Monday, September 24, 2007

embracing vulnerability

I was asked to write an article for the 'ministry women' section of our church network's leadership newsletter. I thought I'd preview it here:

In scripture there are three specific ‘headship’ relationships. I Corinthians 11:13 tells us “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” In each of these cases, the head is in place to offer strength to the one in the more vulnerable role. In relation to God, Christ, when he walked the earth, and in order to fulfill his role as savior, took on the vulnerable position. In relation to Christ, man, still here on earth, while Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, is too in the place of vulnerability. In the same way, women, in relation to men, are more vulnerable. While one role may seem more valued – often by worldly standards the one of strength – in kingdom mindset, it takes both the strength and the vulnerability to bring about the fullness of God’s plan.

While on the surface it may appear that the person with strength is the ‘out in front’, or more necessary one, if we look at roles in the context of these three relationships, we see that one cannot accomplish the task alone. This should encourage us as women, to draw our strength from Christ’s model of vulnerability, as we embrace our position. Let me point out though, that this does not exclude or negate women as leaders. Quite the contrary. Also in each of the above relationships, the vulnerable one is called up to a place of shared authority and reign alongside the head. It actually calls women to do something that can, at times, be almost terrifying…allow ourselves to be fully vulnerable AS leaders. Usually leadership roles are the most costly; it cost Jesus his very life as he lived out his vulnerable role of servant leader on this earth. When we allow ourselves to be tender, transparent and completely vulnerable as leaders we chance exposing all our shortcomings and flaws and open ourselves and our families to public scrutiny. But it is through fully embracing our positional authority of complementing strength with vulnerability that the grace of God, and in fact his very nature, is displayed to the world.

1 comment:

Zoanna said...

I've heard something about "men may be the head, but woman is the neck!"

Seriously, although you and I differ on women in leadership, I fully agree with you on the main thrust of this article. Strength and vulnerability are essential companions. Without strength in leaders, followers feel vulnerable. Without vulnerability, leaders are perceived as arrogant or self-sufficient, both of which shouldn't be named among any Christian ever.