Reflection 3 – Transparency

One of the values that is very close to my heart is the idea of transparency. I firmly, firmly believe that the best way we can glorify God is by simply being ourselves. With that, I mean ‘warts and all.’ There is a strong temptation for those in leadership to pretend to be something they are not and this adds complication and stress which cannot be expressed outwardly and so ends up being unhealthily internalised. I try to be honest with the things that confuse me, honest about the things I don’t understand and direct about the things I believe to be unacceptable.

If a person is one thing on a Sunday and something else at home then there are issues of integrity. If I go around pretending I’m the absolute perfect Christian because I am an officer, then I do my people a dis-service. I know some officers who seem to be the soundest people you can come across, then you hear of a dramatic calamity where lives fall apart. I believe that if we can be open with our struggles then we don’t fall by failing to live up to our own realistic expectations.

Holiness is about transparency too…if I don’t allow my life to be transparent, then I will never be aware of the things that I need to let other believers see in me, so that they can then keep me accountable and encourage me to change. Transparency also enables the Christian to move deeper into Christ because they are more readibly willing to admit their failings, to be corrected, and to move on into further levels of submission to Jesus.

How do you become open? I don’t know. I learned it out of desparation. At my home corps as a boy, I had to be open because the body of Christ was the only safe place for me….it was the only place where I could get the support I needed. I didn’t hesitate about confessing the need for help in any particular area.

What am I saying? Simply that it is sometimes better to be open with our struggles than to pretend they don’t exist and tie ourselves in knots trying to live life bound up in keeping alive a lie. I hope I am making sense!

2 thoughts on “Reflection 3 – Transparency”

  1. That’s an interesting point, and one I’ve been taking on board since linking up in friendship with the Northumbria Community. Their vows pivot around the two principles of vulnerability and availability. Both of these hinge on trust, as does transparency.One of the best bits of advice I was given on how to survive in religious communities (where trust can certainly break down from time to time) is to always maintain friendships outside your own little niche in the church, but with believers outside your situation whom you really trust. Don’t these parameters of trust, transparency, authenticity, vulnerability, availability, define who we are? Are we different to the outside world? If so, how? Can we be a community where it is safe for people to live in trust with one another? They are a barometer of our ‘difference’and transformation as a community. A lot comes down to simple and teachable skills, like healthy communication, good pastoral care, and healthy decision making practices.Hence my passion for church health workshops….*goes back to work*

  2. I think that the sense of ‘self-preservation’ often keeps people from being open and transparent because being open is costly too. However, in our closed church communities,transparency must be modelled. If we are to see things change, then we can’t wait for places to be ‘safe’ before we live intentionally in community.

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