A poll question recently popped up on my Facebook feed. It asked this question, “what is the difference between a leader and a boss?”. There were over 250 comments in response. I read through a number of them and found many good distinctions. However, there was one commenter who dropped his opinion and it made me rethink the question altogether. This analyst simply responded, “I’m not sure they are mutually exclusive”. That simple statement caused me to pause and reflect. How often do I juxtapose two truths that seem to stand against each other?

There are so many areas of life where I struggle to find the healthy tension of two realities. How do I confront someone out of care for them? How can I discipline my kids in love? What is the best way to speak truth graciously? All of these are difficult tensions to hold in place and I often strike the note wrong. Sometimes I err by speaking the truth without grace. Other times I’m overly gracious but lack truth. But I have seen people struggle with the juxtaposing realities of one subject more than ever over the past few years. That subject is the church.

“Over the last few years the #1 topic I see dividing and defining American Protestants is not abortion, LGBT, or Donald Trump; it’s the question of how we should think, feel, and talk about the church.”

Samuel D. James

There has been plenty to argue over and split the church over in the past 23 months, but I don’t think any of the headliners are the real issue. People’s cynicism toward the church has many nuances to it (deconstruction, deconversion, the rise of the nones, etc.), but I wonder if all of these really come down to recognizing what the church is. Samuel D. James writes an excellent article on two juxtaposing realities of the church and seeks to answer the question “How Should We View the Church?“. His answer and article do a great job of recognizing the tension yet seeking to hold them together.

Too often we try to place everything in nice, neat categories. However, life is more nuanced than that. Am I a leader or a boss? Or could I be both at the same time? Is the church “wicked and compromised or loved and purified”? Maybe it’s both!! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the article, but also this subject as a whole. And don’t forget to be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.

Until Next Time…

Photo by Alice Yamamura on Unsplash