Monday, 17 January 2011
A French Trappist André Louf wrote a book entitled Tuning in to Grace ISBN-10: 0879079290 ISBN-13: 978-0879079291. In the chapter on the spiritual gifts he looks at love. My spiritual director directed me to what he said about love in relation to vulnerability. Louf talks about how we move to doing things for others too early, we bypass friendship to avoid vulnerability. This is something as a Christian leader that has challenged me, both in terms of how I engage with God, and friendship with him, as well as how I engage with his people: the church.
"If I start too early ... to do things ... I am skipping the important stage of friendship.
THAT STAGE IS PERHAPS ESSENTIAL" (emphasis mine) ... "It is possible that,
unconsciousily, I am very eager to leave this out, because it is really much easier
to do something for others than TO LET THE OTHER APPROACH ME AS
SOMEONE I NEED" (emphasis mine)
In my life I am really reflecting on this. I feel, not only is it important to me and my ministry, but that it is important for my walk with God. My relationship with Him must be centred on being vulnerable to Him and acknowledging that I need Him. It is not about what I can do for Him (How absurd that looks as I write it!). Likewise as a Christian in leadership my relationship with others is not to be from a position of strength, nor from a pedestal of invulnerability. My relationship with them may be in the context of leadership but also vulnerability. Our relationships in the church should remind us that we are to build real and lasting friendships. We are to be vulnerable, and we are to allow others to minister to us in our vulnerability.
I'll finish with as exerpt from Louf quoting The Blessed Guerric D'Igny (A 12th Centuary Abbot)
Proprium est amicitae
humiliari pro amicis
It is the property of friendship
to make itself small before its friends