1. Tim L.
    September 5, 2012 @ 9:30 am

    Do you know any real people, fictional people, living people or dead people who have made choices to walk down the ladder?

    Aragorn, the rightful King of Gondor, guiding hobbits through the wilderness and tending their wounds. (Fellowship of the Rings, JRR Tolkein)
    Rich Mullins, giving up his fame/fortune in the Christian Music Industry to live, love and serve with indians (Rich Mullins: A Devotional Biography: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven, James Bryan Smith)
    Saint Fancis, Mother Theresa, “Rocky” Balboa in Rocky IV (leaving his house of luxury and training in a shack in the Siberian mountains)

    Most people dont go down the ladder because life seems better at the top. So what would motivate us to get on a down ladder?

    “…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God..” Hebrews 12
    “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his JOY he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13
    “…because of the HOPE laid up for you in heaven” Colossians 1

    What would it be like to join Jesus on a ladder that went down?

    Well, if “going up is like: more responsibility at work, a larger home, a better car…”, then going down is: less responsibility at work, downgrading (or staying with current) vehicles, living in a smaller home. That seems like a scary road/ladder to walk/climb down alone, or if this world were all that I could hope for (1 Cor 15:19). I look forward to working through my heart struggles (not believing in the JOY/Hope of Heaven enough to really climb) within my Restoration Small Group community.


  2. Tim L.
    September 5, 2012 @ 11:08 am

    I don’t know why that showed up as ALL CAPS. Maybe instead of “less responsibility at work” climbing down would look more like “not seeking my ultimate worth, identity and signifigance in what I accomplish at work.” This is a good question I am wrestling with. Maybe I need to go running…


  3. Ray Blunt
    September 5, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    Great, thoughtful questions, David. As always you provoke us to think Christianly. I have wrestled with the idea of descending to lead and to live for at lest 22 years since the Philippians passage hit me between my blind eyes. Working for these last eight years to try to tell the story of Wilberforce, Jefferson and the uneven ending of slavery, has helped me to articulate this somewhat better. William Wilberforce, and indeed all of the Saints, lived such lives of descending from where they could have easily grasped. Jefferson had the same opportunity but chose party over principle; lifestyle over setting his own slaves free; submission to a false idea (rationalism) rather than to the truth of Christ. The Saints ushered in an era (Victorian) in England and in politics that in comparison shames our own “land of liberty” at precisely the same time period. Somehow a monarchy/oligarchy achieved what we set out to do in the world’s first republican democracy.

    Jim Collins arrives at much the same conclusion through mining data on the most successful companies. He describes the few Level V leaders as exhibiting just what Christ showed us and taught and what Wilberforce and his colleagues lived–the twin characteristics of being deeply purpose-driven while also being transparently humble. All of these “great” companies and their leaders he writes of were materially successful, not obsequiously ‘umble like Uriah Heep. I would say almost any one of the leaders in Good to Great would resemble the downwardly mobile leader.and many were faithful Christians. Collins for all of his intelligence, cannot figure out, however, how to produce a humble, purpose-driven leader.

    I hope as we push out our efforts of mentoring the next generation, we could put these issues squarely on the table. In DC, if we are to impact the culture around us, these issues are among the most difficult that people coming up wrestle with daily. Keep encouraging us.


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