Friday, March 5, 2021

Colleagues List, March 7th, 2021

Vol XVI. No. 30

Archive - Dec 2009 - Oct 2019                                                              http://colleagueslist.blogspot/.ca http://colleagueslistii.blogspot.com

GLOBAL AND ECUMENICAL IN SCOPE 
CANADIAN IN PERSPECTIVE 

Wayne A. Holst, Editor 
My E-Mail Address: waholst@telus.net 

This email is sent only to a voluntary subscriber list. 
 If you no longer wish to receive these weekly columns, 
 write to me personally at - waholst@telus.net 

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Dear Friends:

I continue to try to adjust to the "migration" of my Telus Net to Google web mail. This issue has a Special Item on the development of my thinking about fallen leaders and I include a helpful article - plus my commentary - appearing this month in Faith Today, the bi-monthly periodical of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Please enjoy the other items as well.

Wayne

PLEASE NOTE - If a link, below seems to be dead, cut and paste it into the address bar at the top of your web page and it should work.


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SPECIAL ITEM

MORE OF MY THINKING ON FALLEN LEADERS

I have a picture on my office wall of one of my lifelong heroes of the faith - Jean Vanier. He, along with Henri Nouwen, helped me through some difficult times during mid-life. My partner Marlene told me this week that - given what we have learned in the past year about Vanier -  I should remove that picture.

It is not easy for me to do that, even though I can understand why Marlene would say so.

This week, I happened upon an article in Faith Today, the periodical of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada that applies across the board.          I am adding this to my current reflections and comments on the issue of sexual abuse by trusted spiritual leaders, and I would like to share this with you.  

TEN LESSONS FROM FALLEN LEADERS

There are lessons to be learned from the stories of the fallen

1. Even the most highly esteemed and most apparently righteous among us are capable of the unthinkable.

If we are honest, we know this to be true. The human heart has a remarkable capacity for self-deception. We are inclined to deny the dangers we may be in.

2. It is possible for Christian leaders to build ministries God can use for (God's) good purposes even while living lives of secret sins.

We are all works in progress and in need of forgiveness. Sometimes we fail to see this and are inclined to believe we are somehow better than others because of the trust people invest in us as leaders.

In spite of our shortcomings, we can still be used by God, while living a life of hypocrisy and secret sin.

3. Every Christian's loyalty must first and foremost be to Jesus and the truth.

Unbridled loyalty and reputation management have too often been allowed to take precedence over truth and transparency.

4. It is possible to be too trusting.

Our trust in people must be tempered by realism. Uncritical adulation of leaders is a huge problem. Some traditions allow more of this than others but none are free of it. The way we trust leaders can actually set them up for failure.

5. Leaders ought not to carry the burden of leadership alone. Others can help leaders to be honest by challenging them supportively. The New Testament pattern is shared leadership, not solo heroes.

6. Accountability matters.

The false self always wants to escape accountability. We want to live life on our own terms. Church structures should be put into place that will encourage accountability. 

Isolation + pressure - accountability = danger.

7. Organizations should aim to build cultures of integrity rather than celebrity.

Some systems put their leaders into roles of unquestioned authority. (the Catholic pattern is known as clericalism but all groups have their own form of it.) When Jean Vanier fell, L'Arche had to "separate its mission from the myth of the man." Trust can easily be abused.

8. Set boundaries that honour Christ and protect people - from the top down.

Boards should not be stacked by the leader's fans. Boards should not just support the leader, but to set clear expectations and then hold the leader accountable to them. When questions about the leader arise, the board needs to bring in the proper expertise to assess the situation.

9. Take accusations seriously.

If someone brings allegations of abuse of power, don't be quick to deny this. Don't assume such allegations will hurt the cause of Christ. If there is a darkness being revealed, listen authentically to people's complaint and respect their dignity. Avoid institutional cowardess. If boards suffer from institutional trauma, this can be survived and worked through. Don't be caught in the trap of putting the institution ahead of people.

10. God is bigger than our human failures.

As people read some of Vanier's words about trust and the importance of relationship, they may want to throw his books away. But here is the difficult truth. It is possible to write beautiful, insightful things about power, vulnerability and love, and yet use that power to manipulate people. This is the frailty of our human condition.

But this does not invalidate everything that Jean Vanier ever did. God was still at work in his ministry. God is still bigger than the failings of these leaders. 

This does not excuse Vanier, but there is the grace of God that even through broken people good things have happened.

If we care about the long-term reputation of the church and of Christians themselves, we must go through a period of institutional and personal soul-searching. When we do this, the Spirit can convict and move us to change so none of the hard lessons learned need be in vain.

- from Faith Today (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada) March/April/21. 

This is a summary of the article, plus my interpretation at this point in time.

Wayne Holst                            

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NET NOTES

OLD ORDER MENNONITES
A History Lesson

Christian Week,
February 8th, 2021


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BLACK BAPTISTS IN ATLANTIC CANADA 
Move to Expand Their Impact  

Christianity Today. 
February 22nd, 2021  


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TEACHING THEOLOGY IN CHALLENGING TIMES
 Our Message Must Speak to Reality Today  

The Christian Century, 
February 19th, 2021  


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THOMAS MORE COLLEGE OPENS FAITH CENTRE 
A Timely Development at the U. of Saskatchewan  

Catholic Register, Toronto 
February 19th, 2021  


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RUSSIAN JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES JAILED 
First Arrests Under New Laws  

Religion News Service.
 February 25th, 2021  


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ASH WEDNESDAY REFLECTION  
WITH ANGLICAN BISHOP ANNA 
Still a Colleague
  
Anglican Church of Canada 
February 22nd, 2021  


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NEW ANN LAMOTT BOOK COMING 
"DUSK, LIGHT, DAWN" (Excerpt)  

Englewood Review of Books 
February 24th, 2021  


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TRUDEAU AND CANADA'S 'SORELY MISSED' U.S. LEADERSHIP 
Prime Minister and President Hold First Meeting  

Yahoo News 
February 23rd, 2021  


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CLOSING THOUGHT -

in a society that functions optimally, those who can 
should naturally want to provide for those who can't. 
That's how it's designed to work. 

I truly believe we're here to take care of one another.

- LeVar Burton

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(end)

ACTS programs beginning soon at St. David's United, Calgary:

ACTS MINISTRY STUDIES BEGIN IN LATE JANUARY!

This Winter, Our Groups Meet on Zoom

 

Monday Night Study 7:00PM to 8:30PM (90 minutes)

Ten Online classes run from January 25th to March 29th.

Our Book - "Braving the Wilderness" by Brene Brown

You buy it from Amazon.ca or Indigo

It will be your only cost for the series.

 

Thursday Morning Bible Study 10:00AM to 11:00AM (60 min.)

We meet January 28th to make our winter study Bible selection

Classes run until the end of March, 2021


We decide on our study agenda during our first class     

Invite new friends to join us via Zoom.

If you have questions, contact Wayne at waholst@telus.net


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2 comments:

  1. Thanks for your comments on 'fallen leaders'. Ravi Zacharias was another esteemed 'fallen leader who did a lot of good in his ministry. It's amazing that God uses any of us in His over-arching plan! And yet he does!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I might have mentioned a number of fallen leaders from a wide denominational spectrum, but tried to allow the material shared to speak to my experience and hopefully many others

    ReplyDelete

Colleagues List, April 18th, 2021

Vol XVI. No. 36 Archive - Dec 2009 - Oct 2019                                           http://colleagueslist.blogspot / .ca   http://collea...