Every once and a while a sanity check needs to occur in any leader’s head. Leadership is actually to a large degree conflict management, for if leadership assumes forward movement, and movement involves change, then conflict and at times even chaos is necessary.
This morning’s reflection on Richard Rohr’s post1 and the shock value that his departure from the norm always affords has caused me to reflect on my future, both as a church and community leader. Likewise, a post from the New York Times2 forwarded by a fellow church leader seemed to affirm my need for such a reality check given these troubling times. I cannot be comfortable, perhaps stirred by the future of one grandson, John Luther!
Of course all of this is flavored in part my annual journey through the scriptures, currently in John’s Gospel, with his references to John the Baptist. John’s life chronicles the benefit and hazards spoken to in Rohr’s reflections on the necessary balance between Kings, Priests and prophets. One has only to read my last post to understand my thoughts on the brokenness of our institutions and its leadership, to include myself. With that, the reader will understand the need to add the second reference, given the similar challenges now facing practicing Muslims.
Perhaps I am privileged to live in the time of a second Reformation, this one much more global, as God begins to bring a Kingdom perspective to all three monotheistic belief systems, Judaism, Christianity and yes, based on his promises to Hagar, Islam as well.
How does this impact my life? It calls to question much of what I have been taught, chosen to believe and in fact, experienced on my journey with the Lord of the Heavens. On the night of January 3, 1973 and ever since, my life has been undeniably and radically intersected by the God of the Universe. I now have over 40 years of evidence that this was not just a bad moment mentally!
I say that for those more rational, and because to believe otherwise sends me to a place of the paranormal that I cannot reconcile with science. I have seen too much of the super natural power of God to deny Him room in my life at this late juncture. I am Pentecostal, warts and all, and have seen interventions in my life and the lives of scores of others, from physical miracles, vocational placement and yes, financial means that were undeniable.
Perhaps like John the Baptist, I am now willing to take the risk of prophetic speak, though very aware of the dangers and misappropriations of hyper spiritual labels. As Rohr cautions, “In the Hebrew Scriptures, the central institution of Temple sacrifice, priests, and Levites attempted to balance itself with prophets, or the legitimation of official, sanctioned critics, even though they usually killed them in the end.”
So, what comes next, an objective review of institutional baggage? Maybe a cleansing from the things that people and politics have imposed, though they also were perhaps placed in my life as sovereign gatekeepers of the pace of change?
There have certainly been times when without these inputs, I would have run way ahead of timing, not that I haven’t questioned that reality already. However, I must believe that if I was called at an early age, protected from my own stupidity and sinfulness time and again, that I have now been positioned by providence with purpose! He is able to keep that which is committed to Him, the author and finisher of my faith!
“Through many dangers toils and snares, I have already come, tis grace hath kept me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”