Under the weather for the past few days. Thanks to everyone who commented on this topic.
How’s the spectacle maintained? and what difference does it make. Since this whole thing is a conversation, not a dissertation, my thoughts will be fluid. In other words, no footnotes.
The spectacle of the CEO-pastor is maintained by constant deference to American Business culture and the legality of non-profit corporations.
We are inundated with conferences on ‘steps’ and ‘principles’ of leadership and management. The culture of North American churches is steeped in the language of corporatism. This is the air we breath. My contention is not that we live in this world. I am more concerned with the spectacle of the CEO-pastor as a possible un-just social relation that simply mirrors the social, political, economic inequities in our society. Where pastors hide under the ‘legality’ or ‘law’ of the CEO. As we learn from the deconstructionist ‘law’ oftentimes hides deeper structural injustices. Or as the apostle Paul once taught us: not the letter of the law but the spirit of the law. The law, it seems, oftentimes follows behind justice. I see the temptation of being swallowed up by narratives of competition, success, and acquisition that are counter the fruits of the Spirit. I am reminded some years ago when two large popular churches based in Atlanta had students in competition for ‘souls’ on their respective campuses. They saw themselves as part of competing camps or corporations striving to get the best part of the ‘soul’ market. Episodes like this are just an expression of the larger issue being discussed.
So…while many pastors point us to the legality of their positions as CEO-pastors there is a greater issue involved than the legality of their positions. The social, political, and economic relation of their positions to their churches and their larger communities.
I do not believe it is enough to point to the ‘legality’ of your ‘right’ to claim yourself a CEO. You must do the hard work of deconstruction and repentance. The hard work to see if your embracing of leadership philosophies from American Business culture are anti-thetical to the upside down kingdom of God.
Is your CEO-leadership style in harmony with the covenantal demands of God’s justice-making convenant? Solidarity with the oppressed, mercy, justice, love, shalom, vulnerability, reconciliation, charity, grace, etc..
Or do you maintain the spectacle of the CEO by hiding behind a mountain of leadership books, conferences, and Constitutional laws?