Peter Rollins talk about the leader who reject leadership. This is Christian leadership. The leader who always gives the decision back, never willing to be the leader.

We cannot get around celebrities, if with celebrities we mean those known by many. People are not connected in a random network (see explanation of random and scale-free networks in the beginning on this well-known article by Dwight Friesen), where everyone is connected to a similar amount of people. This becomes even less so when one a one-way connection is needed (such as with twitter, where you can follow someone without them following you, and different from facebook, where both need to confirm before they are friends).

Celebrities require such a one-way connection. And we will always have some people that are more well-known than others. But the world in which we live has created a culture where celebrity is being fed with meaning. Now the popularity of this person gives them authority. Authority to make truth-claims which then need to be followed simply because of the celebrity which said this (see how we quote celebrities sometimes). Authority to be above the system, to be untouchable (some of this came to the surface during the recent Polanski/Hollywood affair).

The Christian is part of a tradition in which texts such as these are important:

What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Paul the Apostle, 1 Corintians 1:12-13

Also texts such as these:

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good– except God alone.

Jesus in the Gospel according to Mark, 10:17-18

The Christian celebrity, meaning the one who is known by more people within the system of human relations, always rejects the celebrity status that come with the connection, the status which provides authority or privilege in any way on the basis of being a celebrity. It is impossible to be a celebrity, in my second definition of celebrity, and in line with the teachings of Jesus as they are reported in the gospels.


I’ve been pondering leadership somewhat in the past few weeks. I wonder what the task of leaders should be? Should they be visionaries? Organizers? Well, I guess we need all of those. But what I believe we lack is the leaders capable of creating spaces where people are empowered. OK, so many others have said this, thus I’ll keep it short.

I dream of leaders who are creative creators of empowering spaces. Places where those who are in the group are empowered to become more than they are. If Obama say “don’t believe only in my ability to bring about change, but also in yours”, then i hope this is what he can do! Maybe this is what Jesus did, when he took a couple of rag-tag Jews and three years later left them and they started the church, something must have happened in the space that was created around Jesus…

Others participating in this months synchroblog on leadership:

There is so much I would want to write about, my visit with Tom yesterday and my dissertation topic which finally seem be getting finalized (and which I’m very excited about) being on the immediate list. But I promised that I’d blog on this topic about a week ago, so I’ll keep my promise first.

Probably nearly no one has actually followed my conversation with Deborah, but if you’ve read what I’ve written in the last synchroblog, I can now gladly add that we might just actually be on our way to finding a peaceful conversation, which would be great. But first, my promise to blog on this was made to Deborah. At one stage, when the conversation was quite heated, she made the following remark:

I have a question – maybe two. If you are still searching for God, for the Lord, what are you doing in a leadership role in your church? Perhaps I was mistaken, but from your posts, it sounds like you work as a leader in a church. How can you lead others to Christ, if you don’t really know Him?

This was in response to the following comment I made:

Maybe because I hope that one more person can believe that I, and many others like me, are seriously searching for God, attempting to live in the way of Jesus…

I guess a few remarks would suffice for now:

It’s interesting how many people have the idea that spiritual leaders are those who have “made it” in the spiritual realm. Who have “found God” (isn’t it supposed to be the other way around, that God should find me?).

It’s even more interesting how the idea that we could actually stop searching for God is so popular, especially if I’m the one doing the searching (I guess if God is finding me, then I could say the process ends at some point). But OK, now I’m playing around with metaphysical junk, which is not really what I like to do, so let’s move on.

What will happen if a spiritual leader say that (s)he is searching for God? I guess some would like to re-enact crusifixion, and others would like to kiss the leader. Some want to hear that the leader has it all sorted out, others want to know that the leader goes through the same struggles they do (and there are some whoa re even OK if the leader go through more struggles than they do).

This said, I guess we would need to rethink the role of spiritual leaders. If they are not those with everything sorted out, what can make them the leader? Can there be leaders? I think one way might be saying that the spiritual leader is the theologian, helping people in their thoughts about God. The theologian can do this by pointing to more than personal experience, the long tradition of the church in all it’s colors can also come into play, even if the leader consider himself to be a searcher. But maybe this only focus on one dimension of spiritual leadership.

Or maybe it’s all about relationship. In relationship I can follow spiritual leaders even if they consider themselves as people “searching for God”, the less I know someone, I think the more I would want to know that they “have it made” spiritually, even if I don’t believe it if anyone say that they have “made it” spiritually.

Any thoughts? Would you be comfortable if those you consider to be your spiritual mentors tell you they are searching for God?