In the Name of Jesus : Reflections on Christian Leadership
By Henri J. Nouwen
What is it about submitting to a structured pursuit of personal spiritual disciplines as an integral part of a corporate experience (i.e. CTI) that turns so many of us off?
Is it the fact that we’re told by other people that this is what we should be doing? That we’re often led down the path of spiritual discipline by our peers – people that we don’t see as any more qualified to guide us spiritually than we are to guide ourselves?
Henri Nouwen was like 52 when his book In the Name of Jesus was published in 1989 (long before any of us knew what it meant to be postmodern,) yet in it, he makes a statement about the seeking of relevance in ministry that ought to be startlingly convicting to the emergent generation that we’re a part of:
Sometimes I am able to see my personal hangup on authenticity and relevance for the stumbling block that it is. If some motion or degree of action doesn’t 100% represent how I feel, what I believe, or what I’m about… I won’t go forward with it. I thereby effectively declare that no motion at all is better than motion that contains any degree of misrepresentation.
And so, though I won’t be wrongly associated with something I don’t fully buy into, I don’t produce anything good either. Not in the outside world… not in my inner world.
Nouwen goes on to make this assertion:
The leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation that allows them to enter into a deep solidarity with the anguish underlying all the glitter of success, and to bring the light of Jesus there.