(Post by: Madie Hobbs)
While having a conversation with a family friend on Tuesday of this week, I have been prompted to partake in a great deal of thought and examination of myself and the world around me. I sat with my family and this friend, and we reveled in the good old days, some of the not so good old days, and ruminated about several mysteries of life. Something we continually went back to discussing was the deep sincerity we have all had the privilege of witnessing in some of the old saints in our lives. The conversation then turned to our increasing disappointment that more of those kinds of leaders are no longer present in many churches across America. There was one specific question I continued to ask myself as we went about the conversation.
Why is everyone being made woke by many of the pastors in our pulpits instead of being actually awakened?
This is the main issue which wandered most deeply into my contemplations.
I have spent most of my life wondering where all the good leaders are. The sorts of leaders you read books and watch movies about, who rouse a complacent group of people into powerful action, who prompt brainwashed people to throw off the chains of their oppressors, who change entire generations of people. Where are the Aragorn’s, the Gandalf’s, the Atticus Finch’s, the Hank Busche’s, and the Marshall Hogan’s of the world? Can they really only be found in fiction?
Alas, no, for I have had the privilege of knowing such people in the past, though they have been few. But are they now going extinct? Why can I now name even fewer in my own life?
This led me to an entirely new string of thought.
You see, I believe I have diagnosed the missing part in the people of today which keeps them from rousing themselves to a brilliant fight, a heroic resistance, and a martyr’s faith.
What if we are not being actually swayed by the things we preach? What if, as many have only imagined in the past, we are genuinely using our Savior to afford us an occupation and nothing more?
Once again, I have turned to one of the men who I have often felt jumped right out of fiction to help a dark and struggling world against one of the most monstrous tyrants of history. A quote from Winston Churchill, who has been said to be one of the greatest orators of the modern age, often resounds in my mind when I think of the shallow, unfulfilling motions we in the Church seem to keep going through.
He said if someone wishes to stir people up and evoke not only their emotion but a genuine response, he must do only a few simple things.
“…for the nature of the artist is the spirit of his art, and much that appears to be the result of study is due to instinct. If we examine this strange being by the light of history we shall discover that he is in character sympathetic, sentimental, and earnest: that he is often as easily swayed by others as they are by him. Indeed the orator is the embodiment of the passions of the multitude. Before he can inspire them with any emotion he must be swayed by it himself. When he would rouse their indignation his heart is filled with anger. Before he can move their tears his own must flow. To convince them he must himself believe.” (Winston Churchill)
Why have we subscribed to the notion that faith requires no passion, no zeal, no indignation? Why have we convinced ourselves that a faith built on the suffering, tears, and blood of a perfect man would not demand some of those very same sacrifices from us?
Our relationship with Christ which enables us to be leaders should be built on feelings deeper than any we have felt before, and yet we are content to sit back in our churches, our Bible study groups, our hang outs with friends, and feel nothing.
Why do we pretend we can win people to a Gospel which can change their lives when we have not first been completely swayed by this idea?
Perhaps you are like me. Perhaps you have felt as if great battles and great leaders can only be born in fiction. But I encourage you to come to the realization, as I have, that our God is not a fictional God, and our faith is not a delusion.
To win the people around us we must first be won to our cause. Our Savior is not someone who demands only a little reliance, a little sacrifice, and a little passion. He demands the entirety of our devotion and our reliance. Only when we grant Him those things in our lives can we truly be who we are called to be.
We are the people called to be radical leaders. We are called to live a faith so radical others cannot help but be moved by our passion.
Because great leaders are not only found in fiction. Each of us are called to be the leaders who lead a brilliant fight, a heroic resistance, and live a martyr’s faith.
SO, WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
= Where could you be a powerful leader in your little corner of the world?
= What attributes do you believe a strong leader possesses?
= What are you going to do differently?
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