In a previous post I began to offer a conversation about what actual Christian leadership might look like right now in our current American Culture. This is an ongoing conversation I’m having with some people and I’m sort of sharing out if you will. I want to be clear that I’m not pretending to have all of the right answers. But I think that we need to think about this because what I see is a large lack of leadership out there.
In part one I said the first thing we need to understand is that the most important battle is within. It all starts there. It’s not out there somewhere in some fight against the ever easy to blame “they”. It’s the battle in our own hearts to follow Jesus and actually be about His Kingdom first.
Today I want to think about a second important thing. That is this: What narrative are you living in and out of?
There are lots of narratives being pushed out there. There is the America is the greatest narrative. There is the America is the worst narrative. There is the narrative that says all of history is about the oppressed and the oppressors. There are narratives where we just divide people up into groups. The “rich” and the “poor”. The white and the black. Men and women. In some parts its the Christians vs Muslims. Or Capitalists vs Communists. Or Communists vs the Fascists. We could go on and on.
The temptation here as a Christian is to speak to all of these. Heck I’m tempted to speak to these right now. Haha! Seriously I want to so bad. . . .
But that, I think, is the problem. Many of us are trying to fit the Christian answers into the secular narratives. And that is not going well. Not even a little bit.
The truth is that none of those narratives actually explain the story we are in. None are actually the main narrative we find ourselves in. They may be a part of our story – but they are a subplot at best.
Part of Christian leadership is focusing on and then leading from the bigger story that we are in.
The Christian narrative includes all people. It also includes and in fact assumes more than just the human experience.
We have the bigger, overarching story. It’s a tragedy. It’s a love story. It’s a story of abject failure, redemption and hope. It is a story that includes every person ever. It’s a story that we are all in and all have a part to play. We all have a role. But our role is is secondary. This is because our story isn’t just a story of humanity. It’s even bigger. It’s not our story that God is in. It’s His story and we are in it.
The narrative that we are in starts with God and ends with God. Again, we are in it to be sure. But we aren’t actually the focal point. That’s why every other narrative comes up short.
This ultimate story is one that includes each individual. It’s also a communal story. There’s each human and there is humankind.
The story starts in the garden of Eden and ends in the final heaven. Or rather it never actually ends. It is a story that includes eternal salvation and eternal damnation. It’s a story where someone may look to have one part in the story but actually they have another. But mostly it is a story about God. It is a story about who He is and what He has done, is doing and what He will do.
It is a story about God’s faithfulness and our unfaithfulness. It’s a story of God’s love for us. It’s a story with a hero. And that hero is not us. It’s Jesus.
We need to first remember that this is the story that we are a part of. That’s not to say we aren’t a part of the other narratives so to speak. But they don’t define us, and they sure as heck don’t define Christianity.
So we need to remember that is the story we are in first. Then we need to live out of that story. That story needs to define us. And we need to let that narrative guide what we think, how we act, and how we view the world. We must, I repeat must, live out of that narrative first.
That is also the story that we need to tell. It’s the one that we need to invite people into. It’s the one that we need to act out of when we engage the world. It must shape our view of everything else. It must be the story that matters most. It is the one that we need to tell others about and make sure that they know they are a part of. We have THE STORY. All the others are just counterfeits that come up short.
Which story are you living out of? Which story are you leading out of? Which one are you fighting for? We have to fight for the main narrative. Not so we can “save Christianity.” Christianity doesn’t need saving. But lots of people do need to know the story. And we have to tell them.