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Moses For President

The current political landscape takes me back to a book I read a few years ago:  The Culture Code:  An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Buy and Live as They Do by Clotaire Rapaille.

I found it fascinating as the author unlocked and explained the cultural code behind various dynamics within American culture:

  • Why certain products sell because they’re “on code” and others don’t.  
  • Why certain messages resonate because they’re “on code” and others don’t.  
  • Why certain candidates ignite followings because they’re “on code” and others don’t.

“The Culture Code is the unconscious meaning we apply to any given thing–a car, a type of food, a relationship, even a country–via the culture in which we are raised…. It is obvious to everyone that cultures are different from one another.  What most people don’t realize, however, is that these differences actually lead to our processing the same information in different ways.”  (Page 5 of 200 on Kindle)  The book begs for some reflection on how we engage diversity in most of our communities and how we perceive “our place” in the global church…which we’ll save for another day.

Here’s Rapaille’s “take” on the code for the President of the United States! Americans want a president who…

  • Rebels against our problems. “Rebel in Chief”! He/She understands what’s broken, brings strong solutions, takes action against “Egypt.”
  • Responds from the GUT. We don’t want him/her to THINK too much.(!)
  • Reminds us we can do the impossible.

The cultural code word for American President? MOSES.  Americans want MOSES AS PRESIDENT! Someone who can:

  • Inspire us
  • Keep our spirits up
  • Keep us moving in a productive direction

To be a successful candidate for president, he/she must demonstrate that they can fill the shoes of Moses well.  The author maintains that Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Reagan filled the shoes of Moses exceptionally well.  At this writing, a number of candidates are still auditioning for the role of Moses in America.

In the book of Hebrews, Moses was “code” for Jesus.

The writer to the Hebrews centuries ago spoke candidly to a church that was experiencing enormous hardship and was at risk of even greater persecution.  Jewish converts were shrinking beneath the pressure to simply give up, to walk away from Jesus and to return to the religion of their roots.

Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses…Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house…but Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house.  And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Hebrews 3:3-6)

Whatever your view of America’s “Egypt” or its “Promised Land,” most of us would agree that the Church of Jesus finds itself in a sea of people deeply shaken where trust in institutions and integrity has evaporated.  The level of disorientation, anger and confusion across the landscape resembles a cultural earthquake.  

Here’s my hope as we approach Holy Week!  My hope is that person by person, the baptized people of God will step confidently into this world remembering that we belong to a Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28):

  • Offering Compassion,
  • Inviting people into Community with us, and
  • Connecting them to the One greater than Moses.  

And that won’t come easily, will it?  PLI is committed to training and investing in multiplying the leadership landscape that can graciously and competently and boldly lead the people of God in living out that mission.  And, thanks for leading! You know for yourself and certainly for those around you, like the Hebrews author addressed, that it’s tempting to surrender leadership, to turn inward or to turn back when adversity or apathy run high.


Rev. Dr. Jock Ficken

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