Unfashionable Leadership

As the experienced demon Screwtape wrote to his nephew Wormwood in Letter XXV:


"The use of Fashions in thought is to distract the attention of men from their real dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under. Thus we make it fashionable to expose the dangers of enthusiasm at the very moment when they are all really becoming worldly and lukewarm; a century later, when we are really making them all Byronic and drunk with emotion, the fashionable outcry is directed against the dangers of the mere 'understanding.' Cruel ages are put on their guard against Sentimentality, feckless and idle ones against Respectability, lecherous ones against Puritanism; and whenever all men are really hastening to be slaves or tyrants we make Liberalism the prime bogey."


I believe you can learn a lot about a leader in the church by paying attention to the sins he will denounce vs. the sins for which he will provide nuance, context, and calls for understanding. If you survey the evangelical landscape today, you are likely to find robust, frequent denouncements of racism and misogyny. But sexual sins that have a political constituency behind them and powerful media presence more often earn softer rebukes and laments for the church's failure to love people who identify themselves by such sins. C.S. Lewis first wrote The Screwtape Letters in 1941, and here, almost eighty years later, we see our current generation depicted almost to perfection. But that's not because Lewis was a prophet. It's because he was a discerning analyst of the human heart and of social realities, and he saw how easy it is for moral "leaders" within the church to content themselves with always following the fashions of society.


America now sits under the floodwaters of critical theory, which has been disseminated to every corner of our society by our most influential universities and media organizations. Violence has been raging in our streets as mobs seek to erase our history and establish a new order. If you look around at what evangelical leaders are saying, do you see any who are taking a real stand against this madness? I see a lot more who are running around with fire extinguishers.


If you aspire to lead, prepare yourself to be unfashionable.


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