Monday, February 28, 2011

Heck of a Blind Spot

"Three outstanding attitudes -- obliviousness to the growing disaffection of constituents, primacy of self-aggrandizement, [and the] illusion of invulnerable status -- are persistent aspects of folly."
(Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly)

These three attitudes actually sum up what is far too prevalent in leadership circles today. Sadly, Christian leaders aren't immune to this, either.

(A) Oblivious to the growing disaffection

It's not that these leaders don't care that people are disaffected and at times even resentful, it's that they don't notice. They've been running on a practiced route for so long, and getting the results that give them rewards (see Snakes in Suits as background reading), that they never notice the cost in human resources.

(B) Primacy of self-aggrandizement

Getting "ahead" in leadership, whatever it takes, is such a driving force that in effect, it's like putting blinders on a horse -- there's no distractions that can deter them from reaching their goal. Not even the crunching sound of the spirits of those they trample on in the process.

(C) Illusion of invulnerable status

The blinders also contribute to the fantasy that they are above the rules, above the consequences, and above being betrayed and cast out by the same system they've invested themselves in (usually by younger upstarts who were mentored too thoroughly in the same worldview).
This is, frankly, why some leaders in Christian circles can go for years acting in ways that destroy people around them, embitter those who choose to stay and endure, and yet honestly consider themselves humble servants of God.

And the most bizarre twist of all:
When they first started in ministry, they had no intention of ever becoming "one of those leaders". And yet, between human frailty, rewards of the system, and faulty examples/exhortations from popular church leadership gurus...
You gotta admit: it's one heck of a blind spot. And yet, we are on dangerous ground to automatically assume that only "they" are capable of blind spots. To quote Pastor Bob Wilson, whom I had the privilege of hearing preach on a weekly basis during my years with George Mercado:
"If you think it can't happen to you, you're half-way there already."


  1. Outstanding, Rob. And where did you get that photo? Priceless!

  2. Dunno. Found it online. Counting on Amish pacificism to preserve my sorry carcass. :)