Authority & Vulnerability
Andy Crouch—Partner for Theology & Culture at Praxis
ANDY CROUCH SHOWS US THAT TO FLOURISH AS people, WE NEED TO EXPERIENCE BOTH AUTHORITY AND VULNERABILITY—AND TO HELP OTHERS EXPERIENCE THEse as well.
True human flourishing requires both authority (capacity to take meaningful action) and vulnerability (exposure to meaningful risk). Though we might naturally think that flourishing consists of maximum authority with the least possible vulnerability, that's not the way God has created us. We need both authority and vulnerability to fulfill our purpose and participate in his redemptive work in the world.
In this talk based on his book Strong and Weak, Andy points us to Jesus as the ultimate example of living in full authority, as the son of God, and full vulnerability, in dying on the Cross. He shows us how we can be more faithful image bearers in our leadership in general—and in our entrepreneurial journey in particular.
OPEN IN PRAYER
WATCH (23 min)
REFLECT (3-5 min)
Spend five minutes in silence, praying and reflecting on the videos. Ask participants to jot down questions that were raised, significant key points, where they felt encouraged or challenged by the Lord, etc.
DISCUSS (45 min)
1. Is there a time in your life where you experienced true flourishing? Or perhaps you have witnessed someone else flourishing? Was there someone with high authority and high vulnerability present in that moment?
2. Which quadrant do you find yourself in most often: Exploiting (avoiding vulnerabilities), Suffering (lacking capacity for meaningful action) or Withdrawing (avoiding both risk and action), and why?
3. Crouch renamed the lower left quadrant “Withdrawal,” likening it to a state of a long cruise: not having to be troubled with the violence, poverty and injustice of the world. Why would he describe the opposite of flourishing as a "cruise"? What are practical steps one could take to move out of this quadrant and into true flourishing?
4. Crouch argues that every leader must live with hidden vulnerabilities, but no one survives it without friends who know and understand. How have you seen this to be true in your life?
5. Crouch asserts that “leadership is the stewardship of vulnerability”. Where might you be escaping vulnerability in your life? What are some practical ways to surrender authority and step into a life of meaningful risk (increased vulnerability)?
PROTOTYPE (3 min)
Implement your answer from Question 5 in your daily life. Here's a few suggestions to get the ideas flowing:
Ask peers, superiors, mentors for true evaluations/constructive criticism
Delegate - allow others to receive the credit and risk that they will fail you
Seek out friends who ask hard questions
Use one’s authority to recognize and address failure quickly instead of conceal and minimize failure
Prototype additional spiritual disciplines, such as solitude, silence, and fasting. It is in these disciplines that we learn what we are addicted to, or enslaved by, opening ourselves up to vulnerabilities that we have ignored or denied.
END IN PRAYER
FINISHED THIS SESSION?
Andy Crouch, Playing God, "Exploration: Genesis 1–2" and "Power is a Gift" (p. 29–53)
Andy Crouch, Strong and Weak, Ch 1: "Beyond the False Choice" (p. 9–26)
Andy Crouch, Strong and Weak, Ch 2: "Flourishing" (p. 27–4)