Category Archives: Relationships

Authority and vulnerability: 2 necessary ingredients for redemptive leadership


What is your natural, tempting go-to response when under pressure in a leadership position? Exert more power? Withdraw? Or suffer silently in self-pity?

What does biblical leadership look like when those under you aren’t following? How do you put together both Matthew 28:18-19 and Philippians 2:3-8—all authority and ultimate humility—in a single leader?

At last week’s Community of Practice Sherwood and Judith Lingenfelter presented on the topic of cultural systems and the abuse of power. You can watch their entire presentation below at the bottom of this post [start at 32:57].

Early in the presentation [at the 43:50 mark], Sherwood posts a graph discussing two aspects of biblical leadership: authority and vulnerability (he cites it from Andy Crouch’s book, Strong and Weak). [Graph below is my representation, Crouch has his illustration on page 13] Both of these facetsAuthority and Vulnerability of power must be present at the same time if leadership is to be biblical or redemptive. In this model, leadership without vulnerability leads to exploitation. Leadership without authority or vulnerability leads to withdrawal. Leadership that avoids authority but remains vulnerable will lead to paralysis and self-pity. True leadership that reflects Christ’s authority and vulnerability  looks like one who willingly goes to the cross.

What I liked about Sherwood’s part of the talk is that he describes a process he takes pastors through as they examine ministry failures. Which choice do they tend to make and why? Of the 129 he has taken through this process, 55% chose the path of power and control (exploitation), 29% chose to withdraw, and 16% chose to remain in ministry but disillusioned and wounded.

We cannot lead if we don’t understand that both [authority and suffering of Christ] are crucial to leadership.

Evaluate your leaders or your own leadership style? Do you or they embody both authority and vulnerability at the same time?

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Filed under Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, Evangelicals, Relationships

Do men need sex? Wants vs. needs and the making of weak men


A bit ago, I wrote a piece challenging Michelle Duggar’s advice to her newlywed daughter about how to be sure to always be ready for sex.

“And so be available, and not just available, but be joyfully available for him. Smile and be willing to say, ‘Yes, sweetie I am here for you,’ no matter what, even though you may be exhausted and big pregnant and you may not feel like he feels. ‘I’m still here for you and I’m going to meet that need because I know it’s a need for you.’ ” (emphasis mine)

That advice, in my opinion, makes men out to need sex to such a degree that the lack of it will lead to bad things like porn and adultery. Sex is treated as the glue that holds fragile men in the marriage and the lack of it kills the marriage because men can’t function without it.

Interestingly, comments on that blog and other social media, by women, suggested that indeed sex is a need, not just a want.

Now, I just read a piece by a not-surprisingly anonymous blogger entitled, “How a husband can enjoy sex that is grudgingly given by his wife,” which argues much the same thing. While there are a million things wrong with his post, I only want to highlight the “need” language used in it. When illustrating how a wife might be allowed to (rarely) turn down her husband’s request for sex, he suggests she use this line with him,

“Honey, I know you really need it, but I am just really sick tonight, can I make it up to you tomorrow?” (bold mine)

And when he talks about the problem of the wife not wanting sex the way the husband wants,

But then we have the conundrum, women don’t always feel like having sex. Even women that have a healthy view of sex don’t always feel like having sex as much as their husbands do. (emphasis his)

One could argue that for some this is true, some men feel greater sexual desire than do their wives. But it is only a conundrum if such feelings/desires for sex are evidence of some innate need that if not met will lead to trouble.

Maybe from this quote you are not sure that this blogger believes sex is a need for men. Well, he also believes it is a need for women as well,

You need to realize that this is a physical need that you have as a man. You also need to realize that whether your wife knows it or not she needs to have sex too. Your marriage needs sex at regular intervals. If you don’t have sex with your wife at regular intervals, even sometimes when she is not in the mood but consents anyway, you will open yourself to temptation. You will find yourself becoming distant from your wife, because this is the primary way that you as man feel closeness with your wife.

But even if you realize and accept this truth that you need sex and it needs to happen even if your wife refuses to “fake it” and bury her wrong attitude then what?

What is probably most controversial in this blog is that he advises men to go ahead with sex when a wife is giving sex in a grudging way. He recommends that a husband not look at his wife’s face but focus on her body. You see, sex is such a need, it would be best to just muscle through it, don’t look at her face, so you can fulfill that need. Really!

Is it a need? Is it a want?

So is sex a need? Even if you believe it is a duty to provide sex to your spouse, does that make it a need equivalent to, “if I don’t get oxygen, I will die”?  Will the absence of it lead to bad things? It seems that some have  bought into this little formula: SEXUAL DESIRE = NEED. UNMET NEED = DANGER that will lead to  temptation, straying, or some such pathology.

What do we do with single men who want to be married? Is God unkind to them?

I think our troubles begin this way: We often baptize desires as needs, expect needs to be fulfilled, are angry when they are not, make demands of others to fulfill our wants and excuse ourselves when we use illicit means to get what we want (either by outright force, manipulation, or secrecy).

Notice here the author conflates desire with need. Yes, many men and women desire sexual activity. We are designed for it so it is not surprising when we like it and want more of it. But it is also designed to be used to connect us with our spouses. And when it is used to only fulfill one person’s needs, then it is not being used as designed.

And when we see it as a need, we are encouraging men to see themselves as weak and incapable of living without sex.

Further, arguing backwards does not make it a need. For example, you could show that those in sexless marriages are more likely to cheat (example; I don’t know if this is true or not). This information still does not make sex a need. At best it can only tell us it is a powerful want.

Consider for a minute how we might respond to these two different equations:

  • Sex as basic need + unmet need = ???
  • Sex as powerful want + unmet want = ???

How would you conclude these two equations? The first is more likely to focus on ensuring the spouse is not selfishly withholding such a basic need. The second is more likely to be concluded by addressing the one who has the want and how they plan to address that want.

A Better Equation

Maybe this is a more accurate equation: Sex as a powerful want + partially unmet wants + brokenness (bodies, relationships, desires) = grief over losses + opportunity to rely on Holy Spirit + pursuit of loving our spouses more than ourselves. This equation better acknowledges wants, sadness the happens when wants are not met, the reality of broken wants and broken bodies but also points to a better goal of reliance on God and the focus of love more than getting something.

It is painful to have unmet wants/desires. Those desires do not have to be wrong (though we are never fully right either). But our wants are always given to God and made secondary to our command to love the other well. Yes, part of loving the other may be talking about desires and hurts. But surely let us get rid of the idea that failing to have sex leaves men or women in some greater danger than those who have sex as much as they want.

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Filed under marriage, Relationships, Sex, Uncategorized

Responding to Accusations of Racism: Confessing the Sins of our Fathers (And Our Own)


The news and social media seem to be all about race these days. Comments (not necessarily conversations!) range from criticism of police to criticism of the Black community. And surely there are plenty of reasons to criticize. And notice how it is so easy to identify and name the sins of those who are not us! And when others point out our sins, we tend either to get defensive or tell a story. Neither response gets us to where we need to go!

Pointing out the sins of others (individuals and groups) fails to promote healing and reconciliation. As Jesus calls us, we must start with our own log before removing the speck in the eye of the other (Matthew 7:3f). And our own log exists beyond our own specific misdeeds. We must also acknowledge the ways we have participated in and benefitted from the sins of our “own kind” (culture, ancestors, etc.)

Being Nehemiah

By all accounts, Nehemiah was a godly man. I suspect he was born in captivity and so therefore not culpable for the sins that got Judah carried off to Babylon. He was suffering, a servant to a foreign king). And yet, he was moved to confess the sins of his “ancestors” (v. 1:6) as his own. Later, when Ezra reads the law, Nehemiah and the rest hear it then confess the sins of Israel starting with the failures to obey God in the wilderness (chapter 9). They do not call out the sins of their captors (which are evident) or even their detractors but choose to stay focused on their own failings. Not content just to confess, Nehemiah and the returnees sign a covenant and make promises for specific and objective changed behavior going forward (chapter 10).

How might this apply to our current situation? Can those who are white (no matter the economic class) confess benefits of privilege not available to many of our brothers and sisters of color? Can we do so without deflecting to the flaws and sins of those who respond sinfully to racializations?

Can we acknowledge the massive impact of hundreds of years of discrimination and why it makes sense that resulting poverty, destruction of families, and hopeless still show up today? Can we own our sins with the detail shown us in Nehemiah? Can we covenant to be different? Will we call our families and communities to be different?

Maybe then we might be free to point out the sins of those who are “other.” Until then, let us let the Holy Spirit be the one to teach “them” about following Jesus.

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Filed under Christianity, Race, Racial Reconciliation, Relationships

Advice to an abused wife? Guest post over at biblical.edu


For those interested in a new resource on dealing with abusive relationships, check out this post about Leslie Vernick’s new book on emotionally destructive marriages. I highly recommend it. Leslie gets the insanity of emotional abuse and is able to point out a good and godly response.

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Christian Cancer?


Biblical Seminary’s faculty blog has posted an older blog of mine on the “top form of Christian cancer”. Click here to go see what it is.

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Filed under "phil monroe", Biblical Seminary, Christianity, Relationships

Educating youth about sex: check out this local conference


I will be speaking at a local day-long seminar geared to educate youth, youth workers, and parents on the topic of sex, sexual health, and relationships. It is sponsored by Eastern University. You can check out this page for more information. While my talk is geared to help adults create environments free of sexual abuse, most of the other presentations are dealing with issues around teen sexuality, relationships in an age appropriate manner. If you are a youth worker or have teens or middle schoolers, you might want to come and bring your kids as well.

On July 26-27, the Center for Urban Youth Development at Eastern University will host a conference called O, YES! (Our Youth Enlightened about Sex). This Christian conference is designed to enlighten middle school and high school students from Philadelphia and vicinity about topics related to sex, relationships and sexual health. It will be held at the Eastern University Academy Charter School at 3300 Henry Avenue in Philadelphia.

The Friday night Kick-off at 7 PM will feature entertainment, games, prizes, snacks and an introduction of the theme, Be Transformed. Saturday (9 AM to 4:30 PM) will include interactive seminars, skits, entertainment and food. Facilitators will present the real deal on teens and sex.  Their expertise, experience and Christian worldview will be incorporated into dynamic workshops.

To register for O, YES! or to make a donation, go to www.eastern.edu/oyes. Please direct inquires to oyes@eastern.edu or call 215-769-3105. Follow us on Twitter: @OYESConference. The cost for those who register before June 19 is $25/person. After June 19, add $5/person. For groups who bring 14 people, the 15th person will attend at no cost. Scholarships are available. Donations to make this event possible are appreciated.

 

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Filed under Abuse, Christianity, counseling, parenting, Relationships, Sex

Tuza 2.0: Day Four


[June 26, 2013]

The conference has begun. We have 30 high level caregivers here, 17 of whom attended Tuza 1.0. One of the things we expect is that all of the planning as to how long things will take does not ensure we will be able to stay on schedule. While we expect it, it requires a lot more cultural sensitivity and flexibility than us Westerners usually like to display. When I go to a conference, I don’t want to “waste” time playing games and getting to know my neighbors. Just fill my head up with knowledge, thank you very much. But that is not the way most of the world lives. So, our conference began, appropriately so, getting to know each other. Truth be told, this kind of beginning is necessary if we are going to trust each other!

Our first session included a short review of basic helping skills followed by a roleplay with Carol King. After a large group discussion, we broke attendees up into groups of 4 to form quads (counselor, counselee, and 2 observers). Many attendees remarked at how helpful the quads were for practicing skills. It seems that most have not had this experience before.

After coffee break (coffee plus a bowl containing a little donut with peppers and carrots inside and little fried (whole) fish!), one of our attendees presented a case for large group discussion. The case was of a teen who had experienced sex trafficking and was severely wounded in an attempt to kill her.

Our afternoon session featured a presentation by Dr. Barbara Shaffer on the topic of domestic violence. She spoke about the common cycle of domestic violence (tension building–>violence–>calm), the basis for protection from the scriptures, and gave basic goals when meeting with a person who is domestically abused.

During our large group discussion, we heard from several men and women that men are increasingly abused in Rwanda society. There was some discussion about how much this is an issue. It appears that since the genocide, women have had greater need to be independent and so traditional relationships between men and women are disrupted. Women, these individuals claimed, are more likely to be argumentative than in past eras. Also, we learned that in a separation, children under 7 may be forced to go with the father (or his family) since children belong to the father and not the mother. Not all attendees agreed with this view. We ended the day with small group discussions about how to tell when a person is experiencing domestic violence and how to engage that person in some basic information gathering and invitation to talk further.

One of the major changes we have in our schedule is the fact that we decided it was important to translate in real-time. We had planned that English proficiency would be high enough to do the training in English. However, it appears that substantial concepts are being missed. Even though this doubles the time it takes to do a talk and training, we  believe this is best for the attendees. We give them written text of the talk in English and at the same time give it orally in English and Kinyarwandan.

Some of us ended our work day with a fun swim in Lake Kivu. The water was a perfect temperature and clear many feet down. We swam for about 40 minutes then got ready for dinner. The swim was refreshing after a long day of concentrating and listening. Listening across accents and experiences can really wear you out.

A Funny Anecdote:

Charging phones and readers can be quite a challenge in Africa. You can have a converter and the right plug and find out that your device will not charge. For some reason, I could not charge my phone or nook while in Kigali. However, I was grateful to find that I could charge my devices in my room here at Bethany Centre. Well, last night I awoke at midnight to flames shooting out of my converter right at my head and mosquito net. I yelled, “FIRE” and quickly yanked the blackened plastic out of the wall while sparks continued to fall on flammable material. Thankfully, nothing caught on fire. I opened the patio door and threw the converter outside. My room stunk of that awful burnt plastic smell. In my stupor I wondered if I should call the front desk and ask them to make sure there wasn’t any ongoing problems with the outlet. As I stood thinking about it, I heard/saw outside flourescent lights grow tremendously brighter and then explode, first one, then another, then another. Deciding that I now needed to call the front desk, I turned the light on so I could dial the phone. The overhead light also exploded and sparks fell to the bed/net below. Again, I pounced wanting to make sure nothing caught fire. It did not. I used my phone light to dial the front desk. Minutes later, a sleepy voiced answered. I requested someone come soon to check on me and to ensure something wasn’t terribly wrong. No one came. The next morning I related my story and learned that several others had no power and their lights blew as well. Later we learned that some wires crossed and caused the power surge. It ended well and we had no further electrical problems the rest of the conference.

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Filed under AACC, Africa, christian counseling, counseling, counseling skills, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychology, Relationships, Rwanda

What factors support the use of spiritual abuse?


Carolyn Custis James, over at www.whitbyforum.com, has been discussing spiritual abuse, its causes and what we can do to be aware and avoid it. If you have been manipulated by another using spiritual themes and concepts, you likely wondered, “How did this happen? How did I get myself into this position?” While these are good questions, they rarely satisfy since abuse cannot make sense!

Nonetheless, it is good to consider some of the factors that support spiritual abuse (or any other forms of abuse for that matter). For abuse to grow beyond a “one of” event into a pattern a few things need to be in place. Consider the following list and use the questions as the basis for ongoing discussion in your own church.

  • Leadership that uses autocratic power to achieve its ends. A good organization must have strong leadership, clear goals/objectives, and vision casting to achieve its ends. A leader who allows underlings to do whatever they want is not a good leader. However, it is all to common in some circles to see leaders who try to achieve good ends via autocratic methods. They believe that their methods are good because the goal is good. Individuals in an autocratic system do not matter as much as outcomes. They are expendable. In addition, since the visionary knows best, then decisions must always emanate from the top. Freedom for the masses to make decisions cannot be tolerated. Spiritual abuse will flourish in such a setting since a spiritual goal will seem to trump the needs of an individual.

Important question: Why are some leaders attracted to authoritarianism?

  • Protection/honor of leader is elevated over servant leadership. Far too frequently, we engage in leader worship. Someone with charisma, talent and a history of success may find it tempting to assume that anyone questioning their motives and methods must be a hindrance to the vision. In addition, these leaders may be tempted to believe the press clippings about their value and so cease examining personal motives and desires. The inner circle near the leader often feels special because of their relationship to the famous leader. These become militant against those who question the leader since the inner circle only has power when the leader maintains total power. When keeping power becomes the top priority, spiritual abuse will thrive.

Important questions: What theological errors do we make when we promote charisma over servant leadership? What personality features are most prevalent in those who seek a group of yes men and women?

  • A culture of silence about conflicts: silence about what happens to you and what you see happening to others. Any institution or church will have individuals who sin against others and who cloak that sin in spiritual language. It is a given among fallen people. But, a culture of silence is needed in order for spiritual abuse to flourish. Those who experience such sins feel they ought not or cannot speak up. Those who witness spiritual abuse feel the same. The root of this culture of silence may be fear of reprisal or rejection or the misguided belief that the ends justifies overlooking abuse. I once heard a teen explain why she did not speak up about the sexual abuse she received from a senior pastor. She felt that to do so would interfere with the work of evangelism since so many were coming to Christ under his preaching.

Important question: When you experience/see spiritual abuse, what are some of the reasons why you might remain silent? Conversely, what might enable you to speak up with courage?

  • Groupthink caused by discouraging diverse thoughts and identities. The above facets conspire to produce homogenous power structures, decision-making made by a few who think alike. This creates groupthink. Those in power think alike, act alike. Those who think outside the box, who look like an outsider, who are willing to hear and respond well to internal and external criticism often are not allowed in the inner circle. In the church, this primarily means that those of the female gender and those who might not hold cherished but peripheral doctrines have no voice. When you have no voice, you are more likely to be the subject of spiritual abuse–to take one for the team. Consider this example: a male leader of the church is accused of a long pattern of verbal abuse of his wife. The wife speaks up about the problem and asks for others to intervene. The church convenes a care team of 4 other (male) leaders who hear her complaint. When they speak to the husband, he doesn’t deny the verbal abuse but he argues that she has been withholding sex because of unforgiveness from his past porn use. If she would stop withholding sex, he would be less likely to call her names. The men have heard of other women who withhold sex just because their husbands looked at porn a time or two. They are concerned that the wife is failing to live in submission to her husband. They meet with her to remind her of her wifely duties (1 Cor 7) but fail to consider the husband’s coercive behaviors as destructive to the marriage. No one thought to ask about ongoing porn use. In this case, the lack of women on the care team eliminates the voice that might see and acknowledge the impact of verbal abuse and porn use on sexual intimacy. The men are not wholly insensitive to this matter but may find themselves more worried about their own needs/desires than the woman’s need for protection. Or consider one other illustration: a Black man complains that other parishioners are making racializing comments that hurt. The White leadership hears his complaint but assumes he’s too sensitive and has a chip on his shoulder. They speak to him about the need to be understanding and that being an angry Black man doesn’t help his cause. Because leadership does not have experience in being a minority, they fail to care for one of their own and to walk in his shoes. Their use of spiritual categories is not only naive but potentially abusive.

Important question: What are some of the foundations encouraging the formation of groupthink?

I am sure that there are other factors that support spiritual abuse in the church. I imagine all of these points can be boiled down into one factor: CONTROL. The desire for it. The fear of losing it. The belief that we must protect our power and institution and should use all means to do so.

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Filed under Abuse, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, church and culture, Relationships, Uncategorized

Can you teach children to think before acting violently


NPR’s Morning Edition has a piece this morning on the problem of impulsive acts of violence by adolescents with guns and an attempt at a prevention plan. You can read and/or listen to the segment here. The researchers discovered that most of the violent gun crimes by teens were not premeditated. Instead, the shooters were in possession of a gun and when the problem became heated, they made the choice to use their gun to solve the problem–they failed to consider the consequences as they “solved the problem” with a weapon.

The intervention used in Chicago schools is a form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy to increase prosocial decision-making strategies. These interventions are not particularly new. The basis of this type of intervention assumes that if a person would pause before acting, step back and make an evaluation of the problem and consider alternatives, then the person would likely make a better decision. In previous research, these interventions are found not to generalize well from session to real life.

But, the research discussed in this piece seemed to point less to impulsive decision-making and more to the base assumptions they assumed others would make of them if they used polite speech to ask for something they wanted.

In one exercise, Ludwig says, the students were grouped into pairs, and one member of each pair was given a ball. The other was told to get the ball out of his partner’s hand. This invariably led to a fight, Ludwig says, as the kids brawled over the ball. After watching the fight, the program leader would ask the student who was trying to get the ball a question: “Why didn’t you ask the other kid to give you the rubber ball?”

None of the adolescents, Ludwig says, ever thought to ask their partners for the ball.

“The kids will say things like, ‘Oh, if I would have asked, he would have thought I was a punk,’ ” Ludwig says. “Then the group leader will turn to the partner and ask, ‘What would you have done had this other kid asked you to give him the rubber ball?’ And usually this other kid will say, ‘I would have just given him the rubber ball. What do I care?’ ”

The goal of such exercises, Ludwig explains, is to help the teens understand that their strong, negative reactions during confrontations are often based on what they falsely imagine is happening in other people’s minds.

Does it work?

You can read in the linked essay that those who received the intervention were FAR less likely to engage in violent crime. But notice that on 1 year follow-up after the intervention, the differences between those who received the intervention and those who didn’t were insignificant. In other words, the intervention works while it is being received, but is not a permanent change. So, one wonders what makes the program work at all. Is it the positive relationship between the students and those doing the teaching leading to more gracious responses to others?

In the past, I’ve read about stop-think-observe-plan interventions and assumed they were worthless since the students didn’t retain the skills to make better decisions after the intervention concludes. But note that the essay concludes with the researching noting that the benefits during the program are worth it in terms of cost-benefit. Maybe it would be good to see a 5 year program and whether the benefits really do continue during a longer program.

 

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Filed under Cognitive biases, conflicts, news, Relationships

System justification: motivated avoidance of vulnerability


System justification: the tendency to defend an organization or institution in the face of negative public opinion or distressing facts.

Have you ever noticed that when some person, institution, value, or position you love and cherish is being attacked, you come to its defense? Think back to your childhood. You may have mistreated a sibling but if someone else was a bully, you did not stand idly by. You may have criticisms of your church or country, but if an outsider attacks it, you feel a level of outrage. When you finally do come to see the criticisms of outsiders as valid, it is also common for us to leave our once cherished system and become an enemy. Consider how former catholics converting to evangelical christianity may often be more critical of their former church than those who never followed the tradition.

This is a common, understandable, but potentially unhelpful response. It seems that it is difficult to stay inside a system and yet be vocal about its value AND weaknesses. Either we stay and defend or leave and attack.

Some Evidence

Steven Shepherd and Aaron Kay say,

Being actively critical of something one is dependent on is thought to be psychologically uncomfortable, and therefore avoided in favor of increased perceptions of legitimacy, trust, and desirability. System justification theory posits that people are motivated to justify and legitimize the status quo and the system in which one lives. (Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 102(2), 2012, 264-280)

They go on to say that feeling dependent on a system leads to increased trust in that system which leads to active avoidance of evidence critical of that system. In other words, we like to be comfortable and loss of an important system increases our sense of vulnerability.

This “motivated avoidance” of information that might undermine our sense of safety shows up in domestic violence  research. In the most recent journal of  Psychological Trauma (5(3), 2013, 241-250), Ryan Matlow and Anne DePrince point out the differences between women who experience chronic violence at the hands of one partner versus domestic violence from the hands of multiple partners. Those who stay with a violent partner appear to use active avoidance strategies to ignore the violence but focus only on the good qualities. The assumption is that the attachment bond is more important to protect than to admit that their partner is abusive.

One more piece of anecdotal evidence: many spouses of adulterous partners either leave immediately or stay and defend against the evil other person who “attacked” the family. It is rare (but I have seen it) to stay with someone who you think is the main or sole cause of adultery.

We stay and defend instead of stay and reform. Or, we leave and attack. Staying and criticizing for reform is difficult and potentially dangerous.

Is there another way?

Imagine that one of the authors of the newly revised DSM 5 were to acknowledge that several of the significant changes were based merely on political or philosophical forces and not at all on empirical data. Imagine that a Republican or Democrat in Congress would agree that their party cared more about winning than finding true compromises. Imagine that a member of the PCA (my denomination) admitted that electing but not ordaining deaconesses for service in the church was hiding behind semantics.

What enables us to have the courage to stay and critique our favorite systems (assuming that there is something worth saving!)? I suspect the following must be present:

  • A love for truth above winning arguments (which will influence how we criticize others!)
  • A love for both those outside the system and those inside who need to change
  • Honest admission of previous or current support of problem systems
  • Courage in the face of criticism from others who dislike our truth-telling
  • Vision for reform (it is too easy to destroy, much harder to construct)
  • A willingness to give up what provides comfort, choosing future honor over insider status
  • Acceptance that one outcome may be your being kicked out of your beloved system

Of course, the power to avoid avoidance of vulnerability comes not from intellectual prowess but from no other place than the Holy Spirit. Why else would we trade current comfort now?

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Filed under Christianity, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, church and culture, Relationships