Monday, May 02, 2011

Overturning idols

I sat down with a couple of people recently and as I looked around the table, I thought wow, we are all broken people. Of course, we all understand this in theory, but the practice of understanding and welcoming the brokenness of others, especially people who we look to as leaders is an almost impossible task.

I grew up as the daughter of a preacher man and probably have seen more than my fair share of the underbelly of the church. And the "Church" is the one place where in truth we do hope that broken people will gather. And where real broken people come together, real brokenness in relationship follows and so on the other side we hope do real healing and reconciliation.

I am guilty. Guilty of forgetting that people who have led me, people who have walked with me are broken, imperfect and perfectly fallible. Being surrounded by brokenness, even creation groans and writhes in destructiveness, I am looking for something better, something less broken, more perfect. So guilty, I confess that I have put people who are leaders in the position of being that something better, that something less broken. In fact, they are not less broken, maybe they just have more responsibility and maybe sometimes they handle that badly.

I lead people, have led people and sometimes, I do a crappy job and have done it pretty badly with my brokenness spilling out in all my sloppy need and sin. I need grace, I desperately want to make right my offenses, I want to be forgiven. I want to lead people well but sometimes, I fail.

Yet, I struggle to forgive the debts of those who basically broken like me but hold positions of power, I simply can not get over that they are not more perfect than I am. I have made them demi-gods. Given them power in my life and expected that they would use it well and i fiercely hoped that they would not fail me. They did fail me. They have failed me. Many leaders from childhood till now have in fact hurt me, wounded me. Should i expect less or more? People who lead are broken, they are me, human, frail, fallible and destructive at times. Hopefully, they are also vulnerable and transparent, if in fact we will let them be...

The failings of leaders, parents, bosses, pastors and priests bring us to questions about God. Questions that come mainly because we presume these people of position to be better than us, to be more like God than us. Some leaders fail us because they present the possibility with their behavior and words that they are not fallible...they deceive us. But we know its not true and we eat their deceit because we want good leaders, we want people who have our best at heart, who love well. We in part do not want imperfect leaders, we want lower case g...gods who give us something to believe in outside ourselves. So when a leader fails, it is not only their brokenness that is revealed but ours. And because our lowercase gods are reflecting badly on capital G..God and our general opinion of the creator of the universe drops when people who call themselves godly fail, maybe we should let those who lead, be people too, maybe we should ask for and demand their vulnerability, maybe they should be given the freedom to ask for and demand our vulnerability. Maybe we could all be a bunch of parts connected in a body that all have different jobs, sometimes body parts will fail and the rest of us should maybe compensate till that part heals. Maybe capital G, God is enough god to go around.

The Violence of Love, Oscar Romero pg. 43

We must overturn so many idols,
the idol of self first of all,
so that we can be humble,
and only from our humility,
can learn to be redeemers
can learn to work together,
in the way the world really needs.
Liberation that raises a cry against others
is no true liberation
Liberation that means revolutions of hate and violence
and takes the lives of others
or abases the dignity of others
cannot be true liberty
True liberty does violence to self
and like, Christ
who disregarded that he was sovereign,
becomes a slave to serve others.

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