Saturday, 31 May 2014

Control and Grace

[This originally appeared as the Chair's piece in MODEM Matters issue 27 in May 2014]

A favourite part of my daily diet is Richard Rohr’s broadcast email. In the last few weeks he has got me thinking more and more about the tragedy of Christians, or the Church, abusing religion to control people. Rohr frequently argues that this is the opposite of the grace of God, and that releasing ourselves from such control (which he calls ‘discharging your loyal soldier’) is an essential part of spiritual growth.

I think this is an interesting question for Modem as a community because the myth that ‘leaders’ can and should control others in their organizations is still widespread in secular organizations, and is still tragically fashionable in Churches. We can see church authorities in all denominations doing huge damage to the energy and effectiveness for the gospel of churches by confusing control with leadership. As Margaret Wheatley puts it, ‘In this chaotic world we need leaders. But we don’t need bosses’. Leaders, in her view, maintain clarity about the purpose and direction of the organization. Bosses control.

Can we, as a community, make a contribution to this?
David Sims


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