In 1926 J.W. Johnson penned these words in a classic “negro spiritual” as the songs of the era are called. The words hang heavily on a longing heart and ring true to the lonely struggles believers often face in a world in which they are alien. I think it is never more true than today and in no place more profoundly disquieting a feeling than America.
Most of us recognize the sudden shift that is happening / has happened under our feet .For most of us over 35 the world is forever changed and we know our children will live in a very different climate from the national and cultural America we were nurtured in. These changes have taken place on many fronts and this is not the point now .For the moment my consideration is that the keen sense of alienation and isolation many of us feel is deep and lasting and that it is intensifying . These words have rang truer and over and over in my mind…We are “a long way from HOME…a long way from home.”
On no level do I find myself more isolated than in the landscape of the household of faith and that is THE most perplexing and ironic of all. What has happened to the people of God? How have we lost clarity in a world where the lines of right and wrong should be the most glaringly defined? How have we become muted by political correctness when we have the words of eternal life which comprise the living water lost and broken souls around us thirst for? How did we lose our way in the cultural narrative when we have a divine and unchanging directive and imperative from the living God…”your are Salt and Light”? What has happened can only be blamed on spiritual leadership. WE preachers and pastors and ministers are to blame. We seem to have NO SHORTAGE of leadership focus or training -yet the great mystery is that we have less true Spiritual LEADERSHIP than ever.
Where did we get the idea that we are to be perpetually IN training ? The military does not do this- You graduate and then join the fight. Now our new leadership says there is not a fight .The new idea of leadership is to become a disciple of some secular guru and for ever be attending conferences or classes or training seminars . How stupid can we be? Do WE build the kingdom by earthy principles ? Does God work by human wisdom? Can lost puppies lead an army? Beloved I confess and cry out …God gives us leaders who are not sold out- distracted- fearful- or two faced. Give us people with clarity -preachers with a backbone – pews filled with leaders not followers and the wind of your Holy Spirit not the empty words of the latest parrot with a book to sell .Give us prophets lest we die- and do not leave us as orphans abandoned like motherless children by ministers who cannot tell the arm of the flesh from the power of the living God!
Four lepers with no credentials (2 Kings 7) came to the brave conclusion and virtually, by the sound of their determined footsteps, set the besieging army of the Syrians to flight – ended a famine and freed the people of God with this battle cry…”Why sit we hear til we DIE ?” – it can be done again . If the leadership has orphaned us to leave us hear to die then lets move forward with out them. Lost puppies- pastor ,elder, teacher , leadership trainer , move out or get out..of the way.