Not Being Pessimistic
Bob Dylan's song Everything Is Broken needs to be applied to leadership.
Sin broke everything.
Where (the sources) to which we turn for our power and authority - BROKEN sources.
How we use power and authority is BROKEN (we call is misuse or abuse).
Why we use power and authority - that is BROKEN also.
What happens when we misuse and abuse poewr and authority - that leads to more BROKENNESS.
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Lord Acton
(T)he most improper job of any manis bossing other men. Not one in a mission is fit for it, and least of all, those who seek the opportunity. Tolkien
The theme of the all powerful ring and its tempting power runs throughout Tolkien's magnificent trilogy. This power is so corrupting that even those powerful leaders who are good (Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond) must refuse the ring. It will corrupt them. The only people who can be trusted with the ring are the most lowly, humble peoples of Middle Earth - the Hobbits. But even they, in the end are corrupted. Frodo loses the battle and the ring corrupts him in Mt. Doom.
The church is no stranger to the temptation and the corruption of power and authority.
One of the most powerful (although it is very slow moving) scenes that shows what power and authority have done to the church is a scene in Brother Sun, Sister Moon . This is the story of St. Francis and Clare.
The scene is when Francis goes before the Pope and the entire Vatican hierarchy, to ask permission to start a new order - the Franciscans. He and his few companions come in to the magnificent, wealthy, powerful, gaudy, ostentacious, imposing presence of the church leadership. The contrast is utter and profound.
He begins to plea to the pope using the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. I won't tell you how the story unfolds, but there is a scene of about 15 minutes that is one of the most powerful depictions of the church's corruption and fall.... of what sin has done to power and authority.
If you want a modern example (and secular) of broken leadership, watch - The Devil Wears Prada, where Meryl Streep plays an abuse leader in the fashion industry. She is ugly, evil and broken in her use of power and authority.
The Bible is not even slightly interested in covering up the sins and failures of the leaders. They all fail. The Book of Genesis is a story of one failure after the next. Of the abuse of power.
No longer is power and authority for the purpose of building, creating, growing, empowering...
No longer is power flavored with love, gift and service...
No longer is power for the sake of the well-being of the other, for their peace, their justice, their well-being, for them to be blessed by the leader...
Now power has become self-serving. It is destructive in endless forms. Those who have power and authority use both for their own benefit and others suffer because of the abuse and misuse of power and authority.
Everything is broken.
80% of the Kings of Israel - "did evil in the sight of the Lord." Think about it. God's chosen people who were to be the light to the world, the example of peace and justice for the sake of the nations - their highest leaders failed and failed and failed.
In particular - Money, Sex, Power and Pride are the constant sins of leadership everywhere and at all times.
Sin, evil, wrongness, brokenness - is found everywhere. Political leadershp, economic leadership, educational leadership, religious leadership (in EVERY religion), in the home and family...
Everything is broken!
In our course, we spent a day wrestling through key biblical passages that describe the brokenness of leadership. Even King David and Solomon were broken. Ezekiel talks about the evil shepherds. Jesus denounces the ugly pharisees. Peter warns against the false teachers who lead peope astray.
What's gone wrong with leadership?
Everything is broken!
What can be done?
God has a redmemptive plan for everything that is wrong and all that is broken. And God will start with the redeeming of leadership. He will start with the redeeming, forgiving, renewing of our own hearts... so we may become leaders with a heart like HIS.
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International