Reviews

About the author

avatar

Jane Gibb

Jane and her husband Steve ministered at Trinity Baptist Church in Cairns, Australia for fourteen years before moving to serve as missionaries in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Jane has a bachelor of education. Jane is active in ministry in Vanuatu as well as being a busy mother of six.

18 Comments

  1. avatar

    Jane Gibb

    Oops, I forgot to mention that the Harvey Dent story comes from the Batman movie “Dark Knight.”

    Reply
  2. avatar

    David Milson

    On behalf of others, thanks for the clarification Jane. I imagine the people most likely to be made uneasy by your remarks would be the ones least likely to admit to having watched that or other movies.

    Reply
  3. avatar

    Jeremy

    I’ve watched the Batman movies and love them.

    Thanks Jane

    Reply
  4. avatar

    Kez

    “Why do we lift up leaders in our churches as if they have a corner on Christianity that the rest of us can only wish for?  What can we do to create a Christian culture where it is safe to fail?  How can we nurture transparency in relationships all the way from kids in Sunday school to the pastor in the pulpit?  How can our responses to sin flesh-out the truth that God’s grace not only touches our weakness and failures but is purposefully tailored to our humanness?”

    I loved this paragraph!! Thank you, Jane!! =)

    Reply
  5. avatar

    Kez

    Just re-read this post again! It is seriously excellent the whole way through!! Thank you very very much for being willing to write this stuff out loud! It’s a real blessing to me! =)

    Reply
  6. avatar

    Jane Gibb

    So Kez (or anyone else)…can you suggest any answers for that list of questions?

    Reply
  7. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Here’s my two cents…

    Why do we lift up leaders in our churches as if they have a corner on Christianity that the rest of us can only wish for?

    I think it’s a result of our inherently legalistic human nature. The leaders do it out of pride. But the followers want them to do it. We cherish the idea that we can work our way into God’s favour. But all but the most arrogant of us realise that we’re not succeeding. So at least we like to think of our leaders as having achieved what we’re just not strong enough to achieve.

    What can we do to create a Christian culture where it is safe to fail?

    Admit failure often and openly. Show grace to others who fail. Ultimately, preach the gospel over and over and over and over again… not the simple, toothless one. But the dangerous one actually meets us where we live in our brokeness and failure.

    How can we nurture transparency in relationships all the way from kids in Sunday school to the pastor in the pulpit?

    It’s got to start with the pastor in the pulpit.

    How can our responses to sin flesh-out the truth that God’s grace not only touches our weakness and failures but is purposefully tailored to our humanness?

    By admitting our sins and failures often and openly. By showing grace to those who sin. By pointing sinners to the grace of God again and again. By confronting those who think they don’t need grace with their self-righteousness. By preaching the gospel carefully and in the context of these issues… just like Paul does in Romans.

    Reply
  8. avatar

    Jane Gibb

    Great ideas, Jason. In response to #3, what if the pastor is not on board? Can a grassroots transparency permeate the church with any effectiveness? In small groups, in Sunday school classes, in informal fellowship? Is there a way to win “big man” style pastors to more authenticity, more openness?

    Reply
  9. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Good question… I don’t know.

    I suppose if the “big man” style pastor is genuinely in pursuit of living out the gospel, they will resonate with others who demonstrate it.

    On the other hand, if a “big man” style pastor is a bully, he will be emboldened by what he will percieve as weakness.

    Reply
  10. avatar

    Jeremy Crooks

    This is gold Jane and Jason.

    I think in order to build a grassroots transparency, we need to unlearn so much about the way we view church. Even though we are not Catholic, we still practice our relationship with Christ via the man in the pulpit.

    I pray for pastors who not only say every member is a minister, but in practice empower all Christians to grow deeply and directly with Jesus.

    Reply
  11. avatar

    Cristy Mock

    I think transparency is necessary and important. I’ve seen times when my own transparency has been a huge encouragement to someone. They realized that the pastor’s wife isn’t Miss Perfect who has it all together and they can never be like her. But the difficulty lies in the fact that transparency requires trust. It’s hard to be transparent with someone you don’t trust. There’s risk involved when we’re transparent. What if they use our failures against us? What if they tell someone else about our failures? Are we supposed to air out our dirty laundry to just anyone and everyone?

    In regards to transparency starting in the pulpit, I find it difficult enough to be transparent with someone one-on-one. How much more difficult must it be for a pastor to show transparency to a whole congregation full of people and often to people who have placed on him unfair expectations of perfection. How can one place that expectation on a pastor when they are not willing to do the same?

    Reply
  12. avatar

    Kez

    @Cristy, I agree a pastor shouldn’t have to be perfect, but I think he should be held at a higher level of accountability because of his higher level of authority and responsibility. He is supposed to lead and show Christ’s example to his congregation and if he’s not transparent than how can he do that? To quote Spiderman, (since we’re on a superhero theme =P) “With great power comes great responsibility.” A pastor who chooses to step up to a position of authority needs to be prepared for the higher accountability and and the greater level of responsibility that is part of that. Transparency is one of the most important things a pastor needs to have with his congregation. I’m not sure you can have much trust without transparency… In my opinion. For what it is worth.

    Reply
  13. avatar

    Jason Harris

    @Cristy,

    Transparency is the admission of imperfection.

    Perfection and transparency are mutually exclusive. In other words, either you pretend you’re perfect or you admit you’re not. The first minimises the gospel. The second magnifies it.

    Reply
  14. avatar

    Jane Gibb

    @Cristy-Good questions!

    Airing dirty laundry and transparency are not the same thing. Sometimes detailed public admissions of sin can be Too Much Information and unhelpful to our growth as a body. If the pastor (or anyone) is to be transparent, he should
    –openly admit when he doesn’t know the answer to a doctrinal or practical question
    –freely share that he is also learning and growing, that he hasn’t arrived yet
    –admit when the Holy Spirit (or another person) has truly confronted him about an issue in his life and that he needs to change
    –frequently ask for input and feedback from his congregation and show by his humble responses (not defensive!) that he takes other people’s opinions seriously
    –publicly admit his wrongdoing when the wrongdoing is widely known (if he has shown arrogance or intolerance from the pulpit, for example, or mishandled a public situation and hurt people by doing so)

    There are probably a lot more ideas than I have listed here. Anyone else have input?

    Reply
  15. avatar

    Jane Gibb

    @Jason and Jeremy re grassroots transparency affecting the pastor:

    Doesn’t it all boil down to whether the pastor is a teachable and humble man? Personal pride at a leadership level greatly inhibits trust and transparency. And when that pride is “justified” with spiritual reasons (such as his position in the church or his superior understanding of the Bible), it is that much harder to confront. Keep praying, Jeremy.

    Reply
  16. avatar

    Alen

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, I guess it’s because I’m a major fan of the Batman film :)

    I guess the reasons for scandals to be swiped aside can come from protecting the white knight image but I feel that this isn’t necessarily the case. What I’ve seen more is that people are too quickly forgiving.

    Some of you may be aware of Ted Bundy, a serial killer who raped and murdered 35 women and who became a “born again Christian” before his death. He even gave a testimony blaming pornography for his violent urges Christians came flocking to his side urging for his sentence to be reconsidered. I doubt Mr Bundy failed to see this outcome of his profession of faith.

    Likewise, it’s been my experience to see men forgiven almost instantly with no penalty. No pause is considered for those who’ve committed crimes and shown little if any repentance.

    Alongside this, there is often the despicable propensity to blame the victim or demonize them so that no one will take anything you say with credibility. Having been in this situation myself, I can testify to how effective it can be.

    I think a more “discerning” attitude with regards to how to “forgive” and a less hostile approach to victims (if there are any) will result in good for everyone involved.

    Anyways, food for thought..

    Reply
  17. avatar

    Jane Gibb

    Thanks for your comments, Alen. Perhaps we need a clear definition of forgiveness? We can never forget that the forgiveness God gives to us was very costly to HImself. It was not offered without deep suffering and true justice–but the suffering and justice was meted out on God’s own Son not us, the real criminals. When we forgive others their wrongs, we do it in the context of the forgiveness that God has given us at great cost. Justice was not overlooked; it was dispensed exactingly on Jesus Christ, our substitute.

    Having set the backdrop for forgiveness, we must see that forgiveness does not rule out consequences. Though Christ took our punishment, we live with the consequences of sin every day. SIckness, sadness, and becoming the victims of other people’s sin are all consequences of sin. So when a person in a position of trust fails to live up to that trust, the consequences involve withholding trust at least for a time. That applies to fallen leaders, child abusers, financial scammers–anyone who misuses the confidence that others have placed on them. This both provides a measure of protection for victims and sends a clear message that betrayal of trust is not taken lightly.

    It’s easy to put the abuser in one category and the victim in another. In truth we all stand condemned before God, desperately in need of His mercy. Grace is where Christ’s righteousness meets our deep sinfulness. That’s true for the perpetrator and the those injured by him. I think that is what Gal. 6:1 intends us to understand when those who are called to restore a fallen brother are reminded not forget their own frailty.

    Let’s guard ourselves against the self-righteousness that points the finger and fails to notice the other fingers pointing at itself.

    Reply
  18. avatar

    Jessica

    I’m coming in late, but want to thank you Jane and those who commented for your observations. As I was reading the comments the post on the lack of humility in leadership (in Christendom I think!) was what resounded with me most. I know humility is one of my deepest needs, as pride is one of my worst failures. Thank you for bringing that to our attention.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2005-2016 by InFocus. Powered by WordPress. Effective News theme by Themelions Team.