Hope and Envy: The Binds of Leadership, Part 2

This week on The Allender Center Podcast, Dan Allender continues a conversation with his friend and colleague Rachael Clinton to talk about the common binds faced by pastors and other Christian leaders, who are often expected to live without any complexities or flaws. Rachael is a pastor, teacher, therapeutic practitioner, and member of the Allender Center Teaching Staff. She also works as the Assistant Director of Admissions for Theology Programs for The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, where she graduated with a Master of Divinity.

“Nobody becomes a leader in a vacuum. So in many ways, leadership formation is happening within a relational context.”

As they discuss our tendency to repeatedly place leaders on pedestals, only to feel a sense of relief when they eventually fall off, Dan and Rachael engage the categories of hope and envy—the vicarious hope in believing that someone else is capable of living a full, happy, and holy life, and the envy that leads to a kind of relief when it turns out that our leaders are not, after all, more than human.

“I don’t know how we talk about this without talking about envy,” says Rachael.“Envy is so destructive. When you are envious of someone, you want something they have, but simultaneously with that you want to mar something of their goodness.”

Leaders are placed in the incredible bind between being deeply needed and also deeply resented.

For Rachael, this topic is a reminder that God has done something incredible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, but at the same time, the fullness of that has not been realized yet. How do we live in the tension of the broken now and the glorious not yet? “Do we really believe the Gospel is true?” she asks.

“Part of why we delight in seeing other people fall or fail is because we don’t know what to do with our own places that are still broken, that are still wounded, where the debris of our sin is still playing out all over our life.”

Next week, Dan and Rachael will conclude this series by discussing the beauty and necessity of authenticity. How do we live together, work together, and share stories together in a way that allows us to connect more deeply and to support those who need our support?