Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

I recently completed facilitating a capstone class which required students to complete a business case study as their final project.  As they submitted their weekly assignments, I noticed a recurring pattern among many of the submissions.

Students were referencing corporate press releases, annual reports, and other internally prepared documents proclaiming the greatness of their selected corporation, sometimes even amid faltering performance or significant marketplace issues.

The reference to “drinking the Kool-Aid,” coined following the now infamous Jim Jones cult-style mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, has come to mean accepting information at face value, no questions asked.  Attempting to provide redirection and course correction, I sent a message titled “Don’t Drink the Corporate Kool-Aid,” challenging students to go beyond the corporate propaganda and engage in critical thinking and analysis.

In the same way, being a Jesus follower requires that we don’t drink the cultural Kool-Aid.  Jesus tells us to be in the world, not of it.   Jesus came to lead a counter-cultural revolution, complete with actions and behaviors that seem to contradict current popular thought.  Examples would include:

  • The world tells us to get revenge. Jesus tells us to pray for those who oppose us ( 5:43-44).
  • The world tells us to strive for more, bigger, and better. Jesus tells us to seek Him first ( 6:24-34).
  • The world tells us we are right, others are wrong. Jesus tells us to first check our own heart and motives ( 7:1-3).
  • The world tells us that death is our enemy. Jesus tells us that our earthly death will lead to our heavenly reward ( 16:24-25).
  • The world tells we should hold ourselves in high regard. Jesus says we should be humble as a child ( 18:2-4).
  • The world tells us to believe that which we can control and which can be proven by science and fact. Jesus tells us to have faith and believe ( 21:21-22).[i]

Think about it.  The next time you are tempted to take something at face value – are you “drinking the Kool-Aid?”


[i] Edelen, D. (2009).  A dozen sayings of Jesus that will change the world.  Retrieved October 13, 2018, from



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