A Message of Leadership

A VERY LARGE OAK was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a stream. It fell among some Reeds, which it thus addressed: “I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds.” They replied, “You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape.”

The Oak and the Reeds, an Aesop fable

I often think about the leadership of communities and their unwillingness to change or grow. This Aesop fable is a particularly good example of this message.

First I want to establish that being firmly rooted in belief is a great thing. Being strong in one’s walk with the LORD is equally reassuring. There is a strength required of leadership in whatever community one’s a part of. When difficult decisions arise, people often look to the leadership for answers, and sometimes those answers aren’t pleasing to everyone. But I would submit that a vulnerable side to leadership is equally beneficial to the community.

Leadership makes mistakes. They too make selfish decisions. They too sin and fall short. It’s when leadership doesn’t learn from their mistakes that the community suffers. A vulnerable side to leadership would be willing to accept correction when given to them. They’d be willing to be more transparent with the community and suffer on part of the people.

A truly strong leadership, especially in a religious community, is willing to bend. It is willing to place the commandments of God above their own traditions. This particular form of leadership would want to learn more – always. They’d be willing to admit weakness and flaws, and desire to grow and change when needed.

In my own religious community I’ve seen three times recently when the Spirit has attempted to convey this message to the leadership.

  1. The Spirit recently told the leadership that the people are asking questions, but they (the leadership) do not have the answers.
  2. The Spirit again told the leadership that they need to gather with the wise elders from their congregations.
  3. The Spirit told the leadership to fast and pray, because an outpouring of the Spirit was coming and they weren’t ready to know what to do.

I bring these forward as examples that leadership can’t always go it alone. The Spirit often times encourages learning and growing, and many times this may come from their own flocks. And as part of the flock, we need to pray for our leadership. We need to ask God to open their hearts to correction and humility. Strength is a great attribute of leadership, but it’s not the only attribute.

Ruling with love and benevolence is far superior than ruling with fear. Helping the congregation feel loved and live in peace will produce much more Godly fruit than scaring them from leaving the community or forcing particular traditions above the commandments of God. We are the body of Christ – let us work the way He worked.

Leadership should be strong and identifiable like the oak, but at times they must be willing to bend like the reeds.

The Red Heifer Sacrifice

We know that the offering of Yeshua as a sacrifice can be symbolically attributed to all the various Levitical offerings outlined in the Torah. In this, we recognize the work of Yeshua and value His purpose for being sent. This doesn’t mean that Yeshua did away with the sacrifices of old, but rather that He was symbolically a manifestation of them in a variety of ways.

Continue reading “The Red Heifer Sacrifice”

Contradictions to the Trinity Doctrine

The relationship between YHVH and Yeshua is a hot topic among many. I’m content to express that I don’t fully understand how it works. I accept what the New Testament authors state as important for any believer – Yeshua is the Son of God – simply that. (1 John 4:15)

Continue reading “Contradictions to the Trinity Doctrine”

True Religion – Part 2

Religion becomes sinful when it begins to advocate the segregation of God, to forget that the true sanctuary has no walls. Religion has always suffered from the tendency to become an end in itself, to seclude the holy, to become parochial, self-indulgent, self-seeking; as if the task were not to ennoble human nature but to enhance the power and beauty of its institutions or to enlarge the body of doctrines. Is has often done more to canonize prejudices than to wrestle for truth; to petrify the sacred than to sanctify the secular. Yet the task of religion is to be a challenge to the stabilization of values.

Abraham Heschel, God in Search of Man, p.414

True Religion

It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion — its message becomes meaningless.

Abraham Heschel, God in Search of Man

Continue reading “True Religion”

Language Influences Your Thought

Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Genesis 11:9 (KJV)

Language – According to Lera Boroditsky, a cognitive scientist, she states there are over 7,000 languages spoken worldwide. Why is this important? Language is a driving factor in how you think. Without speaking the same language as those who authored the Bible, we’re likely not going to think the same way they did. Lera explains this disconnect based on how different cultures use language. Continue reading “Language Influences Your Thought”

6 Factors for Interpreting Scripture

When interpreting Scripture, these are the 6 factors that I endeavor to keep in focus at all times. Unlike personal, private, spiritual enlightening which can only truly effect the person who experienced such an event, this method is obtainable by everyone. It is a guideline that can be shared by all which ultimately leads to the same result — an historically accurate, culturally dependent, true interpretation. Continue reading “6 Factors for Interpreting Scripture”

Gandhi’s Viewpoint

When asked what he as a Hindu admired most in Christianity, he responded, “Jesus.” When asked what disturbed him most in Christianity, Gandhi responded, “Christians.” He continued, “But negatively I can tell you that much of what passes as Christianity is a negation of the Sermon on the Mount.”

Louis Fischer, Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World, p. 131

That is a viewpoint of a non-Christian about Christianity. Interesting isn’t it? Gandhi’s observation suggests that Christians don’t live out the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Christians don’t act as followers of Christ. They don’t mimic Yeshua’s example in the world. Continue reading “Gandhi’s Viewpoint”