I came across this article earlier today sharing some thoughts on how HBO’s series “The Wire” might be incredibly relevant for those of us who are leaders within the church. Whether clergy or lay, paid or volunteer, what can we learn from one of the grittiest TV shows in recent memory?
In his article, Wesley Hill argues that for those of us involved in the institutional church, there’s much to be learned from a show that is, as its creator puts it, is “cynical about institutions, and about their capacity for serving the needs of the individual.”
We may not always agree, and the stories of drug riddled inner-city Baltimore may be far from home for many of us, but this show might cause us to think about the ways in which our own institutional structures help or hinder the mission we claim as our own.
I’m hard pressed to think of a more acute commentary on the task of Christian leadership and institutional efforts at community renewal than that. In our churches and ministry organizations, we can’t promise people “answers” per se. We can’t be saviors and messiahs. But what we can promise is faithfulness, perseverance and truth-telling. We can work for a better future filled with peace, justice and equity even if, in the meantime, it looks for all the world as if we’re failing spectacularly.
So what do you think? Where do you find hope, this advent season? As a leader, how do you keep pressing on towards a better future, even if, from time to time, it appears as though things are falling down all around you? How can we continue to press on in the midst of an ever-changing culture and the absence of certainty?