The past week I have engaged in so many great discussions in person and on this blog as it pertains to being burned out in ministry. I have a fear of always blaming “the man” and some of you are afraid to dump the load on the individual, I get it.
These dialogues have actually helped me to become aware of the systemic booby traps, especially in the church…but I don’t want to stop at just being aware. In blending the two extremes, I need to figure out ways to take personal responsibility for systemic issues. If I’m being too vague, here are a list of systemic issues that surface in the church that I believe that I (Nathan Hall Stratman) can begin to address.
A. Workaholism or Super Man Syndrome– I know where to start on this one.
B. Corporate Values over Kingdom Values– efficiency, performance, production…
C. Fear of transparency – can church leaders be vulnerable and keep their job?
Here is my abrupt segue about the band The Civil Wars. First, download their new album. Joy Williams and John Paul White have written some strong stories and they tell them with powerful harmonies and stripped down arrangements. So what do they have to do with systemic sin? Joy has been a mainstay in the Christian music industry since she was a young girl and was pretty darn “successful”. I don’t know the story, I only chatted with her husband briefly, who worked in the same industry for seven years. It didn’t take long to figure out that their were some wounds from that season of their lives. My guess is that a calling for Joy became diluted by aspects of the system (not to dismiss individual responsibility, but I don’t know them.)
I say this because I’m afraid that we Christians might not allow her to heal, try something new or even question. In some respects there seems to be a greater weight than I ever imagined when it comes to being overtly public with your faith. I personally want to be bold for Christ. I also pray that as the dark days come, I may be washed over by His grace through the arms, hearts, comments and thoughts of His people. This really isn’t about Joy Williams or The Civil Wars. Joy represents students I know right now in my youth ministry, she represents friends in my life and in many ways she represents you and me.
Short summary about the system and individual sin, I am “the man” and you are “the man” in many ways. We are often a part of the system. We serve a Christ who changed, is changing and has even redefined the system. Unfortunately I seem to have to learn the same lesson over and over again. The blame game doesn’t lead to redemption and reconciliation, but I know who does.