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Always consider whose best interests are at play

By: Tim W. Callaway

  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 11:33 am

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“Don’t think that you can change the world. The only thing you can do is study it.” – A sociology professor to the late, great troubadour/activist Pete Seeger when the latter dropped out of Harvard in 1938

I was sitting in a waiting room the other day reviewing my Twitter feed when I came across the posting noted above.

Most readers are aware that folk musician and social activist, Pete Seeger, passed away recently. The American icon famous for folk songs such as If I Had a Hammer and This Land is Your Land had long been an enduring part of North American culture. One wonders what became of the professor whose counsel Seeger wisely dismissed.

This anecdote from history poignantly reminds us we do well to exercise discernment as to which voices we listen to in life. And, as the Twitterverse and other forms of “social media” readily make evident, there’s no shortage of voices competing for our attention these days.

Many, if not most such voices, are somewhat self-serving, of course. That is, the speaker has an agenda they literally want you to buy into. Witness the recent discussions and controversies surrounding the annual serving of Super Bowl ads, for instance. Regardless of how cute, controversial or curious this year’s advertising menu was, it goes without saying that corporations such as Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Chevrolet, etc., are primarily interested in selling us their products. That’s their agenda and we well know it even if the truth doesn’t always consciously register with us.

Quite often, a spokesperson’s agenda or bias can be easily determined and doesn’t require much thought for us to “get it.” Nonetheless, it’s also indisputable that in today’s world a speaker’s, singer’s, or advertiser’s agenda is far more subtle and far less benign than the norm. Consider, for example, pop-star Katy Perry’s performance at the recent Grammy Awards. I’ve watched the video-clip of her controversial act several times yet remain uncertain as to precisely what she intended the primary message of her presentation to be. I understand why some considered it to be an “ominous” exhibition and, even if I don’t necessarily agree with some conclusions being drawn, I applaud those among us today who watch and listen with a critical eye/ear.

Given the avalanche of messages directed at us every day, it’s always wise to consider who’s best interests any messenger has in view – their’s or your’s.

Tim is pastor of Faith Community Church. He can be reached at


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