Author: Uli Chi

Road to Emmaus by Robert Zund (1877)

The Good News of Christian Leadership – Following and Enduring?

Why is a Christian vision of leadership good news? Leadership is inescapably about the use of power and influence. In this series, we explore how a Christian vision of leadership reframes our understanding of how that power and influence are exercised.

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Picture: St Peter in Prison by Rembrandt van Rijn (1631)

The Good News of Christian Leadership – Labor in Vain?

Jesus lamented in fulfilling his vocation. Consequently, the good news begins by discovering that Jesus is quite at home in the company of those who are discouraged, despondent, and even despairing. Jesus understands, in a way that I hadn’t imagined possible, those who struggle with chaos, futility, and a sense of purposelessness.

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Picture: Lit Advent Candles © 2018 by Uli Chi

The Good News of Christian Leadership – A Flickering Light?

Light is a biblical image not just for understanding and knowledge. It is also a metaphor for a flourishing life. Life and light are therefore deeply interconnected. We live in a season of flickering lights that seem to be on the verge of going dark. Institutions that we have counted on for dependable light and life have begun to flicker. What hope does Christian leadership offer in such a time?

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A person's arm with a WWJD bracelet on it

The Good News of Christian Leadership – WWJD?

What would Jesus do? A helpful place to begin answering that question is to reflect on what Jesus has already done. To that end, our text from Philippians 2 provides profound insight.

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St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Findlay, Ohio; Eucharistic stained glass window depicting bread and wine

The Good News of Christian Leadership – Expensive Grace

Jesus’ death on the cross is not just an ugly necessity resulting from humanity’s greatest failure, but – here’s the wonderful surprise – it is the most profound revelation of God’s compassion for his creation. And, perhaps even more surprisingly, Jesus’ self-sacrifice becomes not only a one-time fix for humanity’s greatest problem, but the once-for-all-time demonstration of our intended vocation as human beings.

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Stained glass image of John Newton

Truth and Institutional Evil – Part II

Large-scale calamities – some natural and some caused by human evil – recur in human history. God says as much at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple from which today’s text comes: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people” (2 Chronicles 7:13, NIV). God’s instructions address times of disaster, including economic, social, and public health ones, much like our own. At times like these, we are reminded that God’s people are to be agents of repentance and restoration of the world in which God has placed us. What might that look like today?

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My Parents at their Wedding in 1941 © The Chi Family

Truth and Institutional Evil – Part I

One of the foundational assertions of Scripture is that all human beings are created in God’s image. There are no privileged races or individuals in God’s eyes. That declaration was a radical challenge to the power of Pharaoh in Egypt during Israel’s enslavement, as it was to the Nazi regime in my parents’ day, and as it is to the power of structural racism in our generation. What will we do with that truth now?

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All Souls Church in London

God’s Construction Project – Part II

Are we willing to sacrifice for the flourishing of our local church, the relational community and the institution which embodies it? And why should the local church be that important to us? The answer for me lies in God’s intention for the local congregation to be a “living sacrifice” that models Christ’s sacrifice to the watching world.

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house under construction

God’s Construction Project – Part I

Instead of working with inanimate object like wood and stone, God is constructing a building that is alive, made of human beings.  Strangely, we are not only construction materials but participants in the construction process. As today’s text says, God is constructing a house made of “living stones.”

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Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt van Rijn

Leadership Praise – Psalm 145: Recovering Goodness

If we aren’t careful, goodness can easily be distorted into a short moral checklist.  Depending on our cultural context and political persuasion, the checklists may differ.  Still, we each have one.  And, it’s easy to confuse our list with what it means to be “good.”  Today’s psalm helps us to recover a biblical understanding of goodness.  It does so, not by talking about goodness as an idea, but by describing the ways in which God is good.

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Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet by Ford Madox Brown (1852-6)

Leadership Praise – Psalm 145: Reimagining Greatness

One of the dangers of great leadership responsibility is that we live in our own echo chamber.  Many around us, sometimes out of deference and respect, tell us how great we are, and are reluctant to point out our limitations or weaknesses.  Learning to cultivate a healthy awe for God’s greatness is a helpful antidote to a preoccupation with our own.

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Pentecost by Juan Batista Maino, 1620-1625

Prayers from the Epicenter

Even as we are asked to keep our distance from others, help us to find ways to reach out to those who need our support and to those whose support we need.  We are grateful for the gift of technology that keeps us emotionally connected even as we remain physically separated.

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Creation of Adam by Michelangelo (1512)

Reflections from the Epicenter

We pride ourselves on being resourceful, intelligent, and self-sufficient people.  But if there’s one thing that’s become clear through this pandemic, it’s how vulnerable and dependent we are as human beings and as a human society.  Despite our desire to be (or at least appear to be) invulnerable and independent, we are clearly otherwise.

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Work in Alpine Fields, photograph by Steve Garber

Leadership Prayers – Psalm 144

God has called us to the work of leadership and is engaged with us as we do it, but to what end?  What is the purpose of our being leaders in the first place?  In contrast to seeing the leader as being the exclusive beneficiary of God’s attention and deliverance, the psalmist shifts the focus onto the people and places under the leader’s care. 

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Shimei Curses David, 1860 Woodcut by Julius Schnoor von Karolsfeld

Leadership Prayers – Psalm 143

How then do we deal with the consequences of our own moral failures in leadership?  How can we pray when our circumstances implicate us in our sin?

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