Postures are demonstrated in how we show up. They give shape to the nature of the actions that we take. If practices are what we do, postures are the spirit in which we do what we do. The postures we take as leaders arise out of the stories we live in. If we don’t know the story we live in, then we are not aware of the competing stories that shape us.
There are a lot of stories competing for our attention right now: pandemic stories, race stories, vision and values stories, management, lamentation, economic, self-actualizing power stories and so on. Most of us have only a vague sense of how these stories function in our lives. The challenge is discerning specifically Christian postures and, therefore, practices.
A dominant story informing life in the West is that of technique or technocratic rationality. The historian, Arnold Toynbee, said that the challenge of the West was that its religious foundations had been abandoned for a pervasive cult of technology that promised human control of material progress. We see the presence of this story among church leaders in their search for techniques and strategies, their study of trends, and “how to” lists. This technocratic story creates a fundamental posture of management and control. This is a crucial moment where the challenges leaders face can go in one of two directions: a doubling down on our familiar default stories (technique and strategy) or a choice to crack open that paradigm and ask what story the church needs right now.
Writing to the house churches, Paul used a shorthand for the story in which we live. He distinguished our story from competing stories which ran the gamut from Empire to spiritually esoteric practices. Paul’s term is in Christ. It expresses the fact that we live in God’s world and the Son has let loose a new time that calls us to participate in God’s kingdom. Paul’s letters are about the postures that characterize citizens of this other kingdom. Walls of division are gone; there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female as we are in Christ. Our posture is not one of valuing power. That world is gone in Christ. This posture of being in Christ is practiced in local communities as the Spirit of Jesus animates a common life for the sake of the world.
What postures do you think leaders in Christ need to embrace in these uncertain times?