Trump’s America & Leadership
As I sat in my favorite coffee shop I couldn’t help but hear the very “millenial” conversation behind me. I say that, not to be critical, but to bring understanding of what I was hearing and the tone with which I heard it. I’m a millenial technically and I love my generation. But we’re missing something.
They talked about President Trump. They criticized. They fantasized about impeachment. They got louder and louder. They were right on all fronts as far as they were concerned. I couldn’t help but listen in and sometimes agree, other times disagree, and the entire time see something deeper.
I sat in the waiting room of an ER. I was fine but a friend was hurting and I was there to show support. An older man in the waiting room began to talk to me about the problems with this country. He used some racial slurs. He was angry. He blamed the last president. He knew this one could get some things back on track.
As I listened, I agreed sometimes, disagreed others. But the entire time I couldn’t help but feel sad. There was something deeper going on inside him and around him. He couldn’t reconcile it with his experiences serving in the military and living in America much longer than me.
In both of these instances I think the deeper issue was one of leadership. Ultimately people are looking for leadership. We need it. We want it. We know things like countries and corporations, churches and schools, all run on leadership.
But with the majority of church leaders in America unashamedly supporting our current president, there’s a real question around what’s true leadership, and can/should it be moral?
A Leader Like Jesus
In my opinion, there’s a very real disconnect between what people think qualifies as true leadership and what we learn from Jesus. Jesus was a leader. His story is incredible. A young man from an insignificant town in an oppressed country raises up followers that eventually spread his message around the world 2,000 years later. That’s leadership.
His message was largely intrusive to the powers that existed, both religiously and empirically. He was calling people to live differently. He was calling them to love. He was shifting ideas about true power and authority. And he did all this while being described as; humble, meek, gentle. He even refers to himself and his mission like this…
“Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
This posture is incredibly different from most leaders we experience. To many, leadership is assertive, aggressive, powerful, and positional. It’s about doing what you say you’re going to do, even if those things are awful.
Trump is easy to criticize. He’s everything Jesus wasn’t.
I think the hardest thing to swallow is his support from those who claim Jesus as Lord.
I’m not saying there were “better” options for president. Ultimately our country is in a leadership shortage at the religious and governmental levels. We don’t know what leadership looks like. In our homes, our churches, our country, and our companies, leadership is missing in action.
That’s why I follow Jesus. I’m an imperfect leader. If I posture and position myself to be seen and recognized as the end-all, be-all, people will be let down. I follow Jesus and help others do the same.
A humble, gentle leader is life-giving. They are loving. People matter. And not just the people who follow them. All people.
I believe leadership is in short supply because pride and agenda are abundant. Leadership isn’t about the leader. It’s about the followers. It’s about empowering others not yourself.
Have you ever experienced a humble, gentle leader? How are you learning to lead humbly and gently? Join the discussion!