Prophets, Priests and Kings

The privilege of position and power

Of all the roads less traveled, no one chooses the road of the prophet.


Whether one fulfills one’s duties faithfully or unfaithfully, the end result is still the same. The prophet always dies.

The prophet speaks truth to power. The penalty in the Mosaic law for false prophets whose prophecies do not come true is death. Speaking lies to power is a capital crime.

The prophets who faithfully speak truth to power will likely come to an ignominious death at the hands of the people or the state. Either way, they are public enemy number one, and they are usually the first to die. Or they are left to rot in prison in some sort of living hell.

In this “post-truth” world of social media where anyone with a smart phone can create fake news, the role of the respected journalist has now become the sacred office of the prophet, the necessary fifth estate in the effective functioning of a constitutional democracy.

Christiane Amanpour: 2016 Burton Benjamin Memorial Award Acceptance Speech

If my role has changed from priest to prophet, I will never say so. The stakes are far too high to make such claims. I don’t have a death wish. I would welcome a good sleep — even the big sleep — but I’m not hoping for a violent death at the hands of my adversaries.

I’ll call myself a writer, maybe a journalist, but never a prophet.


The priestly class are the nerds who have taken over the world, the dreaded elites who are the common enemy of the unwashed masses.


In the old economy, one needed to set one’s sights high. In high society, I always recommend being number two or lower. The number one position is known as “the fall guy.” He is always the first to go when things go wrong. It’s like the rules of engagement in Zombieland.

  • Cardio
  • The Double Tap
  • Beware of Bathrooms
  • Wear Seat Belts

That’s where you made your first mistake, Donald J. Trump. First, you picked the wrong vertical for your business aspirations.

Democracy is a hard row to hoe. You should have set your sights on Apple or Google, if you were interested in world domination. Even Tesla just made it into the top 100 brands, according to Interbrand.

But, that’s right. You are still stuck in the old bricks and mortar economy, talking about coal, oil, walls and buildings. But you get the new economy, right? You know your way around Twitter, now that they have given your account back.

Second, you wanted the top position and you got it. Remember the chess board? The king may be more important in terms of the final outcome, but the queen is always far more capable. But guys like you don’t like to be called queens. You are going to be tamed and domesticated by the office of president. You will be a pussycrat, whipped into shape by your second in command and possibly deposed, if your Republican Party has anything to say about your fitness for public office.

Sloppy Seconds

Graphic design = the endless, thankless task of responding to other people’s emergencies.

It’s also known as: hurry up and wait. I’m trying to be a little more self-directed. I once had a colleague at design school tell me, you are going to go far. People are just going to have to get used to waiting for you.

I like perfection, craft, modular structures and atomic design systems. That doesn’t lend itself to a world that is moving at the speed of business, where quarterly results do not play well with reasoned and measured strategic design thinking.

So, writing seems to be my calling, and I might even go so far as calling it journalism. But I will not be calling it prophecy any time soon. So, as it goes in this new economy, the entrepreneurial, start up environment, we need to innovate and carve out new paths in the business landscape. You have to do the thing that has never been considered, that you were born to do. That’s how I landed on the idea of speaking truth to power, second in command to the highest public service office in the world, Self-appointed Advisor to the President of the United States.

Speaking Truth to Power

Do you see someone skilled in their work?They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.

Proverbs 22:28–29

When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.

Luke 12:11–12

Designer, writer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective, Leading with Design.

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