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Living in the Tension

In the Scriptures we find many concepts, ideas, and truths that are in tension with one another.  We find the very same thing in our lives, and thus we find ourselves living in the tension.  We find ourselves living in the tension of a fallen world and our own sinful humanity in rebellion to God, all the while the Spirit of God living inside us longs for heaven and cries out to God on our behalf (c.f. Rom 8) as we strain toward what is ahead (c.f. Phl 3).

This also happens in acute ways in Christian leadership.  In Christian leadership there is a dynamic tension that seems to have an opposing polarity to it.  In a high performance culture (both secular culture and religious) the temptation to compromise basic Christian values such as love, community, truth-telling, confession and reconciliation, silent listening and waiting on God for discernment - for the sake of expedience, is extremely great.

"There's tension between being and doing, community and cause, truth-telling and putting the right spin on things. There is a tension between the time it takes to love people and the need for expediency. There is tension between the need for measurable goals and the difficulty of measuring that which is ultimately in measurable by anyone but God himself. Holding to deep spiritual values in the face of the pressure to perform - however performance is measured - is one of the greatest challenges of Christian's living in tension."

There is the tension between the need for organizational hierarchy with all the power dynamics this creates and the mutuality and interdependence of life and community to which we as Christians are called. There is the tension between knowing how to "work the system" and entering into trustworthy relationships characterized by trust and a commitment to one another's well-being. There is the tension between the need for an easy discipleship process through which we can efficiently heard lots of people and the patient, plotting and ultimately mysterious nature of the spiritual transformation process. And then there is the challenge of knowing how to speak of these things in fruitful ways in the very inside places of power without becoming polarized in our relationships with one another." (Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership)

"The central question is, are the leaders of the future truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwelling gods presence, to listen to God's voice, to look at God's beauty, to touch God's incarnate Word and to taste fully God's infinite goodness?" - Henri Nouwen - In The Name of Jesus


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