Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I just devoured two Nancy Moser books...

Last night I finished "The Ultimatum," after reading "A Steadfast Surrender" over the weekend.

Nancy's books are so absorbing, I have to force myself to put them down. She's a terrific storyteller, and her books never fail to make me focus on my own heart and ask myself some tough questions.

The recurring theme in the books is obedience...obedience to the voice of God in our lives. As so often happens when I read a Nancy Moser book, the message stayed with me long after I reached the exciting conclusion of the book.

Scroll down, or click on sidebar hear, to read my recent interivew with Nancy Moser. Or head over to reading page of my website to read my reviews of Nancy's books, "Time Lottery" and "The Seat Beside Me."

The mind of a tyrant

What turns a man into a tyrant?

Elizabeth is doing a speech on Saddam Hussein at school today, and I printed up a bunch of stuff from the Internet to help her. One of the articles I found especially captured my interest: Mark Bowden's May 2002 Antlantic Monthly article, Tales of the Tyrant.

The article provides a fascinating glimpse into the lifestyle of a dictator, and even takes a stab at deliving into how a lowly-born Iraqi villager becomes a feared and cruel despot.

What turns a man into a tyrant? In Saddam's case...and in the case of many other tyrants, whether on the world scene or in smaller arenas of businesses or even churches...the answer appears to be ego.

The tyrant is convinced of his own importance and worth, craves and then demands constant affirmation and praise. In the smaller arenas I mentioned, such tyrants may cause his subjects pain, heart-ache, and spiritual confusion...but when such egotism and vanity combines with ambition and political expediency to propel the tyrant onto the national or global scene, the result is cruelty, murder and bloodshed.

The tyrant needs monuments erected and murals painted in his honor. Saddam demanded a certain amount of time on Iraqi television daily for his poetry and paeans in praise to him. Bowden points out that Saddam was not really hedonistic, although he enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Money was not at the core of his ruthless ambition...it was pride.

The same thing that caused Lucifer to fall from heaven, and the same thing that all of us face to some extent in our own lives.

"He must increase, but I must decrease" (Jn. 3:30).

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