Bill Easum wrote a great piece of reading for all who are leaders in the Christian Community. It is entitled Sacred Cows Make Gourmet Burgers. I am sad to say not all church leaders have read the book, even sadder to say that those who are ordained have not much read it. The basic approach to ministry is rooted in permission giving. He exposits well the virtues of allowing the body of Christ to flourish. He admonishes the church for its insistence on control. The cared cow for the church is control and controllers. Easum encourages all who lead to put insecurity and self agenda aside for the sake of the love of Jesus and his Gospel of social freedom. I read the book for the first time about 7 years ago and am reading it again now. It really is a good book. I am drawn to it again today.
In Sacred Cows Easum writes “Trust and love are at the heart of permission-giving churches. Love lets go and permits the other to stretch his or her wings. Trust operates on mutual respect.” It is sad that we operate in such a way as leaders in the church that we would hinder the other to stretch his or her wings. It is a shame that we often cannot foster mutual respect. One thing is for certain, God is not a control freak. We all ought to remember that when we deal with others and their gifts. I am sad to say that those of us who are ordained are in many ways insecure and unable to show mutual respect to each other. This is a problem as people model what they see in us as leaders, not what they hear us say. All too often I see us clergy afraid to allow another to spread his or her wings for fear and insecurity that they may fly a little higher or further than we might. Sadly, we forget the reason we set out to fly in the first place and the mission of the church suffers as well as those we serve in it.
Fortunately there are good examples of better approaches to ministry. Thankfully there are people of God bring about the holy city in communities of mutual respect that respect the dignity of every human being (to quote the baptismal liturgy). I believe that I am fortunate to belong to such a community. I am pleased that we have, in many ways, made great strides at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake in making the finest tasting burgers from the toughest of sacred cows. My prayer is that the rest of the church might take heed and fire up their own grills in anticipation of a big BBQ. There are a lot of Sacred Cows to be sacrificed. Hope we have a good appetite for change….ooops did I say the C word? Oh well – hopefully not to many controllers are reading!
Pick up Sacred Cows Make Gourmet Burgers and give it a read. It will give great insight into the church and change!