"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Muzzled Leaders

In 2010 Andrew Marin got himself in trouble for calling out a room full of Christian leaders. It was the best kind of trouble… black balled for saying what needed to be said.

Here’s what he said:

I stand silent to give dignity to a moment many Christians take for granted.

There are only a few sacred moments in one’s life—one of them is when you know in your heart that you’ve been set apart to dare to be remarkable by doing nothing other than believing in a just and powerful God.

The last great Roman satirical poet, Juvenal, commented about power by saying:

“But who is to guard the guards themselves?”

I am standing in a room with 600 gatekeepers to our faith. 600 influencers. 600 people that stand amongst and above the rest.

Maybe you don’t feel as such in your own mind.

But the Christian hierarchy proves different.

Jesus said that: “wisdom will be proven right by her actions.”

Well, our actions have only proven that ‘wisdom’ must be an elite group of predominantly white upper class individuals who care about their “Christian brands.”

I don’t care about your Christian brand, and neither does the Lord.

God says to Isaiah:

“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.

Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder.

The wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

You all are the best; you are all the brightest that our faith has. And yet where are your hearts with the gay community?

How have your tangible actions proven the Lord’s wisdom right?

Is the culture war it too political? Too divisive? Too scary? Too unknown to stop us from changing our medium of engagement with gays and lesbians.

In his famous speech apologizing to America after his sex scandal, Bill Clinton said:

“This has gone on too long, cost too much and hurt too many innocent people.”

Friends, I plead with you today that you stop being a gatekeeper and start acting like Jesus.


Every day I’m astounded at the silence of Christians who are in leadership positions. In the face of abuses, they are silent. In the face of corruption, they are silent. In the face of social injustices, they are silent.

Many define themselves by what they say on the platform. But I think their public silence defines them.

It’s easy to say “I’m minding my business” or “I don’t want to risk hurting my organization.

But the silence gives permission for atrocities to continue.

The silence implies approval.

The silence proves to those you are called to lead that you aren’t a leader taking them bravely where they need to go.

The silence says you value your position more than you value your calling to serve something bigger than a job.

You think being silent sustains your ministry because you don’t want to make enemies with powerful people when, in fact, it kills it.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

You have a platform, not a brand.

Speak up.

Your community needs you.

Speak up. Speak out.


You don’t have a brand.

You only have Jesus.


Photo credit: Microphone by Evan Forester via Flickr (Creative Commons)






3 responses to “Muzzled Leaders”

  1. Paul Turner Avatar

    Challenging stuff as always.

  2. KJ Avatar

    Who decides if a leader or community of leaders is speaking up about the right issue, and doing it often enough? Andrew Marin? You? Me? I’ll trust folks are doing their best to faithfully steward their influence and will pass on the temptation to presume they should be passionate about the same causes I am.

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