Andy Crouch: Strong and Weak - Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing

Episode 4 January 26, 2022 01:07:21
Andy Crouch: Strong and Weak - Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing
We Are Vineyard
Andy Crouch: Strong and Weak - Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing
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Show Notes

In this episode of We Are Vineyard, Andy Crouch shares about finding God inside religious practices and differentiating from the faith of his parents, and how studying Greek may or may not have added to his understanding of the Bible. Jay and Andy also discuss the transformative and purifying process of writing, as well as some key concepts outlined in Andy’s book “Strong and Weak”, which is Vineyard USA’s featured resource! This is an enriching episode full of deep encouragement and invitation to flourishing. 

Andy Crouch is partner for theology and culture at Praxis, an organization that works as a creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship. His two most recent books—2017’s The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place and 2016’s Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing—build on the vision of faith, culture, and the image of God laid out in his previous books Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling.

Andy serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He also serves as an advisor to The Repentance Project, The Pelican Project, and Revoice. For more than ten years he was an editor and producer at Christianity Today, including serving as executive editor from 2012 to 2016. He served the John Templeton Foundation in 2017 as senior strategist for communication. His work and writing have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing—and, most importantly, received a shout-out in Lecrae’s 2014 single “Non-Fiction.”

From 1998 to 2003, Andy was the editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly, a magazine for an emerging generation of culturally creative Christians. For ten years he was a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. He studied classics at Cornell University and received an M.Div. summa cum laude from Boston University School of Theology. A classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz, and gospel, he has led musical worship for congregations of 5 to 20,000. He lives with his family in Pennsylvania.

 

Show Notes:

Strong and Weak by Andy Crouch
https://bit.ly/3fEQkIl

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson
https://amzn.to/3tBoYLp

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:10 We are Speaker 2 00:00:12 The quest for control, which is authority without vulnerability, the ability to act without having to worry what will happen, because I know because I'm in control, this is the quest of machines. Machines give us control machine like environments or relatively highly controlled systems. The digital world is a world in some ways of control. It's the whole technological story, but it's also the deep story of the human race. When the serpent approaches the woman in the man to convince somebody to the fruit, he says, if he read this who shall be like God, which has very high authority. And then the woman says well, but we're dependent on God. And he said, if we this whole die and the civilization shall not surely die, which is you are not as vulnerable as you think you are. You can have authority without vulnerability. And this is the basic why of the human story. Speaker 1 00:01:06 Welcome to the VR vineyard podcast conversations to help us grow in life. It's Jesus and each other. In today's episode, our host, Jay Pathak talks with Andy crouch, the author of strong and weak let's listen in. Speaker 3 00:01:32 Well, Andy, I'm super excited to sit down with you and talk a bit. Thanks for making some time before we jump in and talk about strong a week, which is what I really want to talk about your book. We'd love to hear a bit of your story. That kind of leads us to that discussion Speaker 2 00:01:47 With a very clear inflection points in my story and my family's story, which is a move. When I was 13 years old, my dad lost a job in Syracuse, New York. I'd spent my childhood outside of, in surf, rural New York state. And he found another job outside of the city of Boston, Massachusetts. We moved to a town called Nita, Massachusetts, which is a suburb of Boston. And my parents were very appropriately concerned about whether I would make any friends in high school. I was starting high school, 13, Speaker 3 00:02:21 13. Speaker 2 00:02:22 I was just incredibly socially smooth and popular. That is an entire lie. I was Speaker 3 00:02:31 Very, very Andy. We wouldn't know you ever just say it and we would all believe it. So, whatever, whatever you want to tell us, we're just going to believe. Speaker 2 00:02:41 So my parents were churchgoers with, I think it's truly fair to say without being, um, without exactly practicing faith. So as a child, I never would have been able to say how faith made a difference in our family life, right? Our home life. And my father was quite explicitly not a believer, but he was, and to the state is a church goer. He sort of appreciated the community of a church, but without believing in any of it. So anyway, we'd been going to Methodist churches, we moved and in this new town, there was a Methodist church and they had a youth group. And, uh, so my parents dropped me off at this youth group to make friends and start getting acclimated to this very new, very different place. And by, uh, kind of remarkable Providence, I guess you could say in this group of high school kids, there was a group who were experiencing largely through the Catholic charismatic renewal in the new England area. In that time, the 1980s, the presence and power of the holy spirit and the reality of God in what to any outward appearance was a very conventional mainline Protestant church that was not set up for these kinds of experiences. Speaker 2 00:04:04 Indeed. And by the end of this week of youth group activities, I sent something very real that I had never synced in church before and spoke up at the last like evening event and said, I want to be a Christian. I want to follow God. And an intentional way this, you know, I've spent a lot of my life since an evangelical context where whole manipulative programs are created to lead to this kind of moment. I just cannot explain you how, how little this was liberal Protestant church, youth group was set up to create this result. And I think it caused great consternation and perplexity among the youth group leaders. And, but what it led to where these really transformative friendships with a group of kids who were finding that God was present and led to high school years of a kind of immersion and what to my great astonishment is in certain ways for its time and place, the healthiest Christian community that I could possibly have entered. I entered the faith through a very genuine expression, uh, in a very adolescent form of the way of Jesus and the presence of God. And I also, I mean, I was, I was an adolescent like everybody else, I faked speaking in tongues for two years because I thought that's what you need to do. Like, you know, authenticate. Speaker 3 00:05:33 Would you, would you like to demonstrate that our, no, I'm just kidding. Speaker 2 00:05:39 Um, well, yes, Speaker 3 00:05:43 No, no, please. Don't actually, Speaker 2 00:05:44 The strange thing is that years later I actually received that gift a totally different way. Right. And it is totally different. Wow. And it is a private prayer language it's for my own yeah. Expression of on the other rubble love and pain and all the things that go into being human to God. Um, but it was, that's not what it was in high school, this performance, uh, kind of authenticating performance that I have knew I was faking, but I was such a good liar about everything in my life at that point that I hardly knew I was faking it. Speaker 3 00:06:17 Yeah. And, and you're, and you're trying to be into it, like, look how into it. And they're like, we're into it too. Youthful exuberance. Right. Speaker 2 00:06:28 So for all those layers of a very mixed motives and a lot of immaturity, obviously there was also something at the core, absolutely real, truly healthy. I went off to college to study. I wanted to study Greek actually because some local youth pastors had kind of found this group of kids who really didn't have much shepherding honestly. And one of them would bring a Greek new Testament with them to the, our Bible studies. I thought, oh my goodness. If I could read the Greek, then I would have access to the secret keys. Exactly. Right. So I get to college to study Greek. And first of all, discover that the new Testament is written in actually very bad Greek. Most of it now, Luke, the writer to Hebrews those, those folks know how to write Greek, but most of the writers that's their second or third language and they're just getting by and their readers are getting by. Speaker 2 00:07:20 So that was an interesting discovery, but also fell in with some amazing campus ministers, uh, through varsity Christian fellowship. One of whom was a Mennonite missionary in Honduras, half the year and a pastor to students at Cornell university the other half. Wow. And the other of whom was a black Baptist liberation, theologian and professor of sociology at SUNY bank. And they started plying me with books. I had never heard of by writers. I had never imagined like the French writers, Shaka lul or the Anabaptist anarchist Vernard Eller, you know, just all the, the, uh, an obscure pastor named Eugene Peterson had written this book called a long obedience in the same direction. And through Bob and mark, who were those two gentlemen, the world of faith got so expanded for me. And I remember Bob, who was the black Baptist liberation, theologian preaching or teaching at the Cornell Christian fellowship on Isaiah 58, which to be totally honest was a chapter. Speaker 2 00:08:22 I did not know it was in the Bible up until the moment that he opened it up. And here is God saying, you have very impressive worship services, but they mean nothing to me, unless you relieve the burden of the poor on lift, the yoke of oppression and, you know, having been formed, I think you'll understand this in this Christian environment in high school, that was all about the kind of fervency of worship and, you know, to have God's gods that actually stinks. If you don't also do justice. I just, I didn't know that was in the Bible. Right. Um, so there was, those were years of tremendous widening and broadening and deepening of, I just kind of realizing, oh, whoa, this touches everything. And I need to rethink Speaker 3 00:09:08 One. How magnificent that. I mean, everything you're describing it wasn't because you charted a beautiful course. Like, you know, I'm going to go to Cornell because I've heard about these people and I will sit at their feet and learn from them. You're under so many other pretenses. I'm going to go learn Greek. And then suddenly you're like, oh no, maybe this isn't what I thought I was going to be. But then I meet these other people. They show me a different world. That's remarkable. Speaker 2 00:09:41 Oh, completely. And it is all so much of my life. My life has been so uncharted and I mean, I haven't had anything like a career, uh, and, or a track in any way. Speaker 3 00:09:53 That's the next book, how to do all of this without a plan. That's that's good. I want I'll read it. Actually. I think I might be writing is the only problem. And I think in some sense, we all are Forrest Gump a bit. Maybe that's why people liked that book, that movie so much Speaker 2 00:10:17 In this place completely, completely. Yeah. You know, I should also say it might be relevant that the other thing that happened, you know, I mentioned, I just, first of all, you find out the Bible is written in really bad Greek, and then you also find out the English translations are really good. So you're not missing that much, honestly. Right. Every once in a while, there's some little nuance it's sort of interesting at a pedantic level, but the word speaks and every language. Speaker 3 00:10:40 Exactly, Speaker 2 00:10:41 Exactly. And it is not like the secret key. It doesn't transform your devotional life just because you've been read the original language or whatever. Okay. Speaker 3 00:10:48 Oh, Greek, Greek scholars are dying all over right now. Listen, don't listen to them. Speaker 2 00:10:55 But what actually happened is I fell in love with the Greek language in its own, right. And the literature of ancient Greece and that world and that field of study. And it actually, the reason I bring that up is it kind of has a terrible word. It de sectarian eyes to me. In other words, I went in thinking this study was going to be useful for my devotion to God, which was a, maybe an semi admirable thing to pursue study for. And instead I found it was worthwhile in its own, right. That the language and literature of this particular time and place, and there are many other times and places that are also amazing contributions to the human story, it was just worth engaging, not for its sort of religious usefulness or its contribution to this little Christian movement that I was part of. But it was just part of this grand complex, messy, sometimes beautiful, sometimes alarming human story. That is, is our story. Speaker 3 00:11:55 So those are really helpful observations. I have a more random question. Hmm. So how did you process all of those changes, those shifts with your parents? Because if your dad is like, yeah, this is cool, but it's not that cool. And then no, I'm doing this, Speaker 2 00:12:21 Uh, Speaker 3 00:12:21 At Cornell no less. I mean, that's not like the school that's just sort of hanging out nearby. Speaker 2 00:12:28 Well, I mean, first of all, you have to understand I'm a gen X-er and the amount of just benign neglect that was standard for parents to offer to their kids. The dominant culture of the United States in those years was kind of amazing. Like parents just sort of let their kids do what they wanted to do. So there was some of that there wasn't the kind of helicopter obsession with we had is my child making the most of his education or whatever, you know, just totally different time. Um, culturally I think, but I would say the, the actual, there was a lot of conflict when I was in high school. This was part of the adolescent reality that this became sort of my Christian faith became my way of differentiating from my parents, which is part of the task of adolescence is differentiation. And this was how I distinguish myself from my in very conflictual. Speaker 2 00:13:19 And I mean, just painful to recall was I I've never fought with anyone the way that I thought with my parents on long car drives to visit family or whatever about why, why they didn't believe why I did believe what that meant, where they were going, eternally, what God thought of the fact that they still get. I thought they shouldn't give to the Methodist church because they weren't really believers. God hates your money, you know, and I just can't express how foolish I was as you know, a 16, 17 year old trying to define myself. Uh, well, Speaker 3 00:13:55 I mean, my parents, I would, I be suspicious of anyone that says that they were really wise when they were 16. Speaker 2 00:14:06 So for me, Speaker 3 00:14:09 I'm sure your children are an exception, but, but, but most are doing some version of that. Yeah, I get it. I totally get it. And my story is not that different, honestly. I totally, so by the time you get to college, they're kind of like whatever you want, man. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:14:26 I mean really to a great extent, Speaker 3 00:14:27 I guess that's what you're doing. Okay, cool. Speaker 2 00:14:30 And I would say that, that, that set a pattern for 30 years of my life, almost of, you know, I'm kind of doing my thing. I loved my parents. My parents loved me have done all along, but there was a kind of independence there. Um, that was healthy in some ways. And we are in a new stage of life where my parents are in their eighties now and in great need of care and help and kind of navigating this very new and probably final season in some ways that their story and actually the great gift is I'm back in this intimate relationship with them that I left very abruptly that moved to that high school. It opened up so much for me, that was good, but it all was outside of my home. And my relationship with my parents in particular and my sister, my younger sister. And for 30 years, I just went off on this other track and came home for holidays and brought my kids home. And they were amazing grandparents to our children who are now young adults themselves, but there was a distance and that distance has been by the necessity of the new stage of life that they're in collapsed in the last few years in a way that is one of the great gifts of this season of my life. Yeah. So some of these stories, I mean it's a long arc of life. Speaker 3 00:15:52 Yeah. Well, that's why I was curious because when you have a divergence, it's that severe yeah. Everyone's affected. But when you're a teenager, you don't, I don't know. I'm just doing my life. I don't think about Speaker 2 00:16:04 Quite ignorant. I was going to say innocent, but that's really not the right word. Like quite ignorant of what it was costing my parents to let me go in a way and do, do the things I cared about. But, Speaker 3 00:16:17 Um, well now that your kids have gone through similar things, you noticed that differently. At least that's my experience. Okay. So you do all this incredible work. You're learning from all these different influences. And then somehow you've become writer, thinker. How do you start to draw the lines towards realizing man, I have a gift with words and I have a gift to lead with my words and how do those things start to avail themselves? Speaker 2 00:16:47 I spent 10 years after college, I had such a good, informative experience with our varsity Christian fellowship. I joined our varsity as a campus minister. I ended up back in the Boston area at Harvard, working with undergrads at Harvard. So in a way those 10 years were just formative years of ministry and community. And what started to happen toward the end of the 10 years, I didn't go in. I've never had a plan as we discussed. Uh, but, but I just felt, uh, year after year, I should stay there. There were really fruitful things happening, amazing things happening in that season in ministry. And just seeing people come to faith, deepen and faith. So that was all good. But I did find myself becoming restless, uh, intellectually restless. So I was working with undergrads, undergrads turnover every four years. You have a completely new crop every year. Speaker 2 00:17:35 It's a new group of first year students. They are always 18, roughly they're always in the same stage. It's a little like Groundhog day. So I've had many friends who are like pastors in local churches that are all, it's almost opposite experience. Like you're with people, stable community for such a long time. But campus ministry is like, you've got a new congregation basically every year, really. And yet the congregation is stranger the same, like it's completely new faces, but all the same issues. Yes, yes. And, and to some extent the same things that they need and that are good for them to hear. And I, after eight or nine years of this, I just was feeling restless. I was feeling like I wasn't growing in quite the same way I had at the beginning. So I, I started writing, uh, just to think out loud, basically, uh, just for my friends pretty much, you know, I wrote a long piece about, cause this was when this is the 1990s now where in generation consciousness was kind of morphing from the boomers who are a real generation American history because they, they came out of this very specific historical moment into this question of what's the next generation after the boomers. Speaker 2 00:18:40 Well, they aren't really a generation, you know, we call them generation X, but it's, it's, that's a placeholder for the fact that there's not actually a cohort there, a coherence cultural reality there, but everyone was trying to figure this out. So I started writing about that and found that when I wrote people found it helpful. And one of those pieces found its way to a friend who was an editor at Christianity magazine and ended up in the magazine. And yeah, I think the way a lot of people fall into writing is you, you write something down, you make it public in some way you publish it. Publish just means to make public. And you learn from your readers, oh, this is helpful. And I would say, you know, my, my basic, uh, template for vocation is the intersection of grace and cross. So our vocation is usually found in activities or, or callings that on the one hand are characterized by grace. Speaker 2 00:19:37 That is this sort of divine multiplication that you can't really explain that nonetheless shows up when you're there or when you're doing that thing. Uh, and it's not linear output to input. It's multiplicative, it's generative, it's beyond anything. You could even take credit for it, even though if you hadn't done your part, it wouldn't have happened. So there's that grace side. And then there's the cross side, which is redemptive, suffering and embracing pain for the sake of something. And for me, writing is so at the intersection of those. So this tremendous like multiplication, like I, I sit down and I try to put words to an idea. And then one day I'm sitting with you in here in my dining room where we're recording this, and this is grace. Like I didn't, I didn't plan this. I didn't scheme for this. I didn't try to get this. I can truly say, uh, as, as amazing as you RJ, Speaker 3 00:20:31 Well, this is, this is a pretty high achievement for you. I mean, you've achieved some things, but we've, Speaker 2 00:20:40 Um, but yeah, just merited abundance. And at the same time, oh, this is harder than anything I've Speaker 3 00:20:48 Ever done. Say something about that because I think people have an idealistic view of like what you would do, right? Like he probably sits somewhere, any stairs, stairs off the window and words just start descending on his mind and staring Speaker 2 00:21:08 Out the window part is correct. Speaker 3 00:21:11 And then there's, as they descend, he just, they flow out like a song. They flow out of them, you know, his instrument, his, his hands, and he just starts writing and he doesn't even look down at the page. He's so inspired. He just continues to stare out the window. And the words flow is that that's not kind of Speaker 2 00:21:30 Express how little that describes what it is like for most writers I've met like literally two people in my life who are professional writers for whom that's actually pretty close to them. Speaker 3 00:21:42 It just flows like musicians. There's musicians that walk in and just start playing it or ones like what was that? There are, Speaker 2 00:21:49 It's pretty rare. And I'm also, I mean, I've also worked as a musician and it's pretty rare among musicians too. And usually what's created usually that flow state that everyone imagines actually what comes out is really bad. It's bad art it's shallow, Speaker 3 00:22:04 But it feels good in the moment. Yes. Speaker 2 00:22:07 So, so the essential thing for most of us to being a writer is actually, it's learning not to give in to those shallow things that well up quickly, because they're usually not the best you can do and they're not the deepest truth. And sometimes they're actually almost literally, they're kind of false. So sentiment sentimentality is unearned emotion. It's an emotion that's just sort of too easy and comes too quickly. And cliche is ideas that come too quickly and are too familiar. Right? And so getting past the sentimentality and the cliche requires you to have a kind of self-awareness that is extremely painful because most of my thoughts are fairly cliched and fairly sentimental. Right. And so in fact, what writing is like, yes. So staring out the window, feeling unbelievably inadequate feeling, I mean, it is not too strong to say despair. Like I have nothing today. Speaker 2 00:23:06 There is no way I've promised whether it can be a two sentence, you know, endorsement for a book or a 500 word article, you know, or a 50,000 word manuscript and just feeling the sense of despair, desperation, depression, and then all the ways one tries to avert one's attention from those things, all the forms of procrastination, all the, all the addictions that kind of sort of come up and, and offer themselves. And it is so humbling. How, how ridiculously hard it is. I would say that's more and more true. The further I get into my work as a writer in those early days when I was just very restless from the day-to-day work of campus ministry and to sit down and get to write something was sort of like a, a vacation. Uh, it came a little more easily though. Never that easily, but the moment you start thinking, oh, I want to get really good at this. You are picking up your cross. I think almost every writer, every artist and every pastor, like when you start really saying, I want to be good at this, what comes naturally will not be enough. And to spiritualize what comes naturally is to miss the actual work of inspiration. Speaker 3 00:24:20 Yeah. Well, and, and I like the language because you're describing the grace part, is it just multiplies? Like I do this thing it's painful and awkward and confusing, but then it sort of begins to take on a life itself once it's outside of me. It's it's as though God does something what's so interesting about the work you're describing. It actually does help me think about the book we'll talk about here in a minute is how no one knows that more than you, right? Like, you know, what is grace more than other people know? What is grace, right. They think, oh, you're just really talented and gifted and look at all these cool things that you've done. They don't see you, you know, whatever fiddling with your phone because you don't want to write or, or, you know, oh, I'm running some errands that you don't actually need to run so that you don't have to think about this anymore. Meanwhile, your publisher's like, is it, are we about done or did you get the thing or, or, or to, to transfer it to a pastor it's Thursday, then it's Friday, then Saturday. Now it's after dinner. And you know, I'll check in with, you know, I gotta check in with the kids. This is what's most important, Speaker 2 00:25:37 But can I just say like, I mean, those are very beautiful, benign ways that you described the diversion, but it's lying. It's so we haven't, I worked as an editor for many years. And so I've been on the other side of it. I've worked with people who are trying to get the thing done, and we have this thing in publishing all writers lie. When they say, I'm almost done with this article, it's a lot, like, it's just not true in any respect. It is nowhere near you haven't even started. Right. So all writers lie. And so it is literal falsehoods that you tell others to avoid the shame. And then, and then inside, it's deep shame. It's deep depression. It's like lying down on the floor and just be like, I can't even move. So I really appreciate what you said it from the outside, because you see, and then the true grace, which is not anything I did, it's God's choice to take my clay vessel and the clay vessel of language and words and so forth and use it for his own purpose. Speaker 2 00:26:39 You know, whatever that may be that gets seen and gets attributed falsely to me. But what I see is the utter inadequacy and perplexity and this Greek word opera Rhea, that means just not even knowing where you're going to go. Uh, and that is of the essence of the actual experience. So you're right. Truly, you could not like if you try to conjure up an image of how bad it is, make it 10 times worse and you're getting close, but you'll never sense it. You'll never feel it because by God's grace, the result is good in certain respects and is helpful in certain respects and does go places that I, I couldn't plan for it to go and wouldn't have had the wisdom to want it to go Speaker 3 00:27:22 Well. And, and what I hear you living in is detention, which again, I think your book does a good job of describing is so when that's reality, you either pretend better than most people. So you tell a story about this magical moment where all things came together for you or that discouragement, that pain lowers you so far, that you just go, I'm just going to do something else, give up that's enough. I mean, this surely maybe even the second person, maybe even behaves that way because they've read something by the first person, you know, or they heard the first person talking. They're like, well, other people seen Speaker 2 00:28:08 That masquerade. That's where I think it's Speaker 3 00:28:10 Real. So why, why is this so hard for me? Why don't things just work for me? I should probably do something else. Both are real. Speaker 2 00:28:21 There's an, and there's one other category I'm afraid, which I think is worth mentioning, which is that there are also people, you know, it's not my job to judge another servant, but as best as I can assess who go through life with a kind of hyper confidence and, and actually produce very shallow stuff and are very successful. So you look at these folks who live a kind of, they seem to have it together. And also, you know, in your heart of hearts, that what they're doing is not that substantive and not that real really, but they seem fine. And they actually may, in certain ways be fine because, you know, to, to dive off the diving board into the deep end of the human soul and the human story and history, and you know, all of that is you won't be fine really when you do that. So paddling around in the shallows, there's a kind of fineness. So, but the really the killer thing is, and they're like winning, like they're famous and they're good Speaker 3 00:29:20 Enough and famous. Right, Speaker 2 00:29:22 Right. And they're also aiding and abetting a kind of shallowness in our culture and in our church and, you know, and, and they seem to be, the wicked are prospering. So yeah. So you've got your people who do indeed do the real work and then just don't disclose the cost. So there are people like that. I think I know some people are doing some pretty significant things in the world. And at least to the extent they're artists, there is this constant question of, should I just give up? Does it matter? It happens. I think even I don't want to over spiritualize this, but I think in different ways, we see Jesus experiencing this because he's surrounded by people who don't at all understand what his real vocation is, where he's going. You know, they see the miracles, they want to make him king. He knows king is going to mean something totally different by the time he's done, you know, can we be right in left when you come into your kingdom? He's like, Speaker 3 00:30:16 You don't know what you're asking. Speaker 2 00:30:18 No idea. Right. And I will say the one thing I have had, this is a deep grace in my life. And that no one survives without this, I think is I've had friends and in the book and strong a week, I write about the transfiguration. Again, it's very scary to put our experiences in Jesus's in parallel. And yet isn't that what the incarnation invites us to do. He goes up on this mountain. He does bring three of his disciples with them, but they do not know what's going on. They can barely stay awake. But then Moses and Elijah show up and Luke tells us what they're talking about. Luke says they were discussing his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. So here's Peter, James and John they're like, we are on the messianic train. Like we've found the king of Kings and Lord of Lords. Speaker 2 00:31:08 You are the Christ, the son of the living God. And he told us we were right. And wow, can you imagine the triumph? That's I had engineers. I was like, yes, can you imagine? They can imagine. And so here come, Moses and Elijah who have borne the burdens of leadership for Israel who know the whole story from there, I don't know, heavenly transcendent perspective. Right. And that is so critical that Jesus has this encounter with these two, who understand. And I have had the great gift the whole way along of having friends, who I was able to share this whole thing with. Now, they're not there with me in the writing room, you know, on the really bad days, but I tell them about it and they pray for me. And, uh, my first book culture making, I got absolutely stuck. I was supposed to be a hundred thousand word manuscript. I had, I think, 2000 words written on the deadline for the book a year after signing the contract 2000 out of a hundred thousand, by the way, my editor would call and say, so how's it going? Oh, pretty well. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:32:14 Right, Speaker 2 00:32:14 Right, right. And it wasn't just going slowly. It just, Speaker 3 00:32:19 Could you see where you want to go? I just can't fill it in. Speaker 2 00:32:22 I had a bit of an outline, but I couldn't Speaker 3 00:32:25 Even, that was like, Hmm, I don't know I could not work. Speaker 2 00:32:28 Um, I, it was one of the most difficult in certain ways, maybe the hardest season of my adult life. Um, I was just utterly, utterly paralyzed. There's a lot of reasons for it. I was at this InterVarsity conference, there were two friends. They aren't my best friends, but they are people who I happened to have known and worked with and loved. And they could tell something was wrong. What was wrong was I had to meet with my editor the next day. I'll get to tell them about things are really going. They took me behind a potted plant at the what's it called the America's center in St. Louis some big conference center in a hallway. And they said, we're going to pray for you. And they lay their hands on me. And I confessed the whole reality. I was weeping. I'm in this, in this soulless convention center like hallway and their hands were laid on me and they prayed and they prayed and they prayed. Speaker 2 00:33:19 And I was delivered from the fear and the shame. And I was renewed with my little, the, the truth of little me that I do have something to do here and I can do it. And God has not abandoned me just because I've failed so far. And I literally J that book would not exist if Wil and Christina had not prayed for me at that time. And at the moments when I've needed it, I have had those kinds of friends. And I think it's, what's rescued my life from spiraling into real damage. I mean, I've, I've definitely done damage in my life, but I've been saved from doing real damage to myself and others because of my friends who met me in the real vulnerability. And the fun thing also is that then it's like the, you know, on two or wherever the wedding at Cana, the guests don't know the master of the ceremony doesn't know like, well, this is fantastic wine. It says, but the servants through the world, Speaker 3 00:34:20 We were whispering to each other. Did that just happen? Did you see what I saw? Did I miss something? Right? Yeah. Speaker 2 00:34:28 So to have that community, that's like, it was water. It was water. Like your life was watered and this is why. And to be able to celebrate together, there is nothing like that. Speaker 3 00:34:40 That's powerful. Speaker 1 00:34:57 Each quarter on the weird and your Tod cast, we will focus in on a theme for all of our interviews. The first quarter of 2022, the theme is equipping the saints. And every month we're going to introduce a new recommended book or resource to dig in deeper. This funds we're recommending that everyone reads strong and weak by Andy crouch. Later this month, we'll interview Andy, to hear a deeper dive on this book and much more strong and weak is available through vineyard resources in wherever books are sold. Speaker 3 00:35:33 I think the things we've talked about are themed nicely in your book. So let's, let's shift let's gears. It is. So just talk about before we dive into the content, what made you want to write this? I mean, you're, you're thinking through some of these frameworks, you obviously just even listening to you talk, you articulate well, I mean, your mind moves towards frames. So this is a beautifully framed book because it follows a neat pattern that enables you to sort of chart out where you're at, what your own story's been, what she's observed with others and sort of the ways you're describing, but what made you want to write this? You're like, this is a book owner, right? Well, Speaker 2 00:36:09 Very specific reason I want to write it is I'd written a previous book called playing God redeeming the gift of power, which was a relatively for me, big, thick, difficult book, I think for readers, a difficult to write, although very rewarding to write. And there was this idea in it that is important in playing God about authority and vulnerability as the image of God. And I had sort of played that out in that book in one section in particular. And I knew that idea had more to it. And so I started, you know, I would get chances to share some of the ideas. I started spending more time without it idea. And one day as I was getting ready for a talk, I was like, oh, you know, I've always loved to buy two. It's like this basic analytical framework where you take two things, put them on two axes, see what the names of the corners are. Speaker 2 00:36:54 Right. You know, authority and vulnerability are two things. There are meant to go together. They could maybe go two by two, what would happen? Right. And I discovered this, I will say of everything I've done in my life. This two by two that we're talking about here, that that's in this book feels most like, uh, you know, the parable of the, a treasure hidden in the field. Like the guys, you know, discovers this treasure and it's just there. And he's like, I am selling everything. This is it. And this feels completely like a discovery to me of something that was already there in the story, but hadn't been unearthed. And I tried it out with a few audiences and it works so much better than the previous presentation ad because it had a picture right, Speaker 3 00:37:38 As a chart, Speaker 2 00:37:40 Edit it and I've continued to use it. We use it extensively, a practice with our venture founders, these entrepreneurs we work with. And I realized, oh, if only I'd had that diagram, when I was writing, playing God, people would have actually read, play God, which is my least read book, my least selling book. And, and then my editor for playing, God emailed me. And he said, Hey, is there anything lingering from playing God that you'd want to put into a small short book? And I said, there is, there is, it's actually the key idea from the previous book, but in a way that is actually way clearer and way more applicable to more people. And indeed, I mean, this bookstore, because it sold like five times as many copies as playing golf, which is fine because I mean that other book is good. And I think leaders, I think should read it, but this is the essence. And I do love frameworks. I love it when you can. I, it sort of goes back to that sentimentality and cliche issue when you can find a simple thing that is not simplistic and that actually the complexity can be condensed into simplicity. That is very motivating to me. Speaker 3 00:38:50 Yeah. Well, in concrete, I mean the ability I can look at this and immediately measure any number of things like, so now it's like gauges, you know, if I can't tell, if I can't tell what this gauge actually does on the dashboard, it might be doing something interesting. Right. But I just can't tell what it is. And you're, I think you're exactly right. This book does a lot of that. So walk us through the grid to the best of your ability. So you wrote a whole book, so I'm asking, Speaker 2 00:39:20 But it's super simple. So we're going to put a Y axis, the vertical axis X axis horizontal, and we're going to put a thorny on the Y axis. So you can have more or less authority in any given situation. These are very contextual things and I define authority as capacity for meaningful action. So I'm using a broad definition of authority, uh, not just having a title or a position institutional, not necessarily institutional Kennedy, but there's lots of other kinds of capacity for meaningful action. Yep. So you can have more or less of that. And then there's vulnerability, which I also defined very broadly as exposure to meaningful risk. Something that really matters to you is at stake. And you don't know for sure whether it's going to, whether you're going to lose it or is it going to work, right. So, and that's on the x-axis so you can have more or less vulnerability in different situations. Speaker 2 00:40:03 And these are highly dynamic, even in this conversation from moment to moment, there will be moments where you ask me a question and be like, oh, I know the answer. So I feel this sort of surge of authority, and I know how to do that. But then there's also these moments like, well, well, if I bring that up, you know, what will JS next? Or do I really want to talk about that subject? Or, you know, and am I moving toward or away from vulnerability and risk? So the insight is we tend to think of these things as almost opposites. Like either I have a lot of authority in this situation, or I have a lot of vulnerability, but in fact, when you think about the most flourishing moments of your life, I pretty much, at this point, I've tried this with so many different people in so many different contexts. Speaker 2 00:40:43 I can pretty much guarantee at the peak moments of your life when you were most fully yourself, in terms of this back, when you were fully flourishing authority and vulnerability were both present in very high, significant ways. So you both had capacity to meaningfully act in a real way, and you were exposed to meaningful risk. So the two by two gives you a way of saying up into the right is high on both. And that corner we call flourishing. And then the thing is that a lot of our lives are not spent in that corner. They're spent in these other corners because there's three other basic options, right? So there's high vulnerability, low authority. So that's where I'm very vulnerable, but I can't act. And I, in the book, I call this suffering there's low, low, where actually I don't have much capacity to act, but I'm also not at risk. Speaker 2 00:41:32 And I would call safety or withdrawal. Like I just sort of retreat from the world. And in that corner, um, I'm very safe, but I also am doing nothing. It's kind of a cruise ship experience. Like other people are taking care of me. I don't have to worry about anything. And I also have nothing to do in the world. And then there's the upper left corner, which is kind of the danger corner. And it's in a way, the corner where the whole human story goes wrong in a way which is high authority, low vulnerability. And in the book I call it exploiting. Now this is my one regret of this book is I've realized there's a much better name for that corner. And I had not figured it out. I know I'm excited. So when I present this, now I don't call it exploiting results from the quest for the upper left. Speaker 2 00:42:17 Right. But, but the name of the upper left should be, and truly is control control. The quest for control, which is authority without vulnerability, the ability to act without having to worry what will happen. Cause I know, cause I'm in control. This is the quest of machines. Machines give us control machine like environments or relatively highly controlled systems. The digital world is a world in some ways of control. It's the whole technological story, but it's also the deep story of the human race. When the serpent approaches the woman in the man to convince him to eat the fruit. He says, if you eat this, who shall be like God, uh, which has very high authority. And then the woman says, well, but we're dependent on God. And he said, if we, this whole diet and the serpent says, you shall not surely die, which is you are not as vulnerable as you think you are. Speaker 2 00:43:09 You can have authority without vulnerability. This is the basic lie of the human story. So the quest for that upper left, which is a Mirage by the way, the universe, the cosmos is not set up to give you this. When we used to imagine that the world was run by Newton's laws of physics, and it was a bunch of little billiard balls bouncing off each other with perfectly regularity, perfect law, govern behavior. Maybe we could have thought the universe was like a giant clock and some clockmaker had the control switch. But now that we know that the world is quantum and at the deepest layer of the world, you can only talk about probabilities. You can't talk about certainties and you can't measure, uh, you know, and be part of it at the same time. And there's, there's all these ways in which control is just not the right word for the whole universe, nor I would argue is control the right word for what we see of God in revelation of God, God's self. Speaker 2 00:44:02 Like God does not reveal himself to us in scripture as a God who controls. Yes, God acts, God acts with power, but God also acts with risk. Uh, and in fact, when God fully reveals himself in Jesus, he comes not as a master mechanic, you know, or, uh, uh, an incredibly gifted engineer who can solve all the world's problems, but he enters deeply into vulnerability even as he also has more authority than any human being has ever had. So that upper left is what we've always wanted. And every messed up human story comes from that quest. Speaker 3 00:44:39 So, so persuade me. I think, I think that the chart is right. I mean, it makes sense. It's so clear though, that would beg the question. Why don't people want the best? What, what is it? You know what I mean? Like, you know, when, when the, when the description is really, really good, you know, it's the, you know, I studied some philosophy that is art, right? So you can see the thing clearly enough, it should make you want to do the thing, but it doesn't, and it's simply answer. It would be sin. I mean, you describe from the garden in the more practical sense, like you're with a leader you're with, I don't know a dad you're with a worker. It doesn't, it doesn't really matter because what I love about what you're describing is this is everywhere. It's everywhere. It's literally everywhere. How does one persuade someone, Hey, this is a better way to live. This is worth it. Speaker 2 00:45:33 So I think the reason we shy away from the upper, right, that is the real flourishing. Probably everyone listening to this has experienced at some moment. Exactly. I don't know why our first parents chose it. Exactly. We get some clues in Genesis three, but I know why the rest of us choose it. It's because we've also experienced the lower right. Which is suffering. Yes. So we have been in situations where we could not act and we were incredibly exposed to pain, to loss. And we also, because we're human, which means we have these incredible imaginative capacities. We haven't just experienced them in reality, in our past story that we all have. But we also imagine that and we fear it. We grieve it and we are so averse to going to that corner. And that's why we go for the control corner because the control corner says you won't ever have to experience that, that level of vulnerability, again, vulnerability without authority. So even though we might know that the upper right is better, we so fear the lower right. That we will grab the upper left if we can get it. So how do you persuade someone not to do that? Speaker 3 00:46:44 Yeah. Because exactly what you described, they look at their life. They can go. Yeah. I tried in some ways that cost me for this relationship. I tried for that job. I planted a church. Yeah. Or at least I thought I did. I tried to, and I was so exposed. Speaker 2 00:47:07 Right, exactly. Speaker 3 00:47:09 That it became embarrassing. And even the thought of it creates sadness. So then I found a way to live really in either of the two, Speaker 2 00:47:23 You can go up to control, but you can also just go down to withdrawal Speaker 3 00:47:27 Absurd, do this other thing. Speaker 2 00:47:29 Yeah. So you asked how do you persuade someone? I'm not sure I would attempt to persuade someone, but I do think there's a way out. And it's basically having a great high priest, so you can capitalize those letters. And of course we know it refers to Jesus and it has a theological, but try not to capitalize the letters like what you need when you have been in suffering is someone who will come alongside you in your incapacity, in your lack of authority and be there with you. And actually this is what priests in a way do, because when you think about our relationship to the divine, can I just waltz into the presence of God confidently with lots of authority? No, not if I'm honest, right? I'm actually scared. I'm averse to even going into that sanctuary. I'm afraid of what might happen to me. Speaker 2 00:48:19 I'm afraid of what I bring into that room. And the priest accompanies me in that incapacity and says, I will make a way for you to have authority, even in your humanness, even in your frailty. Right? So you need someone who's priestly with you that is who comes and dwells with you in the suffering. This is what my friends did when they prayed for me. When I couldn't write that, that was the image I had in my mind. They, I mean, they literally sat down with me in my, I mean, we're sitting behind this little artificial plant plastic, um, they're grieving, they're crying. They're they are down with me in my incapacity. So that's the priest. And then I'm just playing this out. I've never actually tried to play this out in quite this way, but let's try it like a high priest, uh, is not just any ordinary new person. Speaker 2 00:49:10 You do need someone who like comes from a place of trust in God and says, I know what it's like to be where you are. And I believe there's a reality beyond it. And I'm going to be with you in this, but I'm also going to take you out of it by the grace of God. And they need to be great at that. So like great high priest in our lives. Yes. Because if you do not head on deal with that loss and shame, you will always be seeking the left side of the graph and you'll do it in very clever ways if you're a clever person, but you'll always be fleeing the vulnerability. But if you have a great high priest who in every way has been tempted, has known suffering and loss who has wept. I mean, just to start with, was born as a baby and infinite vulnerability of the human baby, uh, who is a refugee. Speaker 2 00:50:05 I mean, we could go on and on, right. Then there's a way out. This is the work that we get to do at practice. We work with entrepreneurs. Most of whom have this story. Now they're very high capacity people by the nature of who ends up in our program and they've had success, but all of them are carrying this lower right also. And all of them on their bad days are stuck there or have on their bad days, have quested after the upper left or the lower left, the control or the withdrawal. And the very mysterious thing is you go to the pain, like you might think like, well, no, let's give a pep talk. Like, you know, get out, get out of it, inspires them. Speaker 3 00:50:44 Yeah. Vision and inspiration. You're better than this. Yeah. Whatever. Speaker 2 00:50:49 Right. And in fact, the greatest gift you can give someone is to say, no, no, let's talk about how much that hurt. I was with someone. And this is one of these moments where you just, the holy spirit comes into these moments, right? And this was a founder. You could just tell what's in so much pain. I'm going to be careful how I describe this. So I don't give any identification. Cause it's a wholly confidential moment. I found myself led to say, I said, I think there's lots of kinds of suffering, but the deepest suffering for a leader is betrayal. And the person kind of crumpled because that was their experience. And then they looked up and then we started to talk about it. And that worst thing, which had happened in a very concrete way that I could not possibly have known in the previous 12 months was now on the table. And we were able to mourn it and lamented and be angry about it. And there was a lot more work that had to do. But I happened to have just seen this person recently on a zoom call and almost unrecognizable countenance from that moment where we finally named the thing that was leading them to withdraw and to fear, Speaker 3 00:51:56 That's a really good observation in that. The thing you're saying is that you live in the flourishing quadrant. If you have high priest is a language you're using. But the thing you used earlier is just the community, friends, people that walk with me, Speaker 2 00:52:07 It's just the same thing really, Speaker 3 00:52:10 Truly. And they call greatness out of me. They also walk with me in pain. It would also make sense why betrayal then is like, Speaker 2 00:52:19 Oh, Speaker 3 00:52:19 The worse, because the very thing you need, oh my gosh, is the very thing that you end up paying with, which makes it hard to trust again, where to believe again, we allow someone in again in order to do the next thing and you know, well, you know, for, for us in the vineyard, of course, a lot of our field is pastoring. Yep. So, you know, the work of trusting people in doing ministry, I don't know anyone that's done pastoring for more than a week that, that hasn't experienced. Speaker 2 00:52:59 Yeah. Speaker 3 00:53:02 Maybe I'm just confessing my own pain now. But, but, but, but yeah, it hasn't experienced the kinds of betrayals you're describing and that I had a very good friend say to me, the longevity of your ministry will be measured and how you can continue to trust people Speaker 2 00:53:19 Completely. Speaker 3 00:53:21 That is it. It won't be your gifts. It won't be how well you position yourself to make sure that thing doesn't happen again. Right. Cause that's what we tend to do. How do I make it so that, which in one sense is wisdom, right? But in another sense, it's a form of protection. I'm not going to be vulnerable again. I'm going to find a way to not ever have to be hurt again and do this thing better. Speaker 2 00:53:47 There's an interesting line. I forget the exact context and the gospel of John, or it says Jesus did not entrust himself to them because he knew what was in man. And he did. And he didn't need that. I forgot exactly how it finishes, but I think this is the very mysterious work of wisdom and leadership is that it is to come to terms with the crooked heart of oneself and one's neighbor and one's partner and one's colleague not to trust in them. I think what it means is he didn't rely on them for his identity, his security, his ultimate flourishing in a way they were not God to him. But of course we look at Jesus's life and he opened himself entirely to friends and to hurt and to grief. And so how we hold those two together is the essential thing. I feel like I should mention the other because we're sort of very close to the other thing that became clear after finishing the book. Speaker 3 00:54:51 Gimme, gimme another break. Well, Speaker 2 00:54:53 So we've talked about priest. So the priest is the one who meets you in the lower, right? When you were in suffering, the priest meets you there and actually restores authority to you in a way that you could never do for yourself. So there's two other corners we need to be saved from, right? There's the upper left, the control or exploiting corner. And then there's the lower left, which is the safety or withdrawal corner. Well, it dawned on me and a friend. I forget, I wish I could remember which friend it was cause I'd like to give him credit. But talking about this one day, we're like, oh, these corresponds to the other two offices of leadership in Israel. So is they're all kind of famously had three offices of leadership. The priest was one, but then the prophet and the king prophet priest and king are the three kind of forms that divinely sanctioned leadership in Israel ends up taking. Speaker 2 00:55:40 So the prophet is really clear. The prophet is the one who goes to the person in the upper left. The person who's trying to maintain control through power through abuse. Cause you only stayed there in subtle or very, very tangible ways by exploiting and using other people and confronts those in the upper left. Um, the perpetrators of injustice and idolatry and says, this is not working. Actually, this is definitely not going to keep working and you need to repent, like, let me tell you a story about a guy who has one little lamb and his name and the prophet like intervenes in the life of those in the upper left. So, so that's the profits role. And then I think actually the role of the king in Israel was to live the flourishing life of authority and vulnerability before the people so that they would be drawn out of that lower left corner of safety withdrawal and drawn into the fullness of life they were made for. That's good. And so there's this interesting line actually in that same sequence that I was just alluding to where it says in the spring of the year, the time when Kings go out to war, David stayed in Jerusalem. So David stays in this kind of Citadel of control when he's supposed to be out being vulnerable, to lead a people into conflict at the borders of your nation is not as vulnerable, right? It's authority and vulnerability. It's what a king is supposed to do, not Speaker 3 00:56:56 To lead us. Exactly. And it's going to be risky. Speaker 2 00:56:59 And for whatever reason, he's not, no, thanks. Not out there. And, and instead he ends up in this extremely exploitative transaction, right? So the king is meant to live this fullness of life. So the three corners each have kind of a redemptive leadership role that has to be played for people to come out of that. Now the further kind of crazy thing. So we started to say, well, why don't we have this in our world? Actually, we came to realize we have false versions of all three of prophet precincts in our communities and in our own hearts. And they are, instead of profits, we have critics instead of priests we have, and I use this word carefully in so priests, we have victims, right? People who are defined by their victimization. And then instead of Kings, we have celebrities. So the thing about the critic, the victim and the celebrity is the critic sees all the ways in which you're exploiting, but doesn't believe you can change. Speaker 2 00:57:58 The critic has no hope for your change. The prophet has hope if you repent. There's another way. If you repent, there's real life ahead. The priest says, yes, you have suffered. You have been a victim, but you don't have to stay here. You can be raised up. You can stand up and present yourself before God and others as a full restored human. And then the celebrity, unlike the king says, oh, watch me live this amazing life, but not in a way that causes you to in any way grow or develop. You're going to get to stay down in the lower left corner, which is like the consumerism corner. Watch me do amazing things, but not in any way. That's going to call you up into the Royal life for which you're made as an image bearer of God. So in a world where we desperately need profit precinct gangs, we have a whole lot of critics, victims of celebrities. And the job of leadership is to be the real thing, not the fall. Speaker 3 00:58:49 So do you think we bounce between those things or we have to just go find those things. Like if I'm a leader, I hear what you say. Do I have the capacity to be all three? Speaker 2 00:59:00 Uh, I would tend to think so. You know, the Christological insight is that while these offices were allocated to different people in Israel, Jesus somehow holds them all together. He has all of those. And so in so far as we are leading in his image, I think we will need to develop the capacity to play all those roles to some extent. But I also think reality is probably all of us gravitate to one role or another to some extent, and some ways growth for us is adding the others to our repertoire because there's actually nothing worse than needing a priest and having a prophet show up. Yes, Speaker 3 00:59:36 But Speaker 2 00:59:37 Yes, but there's nothing worse for a system that's corrupt or broken to need a profit and only have priests or even people who fancy themselves Kings. So, so maturity involves rounding out of like maybe I'm inclined toward harmony and compassion and accompaniment. So I'm inclined to the priestly, but I need to learn to confront because sometimes that's what's required or maybe I am really good at confronting, but I need to have compassion on people and understand the lament that drives them to that upper left. I think we have to exercise all three, but it is probably also true that the reason we need the body of Christ as different ones of us will naturally express those different roles, uh, in different Speaker 3 01:00:18 Well, and I have to go get the thing that I don't have to is what I hear you describing. You know, when you didn't know you needed two friends buying a plastic plant, but you did, and you did avail yourself to it. Somehow you said, I need help right now. Somebody helped me. And I'm also struck that king category, you know, sometimes leaders think of themselves as humble when they don't do things. Speaker 2 01:00:49 Yes. Speaker 3 01:00:50 Right. So they think, oh, I'm demonstrating my humility by not doing something. And I mean, who knows if you interviewed David in that moment, maybe he's like, oh, I'm going to let the other guys do their thing. I get they're good enough. Speaker 2 01:01:06 Battlefields, let him flourish. I'm a dad. I'm a delegator. I totally, Speaker 3 01:01:11 Totally. And I do think a lot of leaders definitely in ministry, especially are either unaware of celebrity culture. So they do stupid things or they're afraid of it or averse to it. Right. So how do we read them? Speaker 2 01:01:28 I mean, this is, so you do have to come to the point of maturity where you realized that kingly role and obviously men and women both can play this role, that Royal role, you have to get to the point of maturity where you realize this is actually a sacrifice. This is an act of offering, not, this is not something that's going to benefit me per se. I mean, yes, I'm called to a life of flourishing. Like everyone is, and God will graciously provide more of that. I deserve. But stepping into that kingly role, that public role where you live out, the fullness of life in front of others is us act of serving, not benefiting. And with that proviso, because a lot of people do try to do it for their own benefit. It is absolutely essential. Like you need to be visible each of us by sitting down for this in a small way, but a, an important way for your community defender and what you're stewarding you and your role with the vineyard. Speaker 2 01:02:26 You're stepping out into public, we're turning. We could have a nice private conversation and it would, might be very edifying. And there are other settings in which we would very appropriately do that, but there's also a place for putting it out in public. And I have a story that his mind is share in certain respects. And I share it publicly because it's a story of flourishing. It's a story of the goodness of God, right? And if I don't share it, I'm not actually fulfilling my vocation as a leader. And you know, part of me would rather sit at home and not, not have to do interviews and not talking about and not also not take vulnerability. So the thing is you've always got to be pushing toward that upper right where this is not just a chance for me to exercise authority, right? Oh, well, I wrote a book. Speaker 2 01:03:12 I know a lot. I've used this framework a lot. I need to Nim as we talk. I'm one thing that's happening in my mind and heart continually, as we talk is what's the right risk for me to take here. Right? What's the right vulnerability. So I'm not just going to come with canned answers for you or a set of talking points that I'm very comfortable in. I'm going to take the risk of trying to tell stories in a different way or a more truthful way than I've told them before. I'm going to let you ask questions that I don't know the answer to, right? Because we're trying to live out authority and vulnerability here, but this is what leadership is and you're right. I mean, because it is sacrifice actually, it's not actually such great, delightful joy. I mean, that's vacation. That is the cruise ship and there's a place for Sabbath and rest and enjoyment of the world. Speaker 2 01:03:57 And you know, there will be a season of our lives where probably we aren't called to this, but for now, when you're in this role, you gotta be on stage and you need to be out front. And I do see a reticence among Christians in particular, under the guise of humility and servant-hood and so forth to not do that. I'm like, no, no people need leaders. Yes. We need to lead. And we need to do that boldly and joyfully. And then also be able to weep with those who weep and also be able to do the prophetic work Speaker 3 01:04:27 One. And I think your observation is good because we see the negative categories. We don't want to be that. Cause we don't have an imagination for a positive version within that quadrant that enables us to move toward the upper. Right. But I think you've given us a good image. Those are good images. And sounds like, you know, you have another book. So one book had a chapter that led to this book has a chapter that leads to another book. You have, you have roles, you have offices, you have ways of instructing and challenging people toward change, inviting those influences into their own life. Yeah. There's, there's a lot of really practical, concrete thoughts there. And uh, I've really appreciated time talking to you too. Can we come talk to you again sometime? Okay. See, I got, I got you on the record while we were recording. Speaker 4 01:05:22 Yeah. I've embraced a new level of vulnerability. I thought this was just 45 minutes. Speaker 3 01:05:30 Yes you have. And uh, I take, I take those very seriously, but seriously, I really do appreciate the time. This is really powerful and I know it's really going to help, uh, the vineyard because man, the, that access and even just listening, like I'm listening for myself right now. And I think even listening to you, I can identify places maybe in areas of ministry or in relationships, not just like in a totality, but even maybe in a role like as a husband or as a parent or within our team or within my own local church, within my friendships from point, you know, I think I'm actually living in this quadrant and this is an invitation to flourishing will require one or two or many things at the same time. It gives us a lot to think about and our relationships, our roles, our gifts. So it's real, it's, I'm really grateful that you were willing to lay on the ground and be sad and cry. Right. And then rewrite it and bite editing truly because your effort is bearing fruit for life. So thank you very much, indeed. Speaker 0 01:06:38 Okay. Speaker 1 01:06:43 Did we? Our vineyard podcast is a production from the team at vineyard USA. If you've been enjoying the podcast, here's a few ways you can help us leave us a review on the podcast platform of your choice. This helps more people find us connect with us online for additional resources. Our website is vineyard usa.org, and we're on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at, at vineyard USA. Thanks for listening. See you next week.

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