no guarantee, but

Now it looks like the church is going to get into an extended discussion about leadership, what kind, what we want an elder to be and do, etc. This wasn't because of anything I said; I didn't say a word at the last meeting. It seems other people want to take this temporary opening in leadership to discuss and redefine what it means for us. Interesting. I think I like it.

In the discussion so far, a couple reasons have been offered for choosing someone for an office of leadership. If there is no clear leader, certain people will likely move into leadership or begin playing politics among the group to gain power. And these might not be the people best people to be leading (for example, they might take charge by being pushiest, or neediest, or loudest, or wanting control the most). Then there's "the buck stops here." If someone is in an office of leadership, they feel responsible to handle problems that arise in the community rather than just hope someone else will do something. If no one has been selected to do this, then everyone tends to avoid the most difficult problems and they don't get solved.

Those are pretty good reasons, obviously coming out of extended experience with people and groups. And I can't be sure that if we change the church leadership that those behaviors won't appear here. But I do know that Jesus taught us to act differently from those behaviors, taught us not to seek power and control, taught us to respond to needs and problems as we see them, even if it's not "our job." The part about reconciliation in Matthew 18 is about that, and the parable of the good Samaritan.

So we don't have a guarantee that people in the church won't act like most people do when there is no chosen, empowered leader set over them. But if we are following Jesus, we have guidance and motivation to act differently. And if we do act like Jesus in these ways, we can also act like Jesus taught us and be brothers and sisters to each other and let God be our one Father.

I recognize that we often don't act like Jesus, don't do as he taught us. But when we design our church structures around the assumption of failure, then we are publicly admitting that Christians can't be expected to be better. We are saying we don't believe we can be the body of Christ. We are institutionalizing our un-Christlikeness. Is that really what we want to do?