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5 things I was taught that are wrong

Growing up, I heard stuff that made no sense, so I did the opposite. Sometimes conventional wisdom is wrong. And sometimes, as Hilary Austen said, “When your efforts run in the face of conventional wisdom and accepted mastery, persistence can look like madness." I debriefed myself o…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Growing up, I heard stuff that made no sense, so I did the opposite. Sometimes conventional wisdom is wrong. And sometimes, as Hilary Austen said, “When your efforts run in the face of conventional wisdom and accepted mastery, persistence can look like madness."

I debriefed myself on the subject and came up with five things I was taught that life experience debunked:

1. Settle down & get a job. 
It encouraged me that Jesus didn't set the example of settling down and getting a job. So, I followed Jesus’ example and left home and friends. When asked for advice, I suggest others do the same – go on a kingdom journey and dive into a world of possibilities. Become a vagabond for Christ as you practice ministry and discover your identity.

2. Rebellion is bad.
Rebellion against what? On a number of occasions, I was a branded as a rebel. But Jesus led a rebellion against a broken status quo and if we're to follow him, we need to do the same. Youth are leaving the church and youth pastors are burning out. Rebellion needs to happen. Rebellion keeps you from being a frog in the kettle.

3. Restlessness is bad.
“Stop doodling,” teachers told us students. We diagnose students A.D.D. and put them on Ridlin. But restlessness can be good. It can get you out of your broken world and cause you to look for a better one.

4. Spiritual disciplines are hard.
My experience with spiritual disciplines often end in failure. But I discovered a discipline called a kingdom journey that was transformative. It was hard – it took me into brokenness. But unlike other spiritual disciplines, the fruit lasted.

5. Only pure motives count.
I was taught to make sure my motives were uncorrupted before I tried do something spiritual. But I saw that God does a bait and switch on us all the time; attracting us to something that will require our death by promising us abundant life. All we have is mixed motives – we have to start with those. In the case of kingdom journeys, the motive of wanting adventure can get young people to commit to something that will change their lives.

What have you been taught that you've since learned was wrong?

Comments (14)

  • “What have you been taught that you’ve since learned was wrong?” All of the above. Thanks for the confirmation, again.

  • Reminds me of the lyrics to one of my all-time favorite songs… Flowers Are Red, by Harry Chapin…

    Thanks, Seth..

  • I like it. Though there is always a flip side to each of these points.
    I am learning that settling down and getting a job doesn’t mean you have to embrace a boring, uneffective life for the kingdom. Life in America can be an adventure if you let it. As the church was growing, there were plenty of believers called to be stay at home Christians committed to their country/communities.

  • I was taught admitting wrong is weakness.

    I was taught being broken was weakness and when you allow others to see your weakness they will look down on you and make fun of you. I guess for non Christians that maybe the response but ive met so many people who don’t respond to me that way.

    I was taught that power is the same authority or influence with people.

    I was taught value is base on material things like career, money, possessions and achievements.

    I was taught emotion is weakness.

    I’m sure there’s more but those are the ones that came to mind. What a great question to take to God.

    Farther what are things I’ve learned that you want to change in me and how can I start?

  • Tommy – I love how the Carrington family colors outside the lines better than just about any family I know!

    Bryan – what a profound list and a wonderful question. I’ll be praying with you about that.

  • I don’t know what I would have given to have known you in high school or even in my first years of college, but it would have been a LOT.

    I just hope that any young, visionary, dreamer-types who might read this understand what rare and invaluable advice you just gave. I really can’t exeggerate how important it is. Thanks, Seth!

  • Here’s another one many of us were taught: “Only color within the lines.” I am convinced that much of our creativity begun to be stifled in kindergarten when we were told to never color outside the lines. We need to allow children (and adults) to explore, dare to do things differently, and sometimes … color outside the lines (within certain parameters, of course :-).

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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