Like many out there, and you may be on that table, having to be born into poverty turned out my biggest motivation. You really don’t need to be told how evil poverty is; that goddamn thing beats you into sheets, so finely that you struggle to recognize yourself. And there’s no better time to see what poverty can do as now; while the rich can afford to stay home and watch the world burn for as long as it gets to, the poor suffer want and stay hungry as long as it lasts. And sadly ever after.

Once I’d shared that Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath” saved my life, but didn’t get to say why. Here’s why: In that Bible story, and Gladwell’s powerful commentary on it, even the poorest of the poor would come to realize that everyone stands a chance at finishing strong in life. More on Gladwell some other time.

This piece is about the four (4) lessons I picked from the original story of David and Goliath, as recorded in 1 Samuel 17, lessons that preachers often overlook – and Gladwell didn’t cover in his book. These lessons promise to help us make the most of the changing times:

1. Be clear what’s in it for you: When David arrived the camp and found that everything was at stake, that even the king and his warlords were at their wits’ end, he wasn’t so carried away by his desire (and ability) to save the day that he failed to do the needful: be clear about what he stood to gain from cutting down Goliath. More than once he’d ask, and twice was told the bounty on Goliath’s head: a. the king’s daughter, b. great wealth, c. family exemption from taxes. Always be clear about what you stand to gain. If you ain’t sure, kindly don’t hesitate to ask.

2. Beware of the envy of family (and friends): Sadly, it was his very own brother, blood, that first called him out. Recall that in the chapter immediately preceding this episode, 16, this same Eliab was thought by Samuel to be the Lord’s anointed – and God rejected him. And there he was talking down and abusing his youngest brother, David, trying to dissuade him from such a destiny-altering move. Need I say more? Beware of family and friends; more enemies are known to come from those quarters than elsewhere.

3. Saul wears David his amour: Can you imagine that? After David refuses to be dissuaded from the move, and now realizing that the ‘only’ available option has to be given a try, Saul, the king, takes off his clothes and wears them on David. Wow! Fact, when you bring value to the table, even the high and mighty gets to make space for you; they give you whatever you need in return.

4. Don’t dress in borrowed robes: However regal Saul’s amour was, David just couldn’t fit in; he wasn’t used to that sort of stuff. He takes them off and goes back to normal: shepherd dress, staff, and sling. And filing out against Goliath from his comfort zone saw him winning fair and square. So much talk about leaving your comfort zone; you need wisdom to know when to operate from there.


This is beautiful writing isn’t it? My brand is sophisticated simplicity; the goal is no dictionary. You like me to show you how I do the magic? Then sign up for my upcoming training here: bit.ly/writingexpo2ad

Your No. fan,



There is no iota of doubt that religion, as we know it, is a problem to humankind. History is replete with countless inhumanities perpetrated in the name of God. And the tug of war between Islam and Christianity for many centuries now (even among the thousands of Christian denominations) leaves much to be desired. Which, of course, informs why there’s ongoing crusade to relegate religion to the background – and even to eliminate it altogether. China is a case in point.

Why is it that the typical Christian, for instance, no matter how intellectually sophisticated, just looses and loses his or her mind in the face of any claim that includes ‘God’? Why is it that this piece is probably already making you uncomfortable, leaving you wishing that I don’t ride it south, of which you already have a readymade comment, like “Cornel, be careful what you write about God,” or outrightly sentence me to hell? Why is it that when the man or woman of God says “God told me” or “The Bible says” we suddenly become so docile that we score F in Reason 101. After the word Allah, Quran, or the Prophet, the next thing you say or do gets to decide what a Muslim will do to you – and all options are usually on the table.

I am a Christian myself and I take God really seriously. But I’m crazy enough to know that most things that happen in church have little, or even nothing to do with God. Some of the things happening there are simply strategies to grow the church business itself, to cover overhead cost. Some of the things happening there serve the whims and caprices of the man or woman of God, to climb them up Maslow’s pyramid. And you should know when it’s no longer your own business, at what point you should feel free to walk.

Frankly, and I’m not kidding you, some of the things being fired at you from the pulpit, some of which get to be coded as doctrines, are nothing but expressions of the man or woman of God’s limited knowledge on a subject-matter or an outright brandishing of his or her ignorance. Here, “God,” “Allah” “Bible,” “Quran,” “the Prophet” become mere words used to arm the bomb of ignorance being fired at you.

Anyway, let me stop here.

Free advice: You see that thing between your ears, the grey matter we’ve come to call brains… Remember that you didn’t put it there yourself. I think the guy who put it there wants you to use it. I mean, whatever doesn’t make basic sense may not be sensible after all. Canal minds don’t understand the things of the spirit, right? If not your head, then just make sure your spirit bears witness to what is been fed you in the spirit.

One last word: Don’t let anyone use the word “God” to screw you.

Your No.1 fan,