This is a kind of continuation of yesterdays post, maybe with a little less philosophy and a little more practical application – we’ll see.
An issue that has become apparent from Marc’s comment is the perception ‘outside=good, inside=bad’ in that we often put a ‘nice’ face on who we really are in the hope of being accepted. For those of us that have married, there was probably a point when our relationship was developing when we thought “they like me now because they can’t see what I’m really like inside”. All our faults are laid bare to our own probing scrutiny, and we automatically assume that other people will instantly become aware of them, if they get too close. Unfortunately there are some that never thought like that, and those people are usually unbearable!
But back to the records.
This is slightly difficult to know where to start: I’m not perfect. Now I know many will be surprised to read that, but I have many areas of weakness and things that I constantly struggle with. As someone who feels on the cusp of Christian leadership, it’s interesting to be with the great and good, see what people write about in their blogs etc. So Jamie Arpin-Ricci can confess having ‘issues’ with homosexuality: but that’s OK, he’s married and world famous in a movement that practically throws it’s arms open to the extremes of Christian belief. Fernando – world traveller and ex Baptist minister (see blog-roll) - can watch all manner of films without an issue as he’s able to treat it like art, ready for analysis and dissection.
What about ‘ordinary’ Christian leaders? I spent Saturday in London with Randall and lauralea. Randall’s a perfectly normal guy who can apparently walk past all manner of things that pull at me (sex and related materials are VERY prominent in London) without apparently batting an eyelid. In fact virtually ALL the Christian leaders I know present a squeaky-clean Teflon coated exterior, as if they have absolutely zero interest in anything unwholesome, prurient or even a little bit sordid. All the while I have to contend with an instinct for off-colour humour and a set of loins with a mind of their own.
The struggle for me isn’t that I appear to be the only guy with desires that need constant reigning in. The problem is that I have a perception of the Christian leader as someone who has overcome all these things, when I know I haven’t. What I’ve shaken down to is a dichotomy position, where I know many Christian leaders DO have weaknesses, issues etc, yet press through regardless, occasionally failing – in a small way if they’re lucky and with major shipwreck if they aren’t. At the same time, I expect someone capable of discipling others to HAVE overcome their personal weaknesses, whether by technique or habit, and be beyond succumbing to the draws of their flesh and weak character.
It’s important for me – this is no exercise in my head – because I know I have a calling. I have to know that I CAN walk through, regardless of the things that catch and pull, since I know I’m never going to be Teflon-covered personally, and I have to know that this is sufficient. I think it IS, but it’s scary because the consequences of shipwreck are much greater when others look to you for guidance and input. Actually maybe I HAVE overcome many of these issues, but they don't STAY overcome, and that's a whole story in itself.
Hmmm. Responsibility. What I always (never) wanted.