Monday, November 27, 2006

Winning at any Cost?

I have been travelling, speaking and ministering for the last month, and so have not had the oppertunity to blog. This has been a providential time for me with lots of time for prayer, study and reflection. I continue to be taken by the extra-ordinary levels of competitiveness amongst Christian leaders. We compare and compete with one another and in a mad rush for legitimacy construct elaborate systems/ideologies that ensure that the world and the church know/acknowledge that we are the best, the greatest and on top. We parade our strengths, list our accomplishments, argue how only "our group/ordinations" can be traced back to the early Church (and thus to Jesus) and conduct an endless advertisement campaign to prove that all others are wrong and we are right. I wonder how this is different to the current "war" between certain fanatic Islamic groups and the Western world. But is it really about "winning"? Where is the "signature" of Jesus in the church and larger world today? How can we mirror the love, mercy and salvation that Jesus offers, if our greastest value is triumphing over others?
The Franciscan singer, song-writer and leader, John Michael Talbot writes in his Thanksgiving Letter to his Community about the need for authentic Christian leadership: "If we truly began to grasp the meaning of what it is to be 'Christian,' or 'like Christ,' we would shake the world, and in a good way! A revolution of Love would spread across the planet like a healing fire, and across the oceans like a life-giving tsunami! For the authentic follower of Jesus, this is done by really giving witness to Jesus, not through religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, but through a radicalism (or rootedness) that is willing to truly live the way that Jesus lived. Jesus changed the world with only 12 apostles. Are there twelve who will respond, or 120, 12,000, or 12 million? What would happen if we would all dare to do this? We would change the world, and for the better."
The only one that never suffered from a messianic complex was the one that was/is the Messiah.
Brett Murray (2005): "Our religion must win". Goodman Gallery.