IF : Leadership is Lonely

Leadership is lonely, a leader once told me, and he was right. Whenever my name gets caught up in the throes of conversation about lines and where we draw them, whenever hard and fast lines are drawn on secondary issues, I find myself back at the drawing board. I write on this subject more than perhaps any other, and still! When the Next New Thing comes out the heads swivel toward the movers and shakers waiting to see if we'll take the bait.

Most of the time we do take the bait. Leaders become leaders because they stand for something, do something, are something, or see something. To not respond is to slink into the dimly lit corners of history, and who wants to do that?

But I guess I do.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This past week the IF : Gathering was announced. We are touching our toes on the possibility that a unifying love for Jesus and the Church can bring together women from all over the world. We are women who love Jesus deeply, love working out the gospel within our lives and personal contexts. Over the past several months as our small Facebook group has burst at the seams of these 50 women, it has been truly a treasure to catch an occasional glimpse of gospel unity from one woman to another—women who could stand 80 percent of their theology side by side and find themselves an unlikely pair. We disagree on the roles of men and women, we disagree on the doctrine of election, we disagree on how evangelism is done best, we disagree on how to educate children, and what submission looks like in the home. We are the most mismatched group of individuals I think I've ever been a part of.

And I think it's really amazing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A few nights ago I talked to a friend about Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, whores and liars. He sat right there at their table and it isn't so much that He sat there amongst sinners, but that he sat there amongst sinners who loved Him—even when they stumbled over how to work it out.

Among some feedback I've heard on IF, there are the rumblings of "feminists," "emergents," and "enemies of the gospel," in regard to the ragtag group Jennie Allen has pulled together. I've seen assumptions made about the quality of the teaching, the speakers, the head-shots used on the website, the place of the gospel among the group. And to be honest, I'm shaking my head.

Because leadership is lonely, y'all. When you find a group of ragamuffin gospel-loving mover shaker messy beautiful broken women who aren't afraid of your fear of clasping hands over party lines because they have it too, leadership is so lonely that nobody thinks you can do anything with that.

What Jennie and all of us at IF are doing has the potential to be messy and confusing and cause the skeptics to raise an eyebrow.

But what sort of comfort is it to us if Jesus is the only one who could ever share bread and wine with those who were not His exact likeness?

I'm willing to be lonely, to have my name counted as "one who eats with them," I care little about my name or its place in history. But this is one place where I think some are sorely off. I won't stand here idly while stones are cast at my sisters who love Jesus as fiercely as I do.

I won't waste my loneliness on those accusations.

Is it unconventional? Is it still in the making? Are some things a little unclear? Sure. Does God make something from nothing?

Every day.