Monday, May 21, 2007

Speaking Truth or Loyalty?

Tonight's NBC evening news had two interesting pieces back to back. The first was about Life Church Oklahoma (a Covenant church) and their entry into a virtual world with their church. They have a sanctuary with seats (virtual) and music and they paste in Craig Groeschel's (sp?) sermons for those who prefer to attend virtual church. I think Life Church deserves applause for creativity and boldness to go where people are. I think they will evaluate the up and down sides of a virtual ecclesiology, but that is just another extention beyond the pulti-site churches that link in to a video lead at sermon-time. But there was national TV discussing if faith can be virtual? How's that for cool?
Then the other piece was about former President Jimy Carter (about whom I blogged below) who recently broke the protocol rule of ex-presidents and critiqued (no, slammed really) the policies and performance of the current administration and president. The White House fired back denunciations, basically calling him a rambling, irrelevant old fool. Really? If you listen to the may 1 Speaking of Faith podcast, you will hear a theologically sound and biblically conservative approach to foreign policy. The issue, I think, is our society's inability to speak truth to power.
Who has the ability to tell a president he or she is wrong in either the political or corporate sector? Where is a vigorous discussion of issues and ideas? Over the last several presidencies, news conferences are carefully orchestrated and access to presidents with tough questions do not happen except under subpoena. What leaders seem to value highest above everything is demonstrated loyalty, not truth or competency.
That very thing has to happen in the church, starting with the local church, clusters of churches, conferences and denominational level. Where are the occasions I can allow the dissident voice to break through my circle of loyalty and ask the tough question? Maybe that's one of the reasons I have such low regard for boards and committees because they do not really intend to grapple with the issues, but validate the predetermined direction.
Who and where are the "Jimmy Carters" in the Covenant who can speak truth to power?


At 6:21 AM , Blogger kent said...

That is a good question, who can speak truth to the leadership? The other question comes then how is that truth delivered? Did Jimmy Carter go to president Bush and air his complaints in person? Did he have access? You would think that one president would talk to another one, it is very small club.

Can a former pastor come to me and speak truth me? Can he say something to the congregation without talking to me first? There are times my message gets lost in my method.

I hope if I am wrong someone would come and let me know. I pray I listen to critics. I also pray I will know when they are right and when they are wrong.

At 2:02 PM , Anonymous Kate said...

Interesting blog, Don. When I read your question: "Who has the ability to tell a president he or she is wrong in either the political or corporate sector?" I thought to myself "Rather, who will the president listen to when they disagree with him?" I think the President has heard a lot of criticism and been asked a lot of tough questions - however, I often feel like he uses the lines he's been given and rarely listens to the questions or to his critics.

At 3:55 PM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

That lifechurch's site is sweet: http://www.lifechurch.tv/

they have some great RSS feeds, podcasts and a slick flash based player for video.

At 4:01 PM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

sorry.. ill stop after this.. but check out their "lifechurch.tv open". free resources for other churches (http://www.lifechurch.tv/p/82/Default.aspx)

they have different topics and seminars and if you click into "view available resources" you get just a plethora of free content (posters, videos, pdfs, fliers, etc).

I give mad props to them for not only have a very accessible site but then making it easy to use their content elsewhere - that you don't see too often.


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