Pernell Goodyear writes (with some prompting from Alan Roxburgh in his books The Sky Is Falling: Leaders Lost in Transition and The Missionary Congregation, Leadership, and Liminality (Christian Mission and Modern Culture)) that there are three worlds in which a missional leader must live: poet, prophet, and apostle. I was drawn in by the post title alone.

As Pernell points out, Len Hjalmarson discusses these three types of leadership (along with the pastor) in his review of The Sky is Falling). Pernell’s initial post gives a quick overview of the three types of leadership — or three worlds, as he calls it — and then sets out to discuss each of the three in their own upcoming post, beginning with the poet Telling The Story Of Jesus. Mark Berry adds to Pernell’s discussion with the notion of a missional bard, “a teller of stories, a keeper of rhythm and rhyme, a connection to the ancients, a setter of truths into saga’s and meaning into episodes, a synthesis between now and then, between this world and the other, between hopes and dreams, a guardian of wisdom, a link to the heartbeat of the earth, a reader of the heavens.” A tall order, but…

I like it. In some ways, I find a kind of peace in the whole thing, a simple understanding of my failure to fit into past molds I’ve tried. I wonder if it isn’t just too much poet in me. Not that I’m poetic in the classical sense (though I’ve always loved poetic justice), but poets and mystics are often closely associated, and eccentric poets is almost a cliche. The poet is on the edge, not well-understood, holding a “peculiar” position in society… those who think much and say (or write) only a little, and often with a different viewpoint. Nonstandard thought, sometimes speaking for a folk culture that doesn’t even fully recognize its own voice in that of the poet — at least, not until much later, perhaps after it’s too late.

For some reason I’m thinking about the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca (who doesn’t really look like Andy Garcia) and the movie Dead Poets Society. And a dash of Calvin Miller’s The Singer.

The voice of a people who no longer recognize their own voice. Hmmm. I wonder….

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