leadership


I am reading a biography of the Apostle Paul by N.T. Wright. Some of the words Mr. Wright used to describe Paul were “bold”, “never tried to hide things”, “tactless”, “never tried to curry favor”, “never for a moment shrinking from speaking out”, “reputation as a world-roving troublemaker”, “much more afraid of not being true to the gospel than of any consequences a bold proclamation might have had.”

 As I read these various descriptions of Paul it occurred to me that many of them describe me as well. This was very comforting to me as the characteristics I share with Paul have historically been seen as negative by many church people, especially church leaders. Now that I know what good company I’m in, I can shake off the opinions of me held by these individuals, no longer allowing them to impact me. Maybe some of these characteristics are what is needed for a disciple of Christ to significantly impact his or her world.

 

 

Advertisements

I just finished reading From the Ground Up by Howard Schultz. It was excellent. I highly recommend it. Excerpt:

“…the misplaced priorities of President Trump and his administration do not represent the priorities of the majority of Americans. And while there are heroes who hold office, members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, have been complicit in the fracturing of trust that has plagued our political system for years now…the prejudice, inequality, and broken systems that do exist are wrong and dangerous. As Americans, they anger and shame so many of us…We must see beyond what is in front of us. We must reimagine the promise of America. How? By using empathy to try to understand, raising our voices to condemn darkness, and casting our votes to choose the kind of leadership we want our grandchildren to grow up with.”

I just finished reading Michelle Obama’s book Becoming. I highly recommend it. Gave me a real sense of who both she and her husband are as people, not political figures.

The following statement of hers resonated deeply with me: “Meeting Nelson Mandela gave me the perspective I needed…that real change happens slowly, not just over months and years but over decades and lifetimes.”

The following excerpt from When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough has been running through my mind all morning, soooo I decided to share it. Here it is:

“I want them [my sisters in Christ] to be who they were created to be, to be free to operate in their spiritual gifts, and to fulfill the purpose for which they were created and designed to fulfill. I want the Church to not only give them permission to pursue their calling, but to also actively encourage and support them in doing so. I want the Church to tell them they are on equal footing with men and don’t need to fit themselves into prescribed roles.

Needless to say, we have a long way to go to make this happen. There are a lot of battles which will need to be fought and many streams in which individuals will need to swim upstream. Much conflict and controversy will follow. Whoever chooses to fight these battles or swim up these streams will need to be ready and willing to face a torrent of opposition. It will take people who have the determination of James Madison, the visionary leadership of Elizabeth Stanton, the dedication of Susan B. Anthony, the perseverance of Martin Luther King Jr., the amazing selflessness of the Freedom Riders, and the passion of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Most of all though, it will take people whose hearts have been changed by Christ.”

If anyone is interested in reading more, here’s the link to purchase the book: https://www.amazon.com/When-Going-Flow-Enough-Upstream/dp/1625860714/

This post is a follow-up to my 9/22 post, plumb line.

Excerpt from When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough:

In keeping with the culture of the time, Huldah…was identified as both a prophet and a wife when first introduced in Scripture. This would seem to indicate that she successfully lived out both her role as prophet and her role as wife…

When considering what exceptional women Deborah and Huldah were in light of the culture in which they lived, it is important not to overlook what exceptional men Barak and Josiah were. Both men were unique figures in the history of Israel due to their willingness to submit to the leadership of a woman…

Josiah intentionally seeking spiritual counsel from a female prophet during a time when four male prophets (Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habbakuk) were living is nothing short of amazing. What is even more amazing is that King Josiah not only sought the counsel of a woman, he acted on it, instituting very radical reforms. Josiah must have seen something in Huldah similar to what Barak saw in Deborah. Scot McKnight, in The Blue Parakeet, states “Huldah is not chosen because no men were available; she is chosen because she is truly exceptional among the prophets.”

The following excerpt from When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough has been on my mind a lot the last several days. I don’t know why. Maybe someone needs to read it, so I decided to share it. Here it is:

When an individual gives his or her life to God, that individual becomes part of God’s family. The Holy Spirit then comes to live inside that believer and endows him or her with spiritual gifts. A spiritual gift is an ability or talent that is given to an individual by God when he or she becomes part of God’s family. The Apostle Paul discussed spiritual gifts in his letter to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians), his letter to the church in Rome (Romans 12), and his letter to the church in Ephesus (Ephesians 4).

 Important Point: There is no reference in any of Paul’s letters to gifts being distributed according to gender.

As I walked with Jesus I gradually came to the realization that I had been given the spiritual gift of leadership… As I tried to live out the purpose God had called me to, using the gifts he gave me, I ran into intense opposition. I crashed right into the stained glass ceiling. I was told that I was controlling (a bad thing) and that I was too strong of a leader (another bad thing)…I studied the difference between controlling and leading. I studied the difference between leading and managing.  I studied the difference between anointing and ordination. I read books on gender equality in the Church, and I studied the lives of women in the bible. As a result of all this I came to the unshakable conclusion that God is color blind and gender blind. He does not distribute gifts and assign purposes based on race or gender.

… as we grow into the people God created us to be, we become comfortable in our own skin. When we are comfortable in our own skin, we are able to unreservedly allow the people around us to be comfortable in their skin, to be who they are, who God created them to be. When we are not comfortable in our own skin, we often try to control our external circumstances and the people in our life in an effort to achieve that comfort. In her book Men and Women in the Church, Sarah Sumner, a noted author, international speaker, and dean of A. W. Tozer Theological Seminary, describes a time when she was impacted by people around her who were not comfortable in their own skins. “When I was a student at Trinity, one of my professors called me into his office and said to me in a warm, fatherly tone, ‘Sarah, do not show the full color of your plume; it will intimidate the men.’ She further stated ‘… every Christian woman is told not to lead too much.’”[i]

As I look back at the times I was told I was too strong of a leader and think about the people who told me this, I now understand that they were not comfortable in their own skins. If they were, they would not have been so threatened by me growing into the person and the leader God had anointed me to be.

[i] Sarah Sumner, Men And Women In The Church (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003) pp. 26-27

“… a great nation is a compassionate nation. … America has not met its obligations and its responsibilities to the poor. … One day we will have to stand before the God of history, and we will talk in terms of things we’ve done. Yes, we will be able to say we’ve built gargantuan bridges to span the seas. We built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies. Yes, we made our submarines to penetrate oceanic depths. We brought into being many other things with our scientific and technological power. It seems that I can hear the God of history saying, ‘That was not enough! But I was hungry and ye fed me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me.’” Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday, March 31, 1968 at the National Cathedral, Washington D.C.

Next Page »