Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Chasing Greatness...

Status Anxiety (De Botton, A (2004) 
Status Anxiety. Penguin) – unravels
the concept of how and why we try to
demand and maintain status and the
fear that grips individuals should that
status be questioned. The desire for
respect, the need for admiration,
esteem. This is a book about an almost
universal anxiety that rarely gets
mentioned directly: an anxiety about
what others think of us; about whether
we're judged a success or a failure, a
winner or a loser.

What was interesting was an inclusion of a chapter on Christianity seen
as a cure for such ‘driveness’.
I think it was Brennan Manning in Ragamuffin Gospel who said...
"In Jesus freedom from fear empowers us to let go of the desire to appear good, so that we can move more freely in the mystery of who we really are…the pre-occupation with projecting image leads to ‘unfreedom’ in the iron grip of human respect…"
Ironic really then that …
"Many churches are seeking to become great churches. Entire ministry industries exist to help the process. In every community there’s at least one great church measured by numbers and facilities…but there is a troubling secret, size is not enough…churches now want to move from ‘success to significance’ Acts 10:38 ‘Jesus went around going good’ Need to trade chasing greatness for doing good."(Swanson (2003) Leadership Spring).
Too often I wonder if we are too caught up in projecting image, chasing success for fear of non-recognition, chasing greatness that we lose sight of what it is to be significant simply by doing good. I have to be honest to my guilt - that 'iron grip' sometimes is a little too tight!!


Gordon said...

as little postscript - I stumbled on this in Webers Younger Evangelicals

David Clark, professor at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, writes, "The best way to be effective is to care little for success. The best way to be a transforming leader is to care more about what's in your own hearts than what we accomplish. When we give up this need to be successful or powerful for purposes of inward val"idation, we arc free to be truly effective in fulfilling our callings. I long to see the church led by people who care so little about being successful as the world sees it and care so much about being in touch with God and in community with the people that the reality of God's power is powerfully unleashed." Speaking the same message but more bluntly, he says, 'I’m turned off by religious professionals who are filled with pretence.... 1 feel more connected with people who have been damaged by theology than those who love it” 121

jacki said...

Deep thoughts are now flying through my head.

Yeah, I can see how living by what others think of you is very crippling.

So I Go said...

yes, powerful words all around. affirmation and admiration and validation.. a lot of "tion"s that i wish i could do without.

more of you, Jesus. less of me.

peace & blessings to you Gordon.