Learning to Follow.

August 13, 2007

This was supposed to be a book but I don’t have the attention span.

I started writing about this last summer, but Brant Hansen reminded me of it today a few days ago with this post, (though why this one didn’t do it I’m not sure).

Perhaps we’re not all supposed to be leaders. I for one have noticed the trend that there are a lot of books about leading, leadership, being in charge, getting it your way, being a tyrant… ok, that last one may have been a bit extreme. My personal pet peeve is servant leadership. We talk a lot about how Jesus modelled servant leadership, and how that is to be our model. This seems to become yet another way of justifying leadership positions without much thought into the whole servant part of it.

Interesting fact, the phrase servant leadership doesn’t appear in the bible… ever. The idea of service, helping others, appears lots. It seems that the idea “Jesus was a leader therefore I’m supposed to be a leader too” is a bit skewed. Jesus was (and is) God on earth, and even he was willing to get down on his knees and wash his disciples feet. He was willing to touch the lepers to heal them, not send money, not say a prayer as he walked past, but actually put his hands on their (let’s be honest here) pretty gruesome bodies to help them.

So where am I going with this? I’m not sure. A friend of mine had this quote on his facebook profile and it is startling in its pointedness.

“If we were to set out to establish a religion in polar opposition to the Beatitudes Jesus taught, it would look strikingly similar to the pop Christianity that has taken over the airwaves of North America.”
– Tony Campolo

This, for me, is what the problem is. We want the blessings of the beatitudes before we have the attitude. We want and demand the privileges of leadership like Christ had, before we take on Christ’s character. We even go so far as to avoid, ignore, and even deny the hardships Christ faced to justify our privileged and comfortable positions. Some do it to justify the fact that they look a lot less like new testament pastors and apostles and more like old testament kings.

To a great extent I’m revealing my own hypocrisy here, I’m not much of a Christian or follower of Christ. On the other hand, I don’t claim to be a leader. I’m still working on the servant part, still learning to follow.

One comment

  1. Mark 10 and Matthew 20 would be good chapters to read about servant leadership.

    “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:43b-45)

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