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Too Much?

By Dan Baumgartner on
Dan Baumgartner
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Dec 01 in Musings
I’ve been a leader at some level most of my life- athletics, school, business, ministry.
I’ve sometimes learned by failure, and disappointed myself and others. Leadership is tough. I’ve read books and attended classes on the topic. I study it. Everything I know tells me that we are facing a serious leadership crisis in our culture right now. 
Are we asking for too much? I’m looking for some leaders with integrity. Everywhere I turn, leadership seems to be crumbling-  in the church, in politics, academia, the sports world, business and entertainment. The daily news looks more like a scandal sheet than anything else. Leaders who can live and work with integrity are either in short supply or non-existent.

Are we asking for too much? Church leaders fall right and left to scandals and affairs. Pastors are brazenly enmeshed with politicians who want their support and voting blocs. High profile clergy make statements that are racist, violent, elitist, self-serving or just ignorant.

Are we asking for too much? Politics has always been a divisive and inflammatory occupation. But where is a political leader who regularly speaks truth, whose public and private lives match up? I long for someone to demonstrate a little healthy restraint. To speak with humility. To think before blurting things publicly. Where are leaders willing to stand against a party line to lift up the common good? Who will risk losing the next election to ensure that fair and just laws are passed? The definition of a leader as “public servant” is almost laughable.

Are we asking for too much? The entertainment industry is in chaos as it exposes a leadership pattern of sexual harassment and immorality. The sports world is full of shady deals and monetary power plays. Academic institutions struggle to hold leaders to any moral standard, and ignore misbehavior in the name of results. The business world follows suit. Of course, every person is a fallible human being, we all agree on that. But the rapid disappearance of leadership with integrity is frightening. 

Am I the first one to think about these things? No. Whether it is more pronounced currently is perhaps debatable, but poor leadership has always been around. Read Ezekiel 34. When good leaders cannot be found, the world seems especially dark. It was that way 50 years ago, 300 years ago, 1000 years ago. It was a violent world 2000 years ago, full of Roman opulence, slavery and religious hypocrisy when a child was born in a small province in the Middle East. People were longing for justice, for salvation...for a good leader. They received a baby.

We think about him now, at Advent- the baby born to be a king. A leader, yet a leader so
different than expected. We are still learning to recognize the upside-down kingdom he established.

Are we asking for too much? Or not enough?
 See you soon,
            Pastor Dan     

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