Last time we started looking at the idea of responsibility. We looked at the idea of individual responsibility and how we need to start seeing that it is individuals who are responsible and not the ever convenient “they”.
Today I want to take a look at why taking individual responsibly is healthy and not only that it is the only way to become a leader.
First of all, it’s important to hit again the fact that in the end, according to Christian theology we are individually responsible before God. Yes God will judge the nations but there will be people in each of those “nations” that get into the Kingdom and those that don’t. You aren’t going to stand before God and get away with “But. . . . ‘they’ did it”. Heck you won’t even be able to say, “I’m not responsible for that – you are”.
As we continue to think about what leadership as a Christian looks like in our culture today I want to talk about an idea that I think we too often seem to forget about. That is the idea of responsibility.
We live in a culture that doesn’t like to take responsibility. This is true both outside and inside the church. We like to talk a lot about other things. We talk about rights, as in my rights. We like to talk about blame, as in blaming others for my situation. Actually what we typically do is talk about my rights and others’ responsibilities.
But there are some key truths that we need to get ahold of if we are going to lead and make an impact.
Last time we looked at the idea in the first part of this century stemming from postmodernism (which was in motion far before then) that truth was relative to the individual and that we should somehow tolerate that idea and each other’s truths. We also looked at some of why that didn’t and doesn’t work out well. Today I want to look at how we might lead as Christians in the current context resulting from the failure of that idea.
First as a society, Christian or not, we need to understand this. At this point, we either have to figure out how to rescue absolute truth or we will have a continual war between the “truths”. Those truths will battle to become the absolute truths of society. Because that is how it works. Always.
As Christians what we need to do is a couple of things. Mainly we need to lead with actual Christian truth. All of it. Not part of it. Not the parts that line up with my “truths” but all of it.
One of the things that postmodernism sort of introduced in our culture is the idea that your truth is yours and mine is mine. This was sort of the battle cry of tolerance that was taught in early 2000’s (which now seems like a really long time ago). The idea at the time seemed to be that I’m ok and you’re ok. We’re all ok as we are. What we feel is ok. What we see as true is ok. We should tolerate differences not only of experience but we now could say that our different perspectives and experiences were actually different truths that were ok to live out of. Back then it was ok for everyone to not agree. In fact the idea was that no one should impose their belief or truth on anyone else.
Many in the church sort of went along with this. I don’t mean to say that most church leaders agreed that truth was relative. But I think the idea was that to get along and work in this new culture we should just sort of let that go and be loving and understanding. This idea of loving and understanding everyone isn’t a bad thing as far as it goes but by not standing up stronger we gave a lot of things that aren’t true a lot of ground. The results are that now even more believers are of the belief that there is no absolute truth and that half of millennial evangelicals think evangelization is wrong. After all that would be forcing our truth on others.
All of this has backfired spectacularly both inside and outside of the church in our culture.
Today I want to talk about an idea that was tossed out briefly in our American political circles. That is the idea of unity. Obviously that was a shorted live political idea and this blog is not a political one. But what it made me think about is the current disunity in the body of Christ. This is important as we continue to look at what it means to lead as a Christian in the current culture.
You don’t have to look far to see this disunity. I want to think about where this comes from and more, what would unity look like – or at least the beginning of unity. Also I’m not talking today about the thousands of denominations. I have strong opinions on that but for today let’s phrase it this way; Assuming our denominational divisions how can we have a more unified front in our western culture. Even then some aren’t going to like my answers but that’s nothing new for me. Ha!
Let’s start with a couple of the main causes of our disunity.
I’ve been writing a lot about what Christian leadership might look like in our current context. When I say current context I mean mainly within the American culture and Church. Of course part of the problem is that in America there is no “the Church” per se, but that is something to be addressed at a later time.
One of the things that happens all the time in the current cultural conversation over Christianity is that we tend to set things that appear opposed against each other. Or another approach is to take two Christian ideas and say that we need to balance them.
Today I want to talk in a different way a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. In that post I talked about the idea that as Christians in our current culture we need to lead with the truth of Jesus. We can’t let Jesus become simply a means to our end. I talked about how we should use the truth of Jesus vs. the language of the present. Or at the least we should let the truth of Jesus be our larger context for any language we use. I said we need to lead with The Truth instead of being in constant reaction mode.
Today I want to think about another angle of this same basic idea.
What should our goal as Christians be? What are we aiming at? Yes each individual believer but also corporately. What is the ultimate goal?
We’ve been looking at Christian leadership in todays culture over several posts. We looked at checking our own hearts first, understanding and leading from God’s narrative, leading with the truth of Jesus and taking care of the home front. Today I want to begin to talk about Christian leadership in a even more outward way.
We need to understand that the Christian worldview is not the worldview of the culture. In some ways of course this is not new. But we are entering a time now where western Christendom is over. Christianity is not. Not at all. But the worldview that has dominated western culture, for good or bad, has changed.
This current environment is much more apostolic than that. What this means is that we are going to have to do actual evangelization in a world that does not know or does not follow the basic truths of Christian thought.
Today I want to continue a series about what it looks like to lead as a Christian in today’s culture. We first looked at the importance of starting with looking at our own heart and what we are really all about. Then we looked at the importance of defining and living out of the narrative of God’s story vs. narratives dictated by current culture. Next we took an inward turn to look at taking care of our own business first.
Today I want to look at leading with Jesus and His truth.
Now that sounds sort of obvious. But I honestly don’t see a lot of it right now. What I see is a lot of Christians using Jesus to back up their side. I also see a lot of Christians saying true things about Jesus, but only the parts that they want to virtue signal with. I also think there are a lot of Christians who are sort of fixated on a particular part of Jesus and are just trying to follow that one part.
Finally I think there are people who are trying to show that Jesus is relevant to all that is going on right now in an attempt to win particular people over, or perhaps keep particular people from leaving Christianity.
But frankly this is creating confusion and it’s all hijacking Jesus. Now understand I’m not accusing everyone, or anyone in particular, of meaning to do that (although there are certainly people that are). It also risks splitting the body of Christ in places it just doesn’t have to be split.
What often ends up happening is that Jesus ends up being the support for a truth rather than the truth itself.
In this series we’ve been talking about what it looks like to lead in today’s culture. We first said we need to check our own hearts. Then we looked at the need to live out of and lead people within the correct narrative.
Today before we go further out so to speak, I want to talk about going further in.
What I mean is that along with the first battle, the one in our heart, we need to make sure that we fight for those right around us. We need to make sure we take care of the home front so to speak.
The reality is that you are your own first responder. This is true in general of course. For example if there is a medical emergency you are going to respond before the ambulance gets there. If someone breaks into your home you will need to respond long before the police arrive. Do you have a plan? This is true for every area of life.