Why Taylor is Better than Trump

Why Taylor is Better than Trump June 15, 2024

Why Taylor is Better than Trump

Why Taylor is Better than Trump
Taylor vs Trump

In this enlightened age, most of us would probably hope that we don’t have to follow anyone. We are enlightened and empowered, and we can make our own decisions, so we assume that we are independent and don’t need leaders anymore.

A couple of days ago, we interviewed Derek Webb, less than a week after we interviewed a drag queen named Flamy Grant and our friends at Freed Hearts, Susan and Rob Cottrell. In my opinion, those conversations were enlightening and helpful and led me to a better place. So, they were not dictating what to think or believe, but they inspired me, which is what I think real leaders do. I was led, not manipulated. I was taught but not indoctrinated. I admire those people, but I don’t worship them.

We have a leadership crisis in the United States. Where once we might have looked to those in charge to gain the inspiration to achieve things ourselves, now we find ourselves in a leadership vacuum where toddlers are in charge of most anything, and the ones in charge are the ones we would least like to emulate. The choices we are left with for political office are dismal at best, and the fall of religious leaders is so common it seems inevitable.

Eight or nine years ago, we took charge of our spiritual lives and began to deconstruct our religion and our worldview. For the first time in our lives, we were without officially designated leaders and guides for our new journey. Don’t get me wrong; eventually, wise guides came into our lives and were helpful. We also were able to evaluate the official leaders in our country and in our churches when we could see more clearly and we were separate from those who were controlling us before.

When we deconstruct, it is very frightening at first because the decisions are now up to us. This includes the leaders that we choose to follow. Just as our worldview changes dramatically, we begin to define what we think is important in our new leaders more precisely. Christians should have a clear indicator of what a leader should be like, but narcissistic celebrity pastors have twisted the narrative and made it about themselves, much like many of our political leaders have done. We choose leaders for their charisma, charm, and how well they bully our enemies instead of more noble character traits.

We demonize anyone who doesn’t support our Chosen One, and we ignore the basic values we once vowed to fight for.

So, what should be the qualities of a leader we “follow” and what does a wise guide look like? What has been helpful to us is not only interviewing over 300 people and comparing stories, but also paying attention to political, religious and contemporary culture. It led us to different assumptions, different books, and different people we admire and learn from.

A Leader Should Be Kind

Modern Christianity in the United States has moved recently toward doubling down on the mistakes it has made in the past. Large conventions are being held to honor and promote toxic masculinity, and mega-church pastors routinely spew hate from their platform to thunderous applause of those who are happy they are not the other.

MAGA politicians are especially unkind, and no one is safe from their attacks. Vitriol is applauded, but things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (the fruit of the spirit) are completely ignored. News celebrities who angrily spin lies and insult people are valued over truth-tellers and investigative reporters.

My mother’s advice, “If you can’t say something good…” is only partially right. Sometimes the news we must deliver is speaking truth to power, and it’s uncomfortable. Still the important thing to remember is it matters what you say, and how you say it. Vitriol may garner followers, but kind leadership is one of the key ingredients to a better world.

A Leader Should Do No Harm

The Hippocratic Oath that most doctors take originates from Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician. Simply put, a physician who healed some things and left a path of destruction would not be a physician for very long. With this in mind, consider that we have pastors and politicians who don’t mind making a mess to achieve their sometimes-disillusioned goals.

Take Mark Driscoll, for instance, who bragged about the trail of bodies that the bus they were on ran over metaphorically. Building a megachurch was more important than considering the harm that he was doing to his congregation and others around them. There are too many “You have to break a few eggs…” mantras in business, politics, and religion that ignore “the least of these” and focus only on the goals of their organization.

According to the Global Center for Religious Research, one in three church members has suffered trauma in religious settings. The reality of this statistic is that these organizations keep trudging forward without addressing how they are harming people. So, whether the trauma was inflicted long ago or happened in the church, it is not being addressed because most of the money and most of their time is dedicated to keeping the trains running, so to speak.

So much harm is done to win the next election, get followers, make converts, and win arguments. It is almost impossible to grow and change when we are engaged in the politics and religion that inflicted the harm; so many of us withdraw and heal and, fortunately, often find kinder, better leaders than before.


The truth is, I really don’t listen to Taylor Swift’s music. It’s just not my style. But I do watch what she does in society. I notice how kind she is to people, especially children, and I recognize that she is generous to her employees and to the communities where she holds concerts. I try never to paint any human being as perfect, but I think she is a great leader and a great model for the times ahead.

When we are looking for people to elevate and listen to, rather than finding the 10 best character traits, maybe we can just stick with these two: be kind and do no harm.

If you’re a follower of Jesus, the main tradition I know, it should be fairly obvious that he prescribed something very similar. Later, Paul delineated the Fruit of the Spirit that should be evident in all of us, including our leaders. Rather than looking for bullies to destroy our enemies, let us demand our leaders be kind and compassionate and consider all people as equals.

The former president’s reputation speaks for itself. Americans should step away from the battle he has waged and carefully consider the character of all their leaders. It will require each of us to look up from the fears we are hyper-focused on and honestly examine our internal compass of justice, love, compassion, empathy, and honor. The narcissists of the world have preyed on our fears long enough.

Take a deep breath and make the right decision.

Be where you are, Be who you are,

Karl Forehand

A Book Banning Gone Good

Why Trump is in our Deconstruction Stories

In Search of a Grown-up

Treasure Trove of Trauma Resources

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Karl Forehand is a former pastor, podcaster, and award-winning author. His books include Out into the Desert, Leaning Forward,  Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart, The Tea Shop and Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authenticity.  He is the creator of The Desert Sanctuary podcast and community.  He is married to his wife Laura of 35 years and has one dog named Winston.  His three children are grown and are beginning to multiply!  You can read more about the author here.

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