Friday, May 28, 2010

Whatever Happened to Wisdom?

I recently saw a statement by a denominational leader I look up to. He heralded efforts to step away from a system of seniority in pastoral placement in favor of valuing innovation and youth. I do believe that we can become imprisoned in a system that protects the interests of leaders more than the mission. But I wonder to what extent this rhetoric is grasping at straws.

What has happened to wisdom? Is it no longer valued? I am favor of passion and innovation. I myself have been a part of two successful new church starts and tried many ways to creatively share the gospel in a post-modern culture. But at the same time, I wonder why we seem to be replacing biblical language of spiritual gifts and graces in determining pastoral placement, replacing biblical language of wisdom and discernment in valuing experience, and replacing biblical language of the fruit of the spirit in measuring effectiveness. To simplify the matter to the juxtaposition of seniority verses innovation seems flat to me.

The future of protestant life in our country has to do with restoring our commitment to being a movement rather than an institution. It may seem counterintuitive for me to claim that it is wisdom we need the most. But it seems to me that we need wise and understanding leaders because we do indeed need change, but change in itself is not a solution. Change on behalf of the values of the kingdom of God, however, can be lifegiving.

Pictured: Engraving of King Solomon, People's Standard Holy Bible (1872), Ziegler Publishers.