Attending King Solomon

King Solomon Lives1          I remember reading one job description from a prominent church in North America that was searching for their next Senior High Youth Pastor.  Along with several lofty expectations, one anticipated outcome for the successful candidate involved “unleashing the power of the new $1.2 million youth facility.”  Seriously?  "Unleashing the power" of a building?   Is it just me, or does this have a hint of misplaced ego?

        Perhaps we actually expect to discover and hire King Solomon.   In order to complement the monuments we build we set off on a nationwide tour complete with judges and try-outs.  We feel compelled to do this, for we seem to have a psychological need to match the glamor of our temples with the pizazz of a flashy leader.  It is briefly therapeutic to affirm our delusion with grandeur.  But be careful… for attending King Solomon are erosive desires for the collection of affairs, wealth, distractions, regional prestige and kingdom-protection.

        Christians across the continent have been caught up in the temptation of this pervasive “superman” leadership theory.  Emulating corporate culture, many local churches headhunt for the unassailable leader.  Many spiritual leaders are viewed within their congregations as having an esteem of infallibility.  Like the economy of rising pop-stars and celebrities, the alluring influence of many pastoral leaders is marketed into quantitative ecclesiastic success.  The cult of leadership that is practiced and, perhaps, even worshipped in North America is so embedded in the Church’s perception of spiritual leadership that ministry leaders find themselves struggling to be real people.  

        In many Christian circles it is assumed that a truly spiritual leader will not wrestle with the struggles of life and faith and sin and weakness and pain.  Brokenness is not a characteristic of leadership that is placed on the profile of a church job description.  As a result, all too often, Christian leaders across the continent have succumbed to the temptation of performance-based leadership rather than embracing or promoting the raw reality of sin and fragility that so mockingly and honestly plague every human being.  Henri Nouwen proposes that Christians do not see, nor want to see the “participation in the pain, the solidarity in suffering, the sharing in the experience of brokenness.”[1]

[1] Nouwen, Henri.  Out of Solitude: Three Meditations On the Christian Life (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2004), 35.

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