DBU Oxford Seminar Day 1

Key themes encountered:

“Just keep moving”

Ancient and modern at the same time

Incarnational Sacrifice

            In Oxford. Just two days before, we were sitting in the basement of Nation Hall at Dallas Baptist University discussing ideas of globalization and its manifestation in relation to leaders and concepts of leadership, and we discussed English reformers as a “foreign” concept. Not ironical, it is the very ideas and narratives that flowed from England’s most notable reformers and off her soil to the other side of the world that bring us to this European island to dive into these ideas with a lens of global and incarnational leadership. Yet we are not naïve to the fact that ideas from our side of “the pond” – cultural and political – have had their own influence on the culture and politics of the United Kingdom.

            Aside from concepts of culture and politics which are often carried over to different regions of the world via the waves of globalization, concepts and figures of leadership find their way over too. We can all think of someone from our own town and community who we admire; yet, is that person admired or even thought of in a different part of the globe? It is not an insult to anyone who has never been featured outside of a local newspaper, but there are individuals, those who have completed and embodied some idea of a nobler task, whose fame and admiration transcend boundaries of time, language, culture, and geography. Individuals such as Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer who faced intense persecution to the point of death so that they might be true to conscience, more so, true to God.

            Did their complete allegiance to the Law on the hearts mean more to them than “body and blood?” Body and blood; I imagine this is how we begin to frame a concept of incarnational leadership. It is an image of a person whose sweat and tears, life and toil, are the price paid to see the complete fruition of their assignment. Body and blood are not so much valued less than the object of their faith, rather it is of equal value and the full expense of obtaining that object.

            Usually one’s understanding of sacrificing for the greater good is the concept of losingsomething in order to get something of more value. Perhaps this notion is wrong and a simple shift of nuance can bolster our understanding. The nuance being that sacrifice is givingsomething, but not only something, giving what is required – the full price – so that we, or others, might enjoy an item worthyof the price paid in flesh and blood. 

            Leaders of such caliber who embody their beliefs and cause to the fullest are rare, but they are always remembered. Fame, of course, is not the noble aim of a leader, yet the full expression and personification of a leader toward his cause is sure to bring about that which is noble and worthy, such as greater expressions of love, joy, peace, justice, and truth on God’s green earth. My prayer is that I can be such a leader, one who incarnates a God-given vision, a Spirit-inspired word, and a Kingdom-centered mission.