Well, I am writing my second blog entry which is one more than I had planned on doing, but I think one of the biggest struggles of this is narrowing my thoughts enough to speak specifically and adequately about a topic. That's one of many reasons I titled this one "Preliminary Thoughts." First, I do not know if I will do the topic of pride justice. Second, I can never fully speak on this subject as no one can. Third, I doubt this will be the last time I write on this myself. I think that subconsciously I have butchered the idea of what kind of leader God has called me to be. I don't mean in the sense of being obedient, but rather, I think I have seen a leader as someone who is a man of integrity and can confidently display who God is to others. This may not be a bad definition, but it is missing essential parts. If following Christ made you into a role model for everyone and Time's Person of the Year, we would see a larger percentage of people looking to the Bible for life guidance. I think somewhere along the path I began to subconsciously eat from this dish and decisions were made on what "society would deem Christ-like and good" rather than "what is Christ convicting me to do or say." I have been reading through Luke this year and recently read the passage on Zacchaeus (most are familiar but if you are not the story can be found in Luke 19). There are many interpretations of this story and I had heard it many times. But during this read I realized something: Jesus' decision to stay at Zacchaeus' house was a sacrifice of pride and reputation on many levels. The more obvious sacrifice is the fact that Zacchaeus is a tax-collector and was considered a sinner. For Jesus to ask to stay at his house was a shocking statement to the crowd. However, the bigger moment for me was the fact that Jesus did not ask Zacchaeus to stay in His house, but rather, asked for Zacchaeus to house HIM and prepare a meal. If Jesus were to have served Zacchaeus, the crowd and readers today might've rested a bit more as the idea of a serving God serving the lowest makes sense and seems kind in an American culture. But that's not what happened. The Son of Man saw a betraying, cheating, resented man and saw him as a contributor to the Kingdom and asked to step into his world and meet him where he was at. It deems appropriate in today's culture for a pastor to invite in underprivileged individuals to a church service. People would take a second look, however, if that pastor went into the neighborhoods and spent the weekend with a family there. Yet, if you took both situations and laid them side by side, I would argue that the latter held the most value to the desired population. In order to take on a situation like that, there must be a disconnect to our idea of what a leader looks like, and an intentional connect to the next step offered by our Lord. There is a lot more I would like to say in this one that has been hinted at (viewing others as God does, restraining inevitable hypocrisy, the joy found in a journey vs destination), but I will save those for a later date. I think for now the idea of throwing away my perception of leadership, and removing the weight I have given myself in leadership by no longer leading, but following the leader (Jesus), will keep a man busy for a while. I still don't know if these will ever be read by anybody, but if there comes a day when they are, I look forward to feedback and thoughts. As my dad says, "people only know what they know," and I hope to continue to readjust my perspective as I hear and learn from others. In the meantime, be well.