Tag Archives: truth

The Problem with Tolerance

28 Jan

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Driving to work a few months ago, I noticed a purple bumper sticker that I hadn’t seen before that stated “Tolerate: Believe In It.” It was similar to the “Coexist” bumper stickers I’ve seen numerous times. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was “emptiness.” Believe in IT? Huh?

Alright, alright. I know what people are getting at when they say “tolerance” – they mean acceptance. The first definition of tolerance, according to Merriam-Webster, is the “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.” While this sounds like a decent and respectful idea, and everyone certainly deserves respect, it falls short. Here’s why:

1. Tolerance does not seek truth.
First of all, tolerance sounds to me a lot like “relativism,” defined as “the belief that different things are true, right, etc., for different people or at different times.” (Thanks, again, Merriam-Webster.) This is a big reason why the concept of tolerance leaves me empty. It signifies that there is no real truth; that “tolerance” is supposed to be some supreme social ideal that we are to bow down to so no one’s feelings are hurt. Catholic speaker and author, Matthew Kelly states, “A world without truth is a world without joy or meaning.”

Whoa! That’s a pretty powerful and wise statement. You can’t have joy or meaning in this life without truth! It’s not possible! Truth is the key to a meaningful and joy-filled life. Tolerance is not the path to truth, and, therefore, does not lead to true joy and meaning. Clearly, relativism and tolerance is a dead-end street to seeking purpose in one’s life.

2. Tolerance is isolating.
Contrary to popular belief, tolerance does not build community. Tolerance is lazy and selfish. It doesn’t really have concern for others, it just wants everybody to get along. You stay where you are and I’ll stay here and we’ll just do our thing. Cool?

Tolerance is also defined by Merriam-Webster as “the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant.” After reading that, how does tolerance still sound like something that makes a successful society? I tolerate an itchy sweater or a long wait at the doctor’s office, we shouldn’t have to tolerate people. Yes, personalities and ideals clash, but we are called to recognize the dignity in each person, no matter how hard it may be at times.

3. Tolerance is not love.
What’s missing from this tolerance picture, is LOVE! Love trumps tolerance – no contest. Let’s be real: Would you rather be tolerated or loved?

Love requires sacrifice, listening, care, respect, honesty. Love wants others to get to Heaven. Love puts others first and seeks truth. Love makes the impossible possible. Love does not have limits.

Many of us know the popular words in 1 Corinthians: 4-7 (NAB), but they are worth repeating here:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong-doing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

One thing that love does not require, though, is that we agree with one another. Somehow this absurd lie has been perpetuated that to really love someone and want what’s best for them, you have to let them do whatever they want – and encourage it. To quote a recent tweet by Rick Warren, “It’s nonsense that you must agree with people to #love them. I often disagree with people I deeply love. I married one!”

And still, even while reading about the beauty of love, there are those who are fuming that I am dogging the false ideal of tolerance. How dare I have the gall to bring God, faith, and the Bible into this “debate”! But I say, how can I not, when the best this world can offer is tolerance, because the world denies God, and thus rejects love? There is no love without God. And this is precisely why there is a huge problem in our culture in this day and time. So many are settling for humanism over Christianity, this world over the next, relativism and tolerance over truth and love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s stand united in truth. Let’s continue to grow in love and live by the golden rule. Let’s choose joy and live with purpose each day. Let’s build each other up and use the gifts God has given each of us. Let’s embrace God’s grace and shine His light!

A life without truth, joy, community, and love is… empty. And I have a problem with that.

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Keeping It Real

7 Apr

It has been a good while since my last post. I’m not sure if it has been due to laziness, busy-ness, writer’s block, or just not wanting to waste anyone’s time with a less than average post – probably a combination of all of them! There have definitely been things on my mind but I haven’t come up with a way to put it all together yet, but I’ll give it a try now…

A lot has been going on the past few months – most of it NOT music related. There has been a lot of stress dealing with some serious issues with friends and family members regarding drug addiction, mental and physical health issues, and infidelity.  Add caring for two young girls and working most nights out of the week and there doesn’t leave too much time for music.  Adam has managed to write a handful of amazing songs in the past few months and several more are waiting to be finished.  He has been playing writers’ rounds a couple times a month, too, and his new songs have been getting some great responses!  He is currently preparing for his first official trio gig in town in about a week – April 16th! 

Back to more of what’s been going on outside of music… God has been working within us, and particularly Adam, on valuing what’s important in life and trusting His perfect plan and timing. I have seen my husband grow into a stronger, more confident man who is willing to speak up and be honest and not just “go along to get along.”  This challenge to be a more authentic person started a little less than a year ago (about the same time I started this blog).  My dad showed Adam a song called “Jerusalem” by a Hasidic Jew rapper named Matisyahu.  This song is basically about calling out Jews who have forgotten their history and traditions.  Within this song there is a line that made an impression on Adam: “If I forget the truth then my words won’t penetrate.”  Pretty poweful lyrics by a pretty unforgettable artist!  You may want to go back and read that line again!  This has kind of become Adam’s motto when focusing on who he wants to be, not only as an artist, but as a person.  I love that Adam is still the same empathatic, kind-hearted man but now has a newfound boldness.  His passion for “being real” is refreshing, especially in a town full of people that only say what you want to hear because one day they may need a favor from you… AND because we live in a society that goes along with whatever is popular in the media…

There have been two things that I have been reflecting on a lot in the past month or so – one is a verse and the other is a quote.  The bible verse that I’ve been obsessed with lately is “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).  I think this fits the theme of my blog very well, don’t you?! 

Another saying that has been inspiring to me is the following quote by William Carey: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”  Enough said!

Happy Easter!  Have a wondeful day celebrating the greatest truth and gift of all!

Adam Speaks, er, Writes!

24 Oct

I had Adam write a little update about what has been going on lately in his own words.  Here it is – from the man himself!!

This is my first official entry for the A Dreamer’s Wife blog and I’m so excited to share with you what I’ve been up to these past few months.  From May thru September, I was on the “Nashville 2 You Campground Tour” with five other artists from Nashville.  We traveled from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan to upstate New York, Virginia and North Carolina.  This was the second year of the tour and my second year playing as a solo artist.   The coolest thing about this stripped-down acoustic tour is that I got to meet many wonderful people and it challenged me as an artist to set myself apart from other artists on the tour.  It has made me think this thought over and over, “Who am I as an artist, and what do I want people to remember about me when they see me perform?”

Adam playing downtown during CMA Fest 2011

God answered this question through a couple of people.  The first, is a man named Ashley Swan who works in the music industry, and to make a long and awesome story short, he asked me one simple question, “What do you want to do with it (my music)?” I must admit, I was taken aback by my response and couldn’t believe what I had said a second after I said it, which was “make money”.  EEEEK!!!  Needless to say, that was the wrong answer and I will only say that Stef and I were struggling a little financially at the time and that was weighing heavily on my heart, but there is no excuse for my response.  I didn’t move to Nashville at 19, ask my wife (then girlfriend) to move to Nashville away from her family and everything she’s ever known to just make money.  Don’t get me wrong, money is a necessary commodity and it’s my responsibility to provide for my family, but it can’t be my major motivator.  He helped me realize that I’ve been chasing the wrong things.  I had been basing every desicion I made on getting recognition, making others happy, money, and acceptance from the people who call the shots in Nashville’s music scene.  I’m not a country singer, yet I tried to write and sing country songs.  I’m not a sideman, yet I played on the side.  I’m not of the world, yet I hid my Christianity.  TRUTH – that is what I want to be about – living my life as I am, not who others think I should be.

The second person that God put in my path to help me answer the question is an amazing artist, Jenn Bostic.  Jenn came on the road with the tour for a couple weekends and she sang a song called “Jealous of The Angels” about her Dad who had passed away 15 years ago.  She was very open with her faith and her loss on the microphone, in front of complete strangers.  She had the courage to be who she was and did not put on a front.  She taught me that as Christians/secular artists, we have to be willing to speak the truth – no matter what!

So now let me try and answer the question, “What do you want to do with it?”  I want to create music that brings joy to peoples lives and speaks the TRUTH!!!  I am currently rehearsing with 2 of my best friends – Ed Hardin (Bass) and Stef’s cousin, Tommy Gravelle (Drums), and we are unofficially calling ourselves “The Adam Lee Trio” or “The Adam Lee Band” as soon as we find our fourth member.  I want to thank my wife Stef for all of her love and support and patience through this journey.  For the first time, I feel like I know where I’m going and I have a pretty good idea how to get there and I wouldn’t be here without my wonderful wife!

Till next time,
Adam