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Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Dance of Freedom and Honour

Over the last few months I have used the image of dance as a picture of how leadership and church community can work, based on the dance (perichoresis) of the Trinity - see here for examples. Like all illustrations, it breaks down at places; you can't use it as a prescriptive model, just as an evocative image.

In the stuff I've been writing on recently about releasing gifting within the body while still honouring leadership and the rest of the church community, the picture of the dance can help us. In dancing, balance is really important, especially when two or more are dancing with each other, as they have to get the right equipoise as they move together. In a church community a person desiring the freedom to exercise their gift, may over-reach, fail to respond to a leader who is trying to choreograph the dance of the whole group, think they can do more than they can at a particular point in the dance, and the equilibrium is lost. Equally if the leader is overpowering and dominating, and fails to liberate and empower, then the balance is also wrong. Either way, the dancers can end up in a messy pile on the floor, or with someone walking off the dance floor, nursing their bruises and injuries. Leaders must give people the freedom to discover and express their gift, but we must also honour the gift of leadership as it seeks to choreograph the dance.

This balance between freedom and honour is not just about leadership, but also about honouring each other in the community. We exercise freedom to express our gift but also honour the grace of God in others. And freedom is primarily given for us to serve one another (Gal.5:13). So to achieve the spiritual equipoise as we dance together, we don't focus on just our gift, or try to hog the limelight; we work with and value others, contributing our unique part but drawing out the best from others. And the aim is not just for individuals to look good, but for the whole dance to look amazing. The balance of freedom and honour is essential for this.

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