Five years ago, in my country, and that fact tells another story, a teenager was shot and killed during an act of road rage. This week, the accused man was set free, as the only other person in the car in which the young man died, claimed he ‘ saw nothing’. And the entire country is up in arms about this miscarriage of justice in the #x6murdertrial.
Further north, the Donald Trump phenomenon provoked a question from one of my patients yesterday, and which mystery is baffling many; ‘ How did he get so far ( in the race for the Presidency)’. How did a man who is so bigoted, bombastic and a sexual predator come so close to even being considered worthy of being elected leader of the free world!
Then yesterday we heard of two other murders. Both by being stabbed to death. One a schoolboy on a bus going home, reportedly on account of his refusing to hand over a cell phone. The other, young doctor, found in a pool of blood at his home.
So what reaction ought Christians have in the face of this continued madness across the world?
In a book written by a famous theologian and avowed Anglican Evangelical, the late Rev. John Stott, Decisive Facing Christians Today: your influence is vital in today’s troubled world, Stott calls for Christian leadership. And not just hand wringing and a promise to pray! A commitment which may be sincere but which if not attended by action may justify us being accused of insensitivity , by the writer of a poem quoted by Stott.
Poem by a homeless woman whose Pastor promised to pray for her. A lesson for all of us who claim Christ
I was hungry, and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger.
I was imprisoned, and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release.
I was naked, and in your mind your debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick, and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of Christ.
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so, holy, so close to God,but I am still very hungry – and lonely – and cold.
Stott closes this fascinating book from which I quoted liberally in the section on Mission in my Lecture, by detailing his understanding of Leadership in general, and Christian Leadership in particular.
FIVE MAIN INGREDIENTS
1. CLEAR VISION
2. HARD WORK
5. IRON DISCIPLINE
Them he calls for the Church to repent of two ‘particular horrid sins’.
1. Pessimism …which is dishonoring to God and incompatible with the Christian faith…… While we are aware of the fallenless and depravity of human beings….we are not so foolish to believe that society will become perfect before Christ comes, and aware of the pervasiveness of evil…..Nonetheless we also believe in the power of God- in the power of God’s gospel to change individuals and in the power of God’s people ( working like salt and light) to change society…..need to renounce both naive optimism and cynical pessimism and replace them with the sober but confident realism of the Bible.
2. Mediocrity…and the acceptance of it….don’t settle for anything less than your God given potential! Be ambitious and adventurous for God……God made you a unique person and gifted you….God has a leadership role of some degree and kind for all of us….need to seek his will with all our hearts…cry out your Him to give us a vision of what He is calling us to do…..
And it cannot be by coincidence that during the preparation for the Lecture I was led to read this famous Isaiah passage.
” Enlarge the place of your tent
stretch your tent curtain wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.” Isaiah 54: 2-3.
And that a line from the OT reading for my Church this :
Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision; Make it plain upon tablets, so that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.
Hb 2:2-3 NABRE