Principle of Reality

I took a class recently before testing for a government issued license.  The instructor illustrated the violation of the Principle of Reality in such a big way it left a burr in my saddle that has not gone away in ten days.

So, this is not like my usual teaching article.  It is a rant.  At your expense.  I suggest you go read something else if you are having a fine day.  You don’t need to expose yourself to my toxic mood.

The prof was a master of his field.  He was quite the outgoing, visionary type, and throughout the two-day training, he shared endless stories about the wonderful things people have done with this license.  His stories were true.  Many licensees have done amazing things.

However, at the same time that he was hyping the upper limit of the license’s potential, he was teaching to the lower limit.

Specifically, he knew all of the questions on the government test, and he was training us to pass the test, not to know the principles.

At every turn, he dumbed it down as far as he could.  He talked about the real world we would find out there and repeatedly hammered home all of the techniques for getting the answers we would need from some other means, without ever having to actually learn what we were going to be licensed to do.

It reached a low with the math.  There were only two math problems on the test, he told us.  One required division and the other required multiplication.  One of the ladies just couldn’t wrap her head around the formula (which was pathetically simple) so he came up with a short cut for her.

Take the two numbers on the test question and multiply them, then see if any of the multiple choice answers matched.  If not, try dividing.  Whatever you do, don’t think.

Even that was beyond her.  She wasn’t sure which number to divide by and which to divide into.  He and she wrestled with that until she finally came up with the solution:  divide the little number into the big number.

The prof was exultant and promptly dubbed that “Anna’s Theorem.”  He celebrated that relentlessly the rest of the class as proof of what a good prof he was. Even Anna could pass the test now.

And she did.

Both Anna and I passed the test.  According to the U. S. Government, we are now fully licensed to do certain things.

We are also both ignoramuses.  Neither one of us is at all prepared to do more than the barest minimum in the field of our license.  Neither one of us can come even remotely close to the heroic achievements of the people he celebrated.

He was marketing non-reality.  He celebrated the actions of highly disciplined people who had worked hard to hone their craft, spending their own money and endless hours to learn 100,000 different facets of their trade that will never be on any test question.

It was utter non-reality for him to equate their achievements with the pitiful investment of effort needed to learn 35 test questions well enough to bag a license.

Unfortunately, he is not a rare bird.

The world of marketing is largely about nonreality.  Using this mouth wash or that soap, or the other hair product is not going to revolutionize your dating life.  Buying this suit or getting that degree does not guarantee a successful career.  Purchasing a new home in the right neighborhood is not going to eliminate the need for some long, hard parenting over 18 to 48 years.

The picture is no better when we look at the church.  Whether it is the prophetic, or deliverance, or inner healing, or impartation, or spiritual maturity, or marriage conferences, or ordination to the ministry,  the pattern persists.  We share the extreme upper 1% of the glory stories and offer the simplest, easiest way forward, implying that there is a rational connection between the two when there is not.

Why are we so afraid of saying that some part of the Christian walk will require hard work?  Why don’t we talk in terms of taking ten years to master some aspect of the Christian disciplines?  Why is it unthinkable to set the bar high?

And where is the outcry from the millions of people who bought the lie that Christian excellence was just two steps away from them, only to find themselves still mired in the ordinary 20 years later?

And what would the Church be like if millions of Christians were not reaping the consequences of violating the Principle of Reality.  At the end of the day, no one ever breaks God’s law.  We only confirm it.

Enough already. I don’t have time for this rant.  I need to get my nose in the $100 worth of books I bought after the class, so I can learn what I need to know to go forward.

Copyright March 2011 by Arthur Burk

From home

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19 Responses to Principle of Reality

  1. Derick Gross says:

    after a few intercesory travels the Lord gave me the word reality, a continues season where i had to come to grips with reality. We as Christians especially with doctrine have the ability to seperate ourselves with the dire consequences of what our thinking would reap in reality…but also in this time i have great perplexity when things that i believed had not turned out to be reality…and is wondering…is the reality i perceive reality…or is (perplexity) only giving me that perception to feel perplexed.

    thanks Arthur for the thought provoking rant…

  2. Devi says:

    I got to the end of this and wanted to roar!! Good rant. Thank you. I’m always grateful for how you put a voice to the hidden things. And in answer to you question of “And where is the outcry from the millions of people who bought the lie that Christian excellence was just two steps away from them, only to find themselves still mired in the ordinary 20 years later?” “We are here! We are here! We are here!” -the Whos from “Horton hears a Who”

  3. Daphne says:

    Thank you for your timely word Arthur. Yet again you have given me language for the termoil in my heart. Being a full time student has been fulfilling at times and fraught with great frustration at others. I have always done my own preparation for classes and worked hard at it. This part of the semester has two instructors that have structured all the classes to violate the principle of reality. Now that you have exposed the tactics of the enemy, I can correct course immediately. Thank you God, for watching over me and bless Arthur and this site for honoring you.

  4. Jim Alseth says:

    Thanks Arthur. That wasn’t toxic. There are toxic rants and useful ones. I found that a very helpful illustration of the forth Principle.

    I’ve been seeing three of the other Principles at work in my life lately: Authority, Responsibility, and Fulfillment. I am Servant, my city is Teacher, and of course we are in the Mercy Season. As a Canadian (gift of Mercy) it makes it a double-whammy in the area of Fulfillment (and of course for Canadians who are Mercys, it’s a triple-whammy).

    Back to my illustration. My principle (as Servant) is Authority and it’s important how I use that authority. One of the areas that Servant has authority is ecological restoration. My city is Teacher and the principle here is Responsibility.

    The last couple of years I’ve noticed this longing to be more ecologically responsible. In dozens of different ways I’m grappling with “green” alternatives: riding my bicycle to work, installing solar power in my RV, etc.

    In the process, to my surprise, has come a noticeable sense of fulfillment. Is this oversimplified?

  5. Darcy Roberts says:

    Principles of Reality? Oh, that has been in the process of being replaced with entitlements for quite some time now.

    Uncle Screwtape

  6. Donna says:

    I love how you address things so honestly and are so secure that you don’t worry about how people will receive it but trust the Lord to do His work with your words.
    I can agree with what you said and I love how you said it. I just recently was having lunch with a friend and was expressing similar sentiments about the 3 step , quick fix formula in different facets of growth and healing in Christianity. I guess I’m not so sucked in by the rhetoric any more, life has dealt some in our circle some pretty significant tragedy with no easy or pat answers of should have , would have, could have. I found your rant quite refreshing today. Thanks for keeping it real.
    be amazingly blessed,

  7. Bill Welch says:

    This reminds me of when I was teaching classes for Federal Communications Commission Amateur Radio Licenses a few years back. The question pools for the exams are published by the government, so you just have to memorize them to pass. You really need no technical experience. When I first got my license I bought a copy of the ARRL Radio Amateurs Handbook 1961 edition, opened to page 1 and studied to the end. ( The equivalent of reading Gen. 1:1 – Rev 22: 21) Then you had to go to a FCC field office and take the exam that was given by an old federal employee smoking a big cigar and blowing smoke in your face who would rather see you flunk than pass. What is reality anyway??

  8. Bobbie says:

    In our staff meetings, at the church where I work, we’ve been discussing what Jesus meant by:
    …you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
    John 8:32
    One of the pastors discovered the word “truth” used there means “reality”. So an encounter with reality is what brings freedom. The reality of following Christ is difficult – rewarding, but immensely difficult. It’s shocking how that reality, which is clearly shown in Scripture and every day life, has, for the most part, been dropped from the western church’s mindset. So many pastors copy the teaching style of your instructor, doing a great disservice to believers.
    As for the question: what would the Church be like if millions of Christians were not reaping the consequences of violating the Principle of Reality?
    We’d look a lot more like the bride of Christ.
    Any three step program to get us there, Arthur? (just kidding!!!)

    • Terry V says:

      this scripture 32 needs the part in front to really work…
      “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 THEN you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
      Holding to th teaching of Jesus is an interesting aspect of this verse that few explore…abiding or remaining in the truth is an aspect I just recently saw about the reality of the truth…the power could be in the abiding, remaining, resting…I see the hold to part as maybe the hard work Arthur speaks about

      • Bobbie says:

        that is such a good point! Holding to the teaching is a vital key to gaining the freedom

  9. Robert says:


    Seems to me that the corollary is also valid: “we” (in the unwashed masses) rarely provide the volume of feedback that would be just. 1% of the very best outcomes are celebrated and about 1% of the audience responds.

    I think the King and Kingdom deserve better from His Subjects.

    So here’s my first attempt: Thanks for once again enriching my life and journey – May all your “Toxic Rants” be this life giving!

  10. Rosa says:

    Having the bar set high must have its appeal…we all keep coming back to you,the formidable prof to be challenged! Enjoyed the rant.

  11. Nancy says:

    Thanks for preaching it, Arthur! My own ‘not so overnight’ education in the exercises of becoming filled with Christ (and less of me) has stretched into a 21-year journey. These days He’s whispering the crafting is nearing completion; the outflow is uncorking in deeper ways than a 9-week course would ever have! No comparison. Christ’s blessings upon you for calling a truth a truth 🙂

  12. Sonia says:

    You know I find your rants so interesting! I quite enjoy your rants…because you always challenge in them. Yes you are real about the dirt, everything in it! Yet you always leave room for challenge to redeem it. Maybe you weren’t always like this. This is great now! Can we all mature to a place where we can see the value in our rants? I’m not sure that I am healthy enough yet to not throw some well meant arrows but I so hope to be able to allow this prophet ability to rant be redeemed.
    Thank you Arthur!

  13. Darla says:

    Thanks Arthur for this good insight. I do have a frustration with the lack of integrity that many organizations have in presenting their ideas and/or products!!! Why can’t people in sales and marketing just be honest!
    My husband is walking a journey of taking courses and learning new professional skills. The training academy presented that “top 1%” prototype to “sell” the courses and line of work. My husband did the courses, read the books etc, but is discovering that being successful at the actual work takes a lot of hard work, discipline, learning and time! Surprise, surprise! But like anything valuable, the effort, time and work will be worth it!
    I had not made the correlation with “Christian Society” and North American type marketing, but you are right on that count! How many times do we attend a seminar, buy a book etc. and expect to have the level of spirituality that the author/speaker has (that they have gained over MANY years of living out the principals they present). You are right that we as the church have to be honest and have integrity when we share and present ideas. This is something that I have come to appreciate about you, Arthur. You encourage us to do the “100,000 little steps and things right” and to see results over time and not just the “kabamm, boom” done in a moment type thing. Thank you for your integrity in this.
    Bless you as you apply the principals of this course faithfully over time. May you reap a rich harvest in that “top 1%” level! 🙂

  14. Erin says:

    Well look on the bright side, maybe that teacher will read this blog post and change his ways or maybe not. If he did read it you would have the satisfaction of him knowing all of this stuff about reality and what you think. That should bring you a smile or a slight smirk. 😉

  15. Merry says:

    Arthur, My daughter and I just read your rant. We value what you said. You did not ruin our day either. We were not poisoned by your words at all!!! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Wendy says:

    Thanks for telling it like it is and reminding us not to buy into the system of non-reality or perpetuate it ourselves!

  17. Kunle says:


    Lol! That was priceless. You did not ruin my day….you actually made my day.


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