Reflections from CCDA in Los Angeles
by Chris Fitzgerald, Ministry Fellow
There have been a lot of references to the “Mic Drop” in the circles I have been around lately. For those of you that don’t know, the “Mic Drop” is a point in a conversation or speech that is a satisfying mixture of radical truth and perfect timing. The best part about it is that after that truth is revealed, you get to walk away and let the audience sit and wrestle with the point as you walk off in a parade of pride and glory. We love witnessing or being the one to drop the mic, just don’t let us be the target or victim of it.
One of my favorite “Mic Drop” moments happens in the movie “Remember the Titans,” when Julius Campbell and Gerry Bertier are having an intense conversation at football camp. Neither feels like the other is doing their job. It’s an issue that affects each individual and also the team. Julius eventually makes the point that Gerry is the captain and not doing his job to hold people accountable. No one on the team looks out for each other so why would he wear himself out for the team? So he will just get his piece of the pie and move on. Gerry points out, as most would, that Julius has a bad attitude. Then Julius metaphorically raises his hand to prepare for one of the greatest “Mic Drops” of all time. Julius famously responds, “Attitude reflects leadership, Captain.” Ouch… can you feel it? That hurt.
The reason I bring up that story is not to talk about one of the major themes of that movie or what seems to be the narrative of America right now, which is race relations. That is a huge issue that needs to be boldly, honestly and grace–FULL–y talked about. Even the pride and self-seeking nature of the “Mic Drop” epidemic is surging through social media right now.
The thing I want to highlight is the meaning behind three words Julius said, “Attitude reflects leadership.”
When we follow someone, we try to emulate them in certain ways, collecting attributes we admire about them, and in some ways making them our own for personal growth and benefit. There is the concept that if you look at someone’s friends, you can see where they will be in 5 years. But the truest part of that statement is that the friends someone follows are the true indication of their path. When Christians say that they are following Jesus, many times we want to be perceived as righteous, like He is, or humble, or even merciful and loving. But to be honest, if you look at a majority of our lives and our actions and reactions, they do not point to Jesus. I know mine don’t always. And it’s not just the sinful things that are so easily marketed, and are hot topics of conversation and debate. But it’s the little things. Like how I judge or look down on another person, how when I have conversations with people, many times I am just waiting to share my piece instead of truly hearing them, or how I am so concerned about “getting mine” that I don’t trust and fully sell out to helping someone else get theirs.
See, the issue in that scene in “Remember the Titans” wasn’t solely a racial tension, as many of us are led to believe. It was much deeper than that. Julius and Gerry couldn’t trust each other because, not only did they not know each other, but they did not believe the other had his best interest at heart. There was no trust and no love. What’s love got to do with it? Love is not self-seeking. Love believes, hopes and endures all things. Not just because of what it gets in return, but because love has so much confidence in God and His promises. Love doesn’t need affirmation or recognition to do what is required or needed.
Jesus is the perfect example, because time after time in His life, He modeled this. His life was the culmination of this. He put aside His desires to serve humanity because of His love and full confidence in God and what God promises. So Jesus could freely give and serve us, without ever wanting anything in return.
In a recent conversation, LaTonya Gates-Boston of PAWkids in Atlanta, and Tim and Christy Mitchell of Parker Street Ministries in Lakeland, FL reminded me of this simple truth that Jesus spoke. That the world will know we are His disciples,by our love. Not by our platforms and stances, or our songs and conferences. But by our love. That is the attitude that should reflect our leadership. And if that is not the attitude we are reflecting, who are we following? Only we can answer that question, but I know who we aren’t following. What would our work places and marriages look like if we operated from a posture of love? Not self-seeking, but looking to benefit and advance others. What would our conversations look like when our only goal is for the other person to walk away knowing we heard them and are there for them. What would our world look like if everyone was so confident in what God promises that they can freely and generously go through life serving one another and allowing others to serve them?
There would be a lot less tension, and a lot more attention. And the only need for a “Mic Drop” would be so that others can be heard.