself.”

Adam: “It was Eve’s fault.”

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Eve: “It was the snake’s fault.”

God doesn’t even bother to ask the snake to explain himself. Because who in their right mind would bother listening to anything a snake has to say?

That’s where many stop their reading of this passage. They don’t take it any further. They say Eve was not in her right mind, and that led to the fall, and some will even say by extrapolation all women are not in their right mind.

In Genesis 3:6 though we see an important detail. We see the words “with her.”

As in “she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto to her husband with her; and he did eat.”

So Adam was right there the whole time. The real question then, is not who would possibly listen to a snake. That’s obviously stupid. The real question is, who would stand there and let his wife talk to a snake?

Who would be so derelict with his duty in this world?

I call him not a man. But a coward.

Be the pastor of your home Man. And if you refuse to be, at least disabuse yourself of another lie by acknowledging that you walk in cowardice through the land and through your home. Your family needs more of you at a time like this. Even the most slight of men saw their shoulders broaden as they grew up, broaden to carry the burden, to shoulder responsibility, to carry on your shoulders your entire proverbial world around you.

Who’s fault is it? Don’t point the finger. Don’t pass the buck. Don’t give an excuse. Don’t craft a narrative. Put the whole damn thing on your own shoulders, carry it, move it, fix it. You can’t solve every problem with perfection, but you can damn well let everyone around you know that the lie told in front of you, the immorality committed in your sight, the violation of your values will immediately be owned by you and become your problem to address.

Decay

A society can find itself in such moral decay that everything around us is more filled with lies than with truth. And then it becomes hard for many people to make sense of the world.

Everyone is in such a habit of lying that there is so little accountability and there is so much tacit approval for all that comes out of a person’s mouth. That’s the way of our era — not to say to oneself “Is this person being veracious?” No, in fact, seldom is such a question asked and it is almost unheard of to speak that vital question aloud and challenge veracity.

The way of our era is to do yourself, the person speaking, and everyone else the disfavor of affirming every bit of nonsense a person spews out so that lowest common denominator, path of least resistance, garbage thinking is the best anyone can come up with, and that such thinking is seen as the acceptable norm. Fraud: How the Left Pl... Eggers, Eric Best Price: $7.24 Buy New $12.43 (as of 07:20 EDT - Details)

Sure, the world is full of options for voting things liked or disliked, thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s different. I’m talking about a face-to-face challenge of veracity, and more importantly denying any hint of your tacit approval that comes with verbal affirmations, or nodding of the head, or even silence in the face of a lie. That is all tacit approval.

“Someone Should Do Something About It”

“Someone should do something about it,” you may say.

My friend, if you are the remnant that you surely perceive yourself to be, if you are the man, if you are the knowledgeable person you see yourself as, and that many others likely do, then you must be the powerful force of resistance that allows the slack muscled existence around you to be steel-spined.

There is no one else. They have all given up. We are at the abyss. If you don’t wake up and act. If you don’t stand up and deny every lie quartered in your presence and in your home, you are not part of the solution dear friend.

You’re part of the problem.

Where is Miss Tilly? 

Where is Miss Tilly?

Where is the one who will gently but insistently go get the children’s dictionary and help you to understand, who will put simple truth in front of a person telling a lie?

And yes, sometimes that person telling a lie doesn’t want to hear it from you. Who walking the earth can say that they have always wanted to have their lies called out to them?

Resistance to having a lie called out should be seen as little more than knee-jerk efforts to squirm out of an uncomfortable situation rather than sincere expressions of examined values. To allow your truth telling to be silenced by such knee-jerk emoting, no matter how loud or expressive it may be, is seldom good for anyone involved: speaker, audience, or bystander.

Are we not better off for the people — friend or foe — who provided us that resistance and allowed us to see the error of our ways? 

My friends, you do yourself, your loved ones, and strangers the greatest evil when you tell them the lie that is tacit approval. When with low-esteem and low-investment you merely nod your head through total malarkey, perhaps so trained to nod your head that it doesn’t even register to you as total malarkey.

Everything.

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If you can’t say that, everything will be lost.

There is no end to how far this can go.

And in your own life there will be one person to blame and that will be you.

Miss Tilly is Gone, But She Has Forever Impacted Me And Many Others 

Miss Tilly has passed on.

But I will never forget the complicity and laziness and poor leadership I showed that Sunday morning, because I couldn’t take a moment to question the lazy assumption in me and to ask myself “Is this a lie or is this true?”

God bless Miss Tilly.

God bless every Miss Tilly.

She could not have known how she would have changed that little 15-year-old boy’s life by doing the momentarily uncomfortable thing and letting him know the difference between truth and lie.

My friends, you must never nod your head again to the word unexamined.

We do not live in an era that affords us such luxury. The consequence is too great.

You must never say “Yes, dear” out of habit.

You must never say “Yes, sir” out of habit.

You must examine and do what is true, no matter how minor the infraction, no matter how minor the action.

Have you any question about the amount of decay that is around us? I certainly do not. The decay is ever present in our era. Day-by-day we find the lies shoveled upon society in increasing amount.

Pointing the Finger is Very Popular 

And how easy it is to point a finger to say “Oh, that’s a blue state problem.”

Or “That’s what happens in a Democrat city.”

Or say “Oh, that’s just what politicians do.”

“That’s the two party system for you!”

“A libertarian society would never have that problem”

Bowing out of the system doesn’t stop it from being your problem. 2020 has surely shown that. You can’t bow out and hide forever. Enough good people choose that route, and we end up in a real mess. 2020 also showed me how quickly how many “voting is violence” or “the two party system is broken” libertarians and conservatives complied and assisted with the lockdown, face masking, and other misguided efforts of the broken system. They didn’t bow out; they lent inertia to the effort.

Others might vocally point out, especially after the mess of 2020 “Now those same liberals will move to the red states and mess them up.”

Yes. They will because there’s no backstop.

Or “Liberals shouldn’t be allowed to take their policies elsewhere,” but it’s always okay for a libertarian or conservative to move, we are assured as if spoken allegiance to an ideology frees your from having actions with negative consequences.

It’s always easier to point the finger than to take responsibility. God looked to the grown man, Adam, to explain himself with an honest sense of responsibility for the whole messy situation that God caught them in the midst of. Adam pointed at Eve. Eve pointed at the snake. God said “I’ve had enough of this conversation.”

Not only had they royally screwed up, but the grown adults wouldn’t fess up and take responsibility.

Commitment Fixes So Much 

You can’t fix every problem, but you sure can take responsibility, and I’ve seldom seen anything work as effectively at fixing problems as committing to do exactly that. Commitment goes so far.

When you commit to do something, and you let the world know that you have made that commitment, it’s amazing how the phone starts to ring with people eager to help, how solutions just materialize and problems just fall away, all because someone decided to commit to making a problem their problem.

Never in my life has some “impossible” problem that I committed myself to, turned out to actually be impossible once seen through that lens of commitment.

Tacit Approval Will Follow You To Your Next Home 

These easily thrown around statements about it being someone else’s fault need some examining, because if you gave your tacit approval where you were, then you will give you tacit approval where you are going.

It’s not liberals who are the problem, my friend. There have always been easily corruptible and easily decayed people who flock toward wicked and self-injurious behavior. That’s part of life.

It is those who enable that, those who give that their tacit approval.

It is those enablers who allow everything to fall apart and those enablers can also choose to act differently and to be the ones who allow everything to hold so mightily together and upright.

It is those who provide the steel-spine to society, the moral backstop to the sliding earth tumbling toward the slippery slope, it is those who put their back into it and commit to holding the line, no matter what may come.

It is those who calmly say “That’s enough now.”

And boy do you know they mean it. They mean it so much that you won’t ask them to say it a second time.

Those are the ones who truly matter. And those are the ones who have gone missing. The ones who are derelict in their role. The ones who sit silent. The ones who have been left confused on what is up and what is down.

I may be addressing some of them right now. Friend, if you are not holding the line, you need to be. There is no one else to hold it.

I’m not going to tell you where that line is. I’m not going to tell you how to hold it. That’s not my job. That’s yours to figure out.

My job is to hold the line in my life and the lives of those entrusted to me, and to ask, you, “Friend, why have you left me out here to hold the line all alone?”

Where have you gone?

And what did you think was more important than this? This act of being the man you were put here to be.

Holding the line is not an event, it’s not a destination. It’s a process and it’s a way of life.

Your tacit approval has no part in that way of life.

What Do You Say? 

What do you say when someone says there are more than two genders? 

What do you say when someone says they are one of those additional genders? 

Do you say nothing and let it sit in the air, that lie, affecting the minds of those who hear it like a social contagion?

If you truly believe what the person is saying, then declare that. Let them know you stand next to them on that topic. If you don’t agree, your silence is no favor to anyone you care about.

Do you nod in approval, about something to which you disagree?

To do so shows no love. It shows cowardice, or at least a lack of investment in the other, in yourself, and in anyone impacted by the words you allow spoken unchallenged in your presence. Love requires honesty.

“Yes dear,” has no role in that kind of love. To mindlessly say “Yes, dear,” is as insulting as calling your wife “petulant” every time she speaks up about what’s bothering her.

Do you ask them how they arrived at that conclusion, giving them room to express themselves, which they clearly want to do, and then stay silent as they reveal to you and to themselves that they in fact can’t string two sentences together on this topic that they’ve obviously never thought very clearly about?

Ask good questions, then give them room to speak.

Once the person advocating for a manifest number of genders is done speaking, do you let them know that they have not provided you with a very convincing argument?

Don’t leave topics of consequence just hanging in the air.

Perhaps it occurs to everyone, especially the speaker, how poorly thought out the idea is. Why so much emotion then, if so little thought has gone into an idea? Sometimes that’s exactly how emotion works: lots of unexamined emotion can hide and spread toxically around concepts that have been given so little thought. It is so common a phenomenon in our era, that one can almost assume that a person behaving emotionally has not thought through a topic and could benefit from a few loving words and a pair of listening ears.

So few people give a person with a poorly thought out idea the quiet, attentive space devoid of tacit approval required for a person with a poorly thought out idea to intuitively recognize how poorly thought out it is. That kind of space is called “honesty” and it is at the root of “love.”

This calm, loving leadership is very much needed from you.

What do you say when someone says you need to take a PCR test? 

What do you say when someone says they need to take a PCR test? 

What do you say when someone puts on a face mask? 

Do you give your tacit approval?

What do you say when someone tells you to take a vaccine? 

What do you say when someone takes a vaccine? 

What do you say when someone says Joe Biden is President-elect? 

What do you do ? 

The Powers That Be Want You To See Red State Problems & Blue State Problems, Rather Than Having You See How You Are To Blame & How You Are Empowered To Effect Change 

My friends, Georgia has a Republican Legislature, Secretary of State, and Governor. The fraud of the sham 2020 election is captured on video. Why were election observers chased from the room? Why were all manner of election laws broken? Why were the Republicans breaking the laws that benefited Democrat candidates and devalued Republican votes? Why is there a consent decree? There is a long list of unexamined “whys” in this Red State and about Republican complicity in a sham election.

Arizona has a Republican Governor. Maricopa County, Arizona has 3/5 of Arizona’s vote and 4 out of 5 members of the county board are Republican. They are the ones blocking the audit of machines under subpoena from the State Senate. Why would anyone want to hide an audit of an election that they ran if the election was aboveboard?

In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states the Republicans, libertarians and conservatives among them, are giving tacit approval to the stolen 2020 fraud elections.

In what imaginary world do you think moving to a different location without changing how you behave is the solution?

The people who read an article like this are our only hope.

You are our only hope.

Instead of taking that responsibility seriously, how many times a day do you nod at a lie?

10?
100?
1,000?
10,000?

No One Ever Pretended That Sodom And Gomorrah Would Ride To The Rescue

No one ever pretended that Sodom and Gomorrah would ride to the rescue.

No one can possibly pretend that New York or Los Angeles will lead our land out of despair.

And some reasonably ask “Where have all the men gone?”

There are few men left.

There are facades. Good-looking facades. Perhaps with a build and good-looking hair and a nice tan, who do not have the wherewithal to call out a lie if it kicked them in between the legs.

I write pieces begging you to never wear a face mask again.

It’s not about the face mask. It’s about your tacit approval for a lie.

And until you refuse to give a lie your tacit approval, until you refuse to give every lie your tacit approval, there’s no backstop in your life, and everything around you will be devalued because of it.

Because of who?

Because of you.

It Doesn’t Matter What Names They Call You Or What Hurtful Words They Might Say Or That They Might Yell At You

Your denial of tacit approval may be called “privilege,” “first world problems,” and a host of other pejoratives. It is ridiculed. Just accept that.

Your courage will be ridiculed by those lacking in courage. Your wisdom will be ridiculed by those lacking in wisdom. Please do everyone the favor of giving that topic no further thought, for it is a phenomenon that deserves so little energy spent on it, akin to how the reflex of blinking deserves so little consideration from most people to go about their day focussed on the most important matters at hand.

A Section On Snowflakism: The Practice Of Being Overly Concerned With Others 

It saddens me to hear any man especially, but really any grown adult mention such ridicule. Because if they mention it, it means they are thinking about it and impacted by it, seldom for the better.

You can’t make fun of snowflakes and then be a snowflake yourself by saying “What if they yell at me? What if they gang up on me? What if they call me names? What if they taunt me?”

None of that matters. If it does matter to you, you have to get yourself very quickly to a place where it doesn’t matter, because you are very much needed and time is of the essence.

Worrying about what others think of you is the terrain of someone with low self-esteem. Stop being that person. Give that fear and cowardice no quarter in your home.

I Welcome Their Protests, I Drink Liberal Tears, & I Regard Insults From Some People As The Highest Compliment Life Can Pay Me 

I drink liberal tears.

These tears are a valuable part of the feedback loop.

I stand next to the famously intellectually rigorous Ludwig von Mises when he says about lies, deceit, dishonesty, and tacit approval “Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.”

And why? Because it doesn’t matter if they whine or cry. It has no impact on what I know to be true.

In fact, if someone isn’t crying in this age in response to your every public act, multiple times a day, you’re probably doing something wrong, and you need to stop.

If you’re going to concern yourself with anyone else’s reaction, the lack of tears, insults, and jeers is really what you should worry about.

A Symbol Of Weakness In Our Movement 

Author Stephen Baskerville writes about Mises, about me, about you: “He who is afraid to anger or offend is not yet a man.”

It’s a symbol of the weakness in our movement that any of us need to be told that. 

I need to be told that.

You may need to be told that.

Ludwig von Mises never needed to be told that.

I don’t know what comes next, but I know the Cuomos, the Newsoms, the Whitmers, the Pritzkers, they don’t have the answers. They have no sense and they have no spine.

Cuomo’s got his nipples pierced for goodness sake and has decimated his elderly population. I can’t think of a more twisted and misguided individual to follow in the footsteps of.

How can you be giving tacit approval to anything, anything that comes out of that man’s mouth? Yet here you are wearing a mask, taking your PCR test, closing your business, and telling your neighbor nothing in response to them asking what you think of the vaccine.

Stop lying. Stop lying to yourself and those around you.

Stop wearing the mask. Promise yourself you’ll never again wear it.

And then take on the bigger lies. And I mean all the lies.

Take on all the lies that Miss Tilly would never allow to be told in her presence, or in your presence, for that matter.

Love the truth the way she did.

Love other people the way she did and the way she showed by not allowing lies to be told in front of them.

And for goodness sake, don’t go to your grave with anyone able to say that someone named Miss Tilly was more of a man than you.

Because that grave is a lot closer than you think.

We are not promised another moment.

Stop wearing that face mask. Stop supporting that lie. If you’re a slow learner like me, start here — Face Masks in One Lesson but whatever it takes, please just stop wearing the face mask and then use that same knowhow and courage to get started on the even more important battles. Time is of the essence and the world around us is unlikely to look at either you or I as a friend.