I have to admit that this is not my favorite topic.  But, Brennan Manning says that Christians should be “windows to God’s work” and therefore we are to be transparent.  “Transparency is the epiphany of our life in Christ.” I do like that.  It is an overflow of our life in Christ that is attractive to a watching world.  As Christians we can be and should be honest and sincere. Why are we not transparent?  Manning writes:

“Often our preoccupation with the three most basic human desires—security, pleasure and power—is the cloak that covers transparency. The endless struggle for enough money, good feelings and prestige yields a rich harvest of worry, frustration, suspicion, anger, jealousy, anxiety, fear and resentment.” 38

Manning quotes Merton when he writes,

“What the gospel offers us . . . the grace to courageously accept the bitter truth that is revealed to us; to abandon our inertia, our egoism and submit entirely to the demands of the Spirit, praying earnestly for help, and giving ourselves generously to every effort asked of us by God.” 47

At the same time as I read the above, I am also reading, Accountable Discipleship by Manskar in which he writes about the need for “regular mutual accountability” as a “means of preventing self-deception and keeping our discipleship aligned with Christ.” 18  I have been in more accountability relationships than in accountability groups. Even in accountability relationships, it is not easy to maintain transparency.  For accountability  to work in my experience, there needs to be mutual accountability. And, all accountability relationships do not get to issues of the heart.

Transparency and accountability are topics that are easy to talk about but difficult to practice on a regular basis.  I wonder if many in the church hide what their life is truly like because we fear being exposed, fear being rejected? Actually for a lot of men, it seems that we are unaware of our needs or don’t want to think about them and cover them up with work, sports or other diversions.  I know for me, in the not too distant past, I rarely shared anything of a personal nature due to pride and self-sufficiency—I was saying without words that I didn’t need prayer! I guess it comes down to recognizing how desperate I am apart from God.  Two good blog topics there—“diversions” and  “struggles with grace”.

And yet, when the light comes, when there is loving accountability, the power of sin and the darkness is broken and liberation begins to take place. My conclusion: transparency needs to begin with me and can only be maintained by living in community. Comments?

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