Pecking Order

In virtually every instance of interpersonal relationships there are struggles to gain and to use power. The outcome of these struggles determines – Who is in charge? Who has the power? Who is going to come out on top?

Interestingly, it is not always the biggest chicken that is highest in the pecking order. It is the one who is the most aggressive and who is willing to fight for the position as top cluck.

We spend the bulk of our lives learning this way of judging things, viewing the world empirically, comparing one thing to another. When it comes to ourselves, we apply the same manner of analysis and comparison to see how we fit in.

How can we not be competing with those around us if we are caught up in trying to establish our place on the social ladder?

The kingdom of God is a social order that is based on love and mutual submission. Jesus calls us to see things differently than the rest of the world. He calls us to buck the trend of the push and shove world.

The things that determine greatness in God’s view are not prestige or power or aggression or ambition or success, but biblical values like having no reputation, weakness, meekness, humility, and service.

The questions in blog conversations about leadership and authority result from the church over the centuries adopting concepts and structures of hierarchical leadership and of domination, the very thing that Jesus so soundly rejected.

In our individual communities and lives, we actually have the opportunity to serve. It is in this realm that we live out the kind of leader or servant that we are.

Many people blogging about church seem to have mixed feelings about leadership. Most don’t openly aspire to leadership, at least not “the strong, dominant leader” model. In fact, a person who identifies himself or herself as a leader too openly is sometimes viewed with suspicion.

As issues of inclusion arise, they will shape what kind of conversation this is. I am hopeful that as far as the church blog conversation is concerned, it will be a conversation among friends and equals.


5 thoughts on “Pecking Order

  1. If a church emerges in the post-modern wilderness, and nobody’s there to take charge of it, will they still take up an offering?

  2. Great topic Grace. you’ve nailed it again. I wonder if Jesus’ leadership “style” would even get on the radar nowadays. I wonder if this is why he told several people NOT to report their healing – was it an effort to avoid the whole Jesus Christ Superstar syndrome?

    It is my dream to see our leaders transformed into women and men who lead together in a spirit of humility and transparency, being known openly as weak and broken people. I know a few people like this.

    Grace, you are one of them.

  3. That was funny Ishmael.

    Interesting post Grace. I think house churches are doing away with certain leadership roles, and pecking order. But I think it is important for us, personally, to find a mentor, a rabbi (teacher) if you will, to keep us grounded and not give in to those philosophies of men that just tickle our ears. It’s going to be interesting in the next few years to see what axctually becomes of the emerging church.


  4. Bruce,
    I believe that in the church we will learn to separate issues of leadership and power.
    I agree with you that leadership will be an ongoing role in the church, but I think that it is necessary to redefine leadership as a function of service rather than position.

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