Pastor Daniel Fusco of Crossroads Church in Vancouver, Washington, speaks to ChurchLeaders about being a leader in the midst of the #metoo movement. Fusco has been in ministry for several years and recently wrote “What Jesus Could Teach Chefs, Celebrities and a President About Masculinity” for USAToday addressing the abuse allegations that have upset nearly every corner of society. Fusco shares his thoughts on being a leader in this volatile time we live in and the example of leadership and masculinity we are given in Jesus.
ChurchLeaders (CL): As a pastor, what are your thoughts on the allegations that have been made against men in positions of power recently?
Fusco: My first response is my heart breaks for the victims. And my second response is Jesus is the ultimate example of meekness: Strength under control, power under control. I think part of the message of Jesus is to help us understand what power is supposed to look like. We have a tendency in our culture—especially as these examples of abuse come up—to feel power is bad. But with Jesus, all authority was his, and he brought the greatest blessing and transformation to the world through his self-sacrifice.
CL: In your article for USAToday, you said “many women were reporting abuses to their superiors with no recourse, or suffering in silence. But thankfully, that is changing.” Why is that changing?
Fusco: I think it’s changing for a number of reasons. First, it’s changing because the way it used to be is wrong. Anytime someone is abusing power, it’s wrong. Maybe there was a time where it was more culturally acceptable. Culture is always responding and reacting to what has come before it, and I think that this new reckoning (that’s the word I like to use) is a great thing because what was perceived as acceptable, like this whole “boys will be boys” thing—that was wrong. Boys are not supposed to be boys like that. So, the fact that it’s not acceptable now is a great growth on the part of our culture where now when people speak up, they’re being heard and people are not just pushing it away. Right now we’re hearing about famous people, but this has been going on and nothing’s happened. There’s been no investigation or [the victims] know that nothing’s going to happen so they’re just suffering in silence….I think it’s a great development for us culturally.
CL: Do you see any way that church leaders can lead this change?
Fusco: Jesus is the hope for all humanity, and not just 21st-century western humanity, but all humanity…God has acknowledged the sinfulness of humanity and he has sought to redeem it through the finished work of Jesus. That message of both the honesty about sin and God’s plan to reconcile that world [is relevant to our current situation].
I’m not soft-pedaling what is wrong, but I’m also not pretending that God’s grace and forgiveness don’t exist either. I believe that the message of Jesus, the Gospel, bears very strongly on what’s going on. I think the problem for many church leaders is that we have a tendency to think about these things politically and not biblically. We’re straddling the complexities of our culture and politics within our culture rather than having an absolute allegiance to Jesus and allegiance to his finished work and his life and what he’s taught us.
I think when we’re willing to say “my allegiance is to Jesus and I’m willing to deny myself, take up my cross and follow him in the cause of the Gospel,” I think we have what is needed in this.
CL: Your article in USAToday was mainly about the masculinity Jesus modeled and how our culture is crying out for masculinity like this. Could you describe more about what real masculinity looks like?
Fusco: Our culture has broken notions of both masculinity and femininity…Jesus modeled a whole masculinity for us. For example, little kids loved to play with Jesus, and Jesus had time for them. But Jesus also…spoke truth to power. And so you have Jesus as the kind shepherd, where tax collectors and sinners and people marginalized in society had audience with Jesus, but he wasn’t afraid to call a spade a spade. Jesus advocated for a woman who, under that culture, would have been subject to the death penalty for adultery, but Jesus was her advocate and protected her. He reminded everyone that they, too, were sinners. But yet he also told her, “Go and sin no more.”
When we behold the Jesus of the Scriptures, and maybe not the Jesus of our current church cultures, we’re presented with a very unique view of…strength that is directed at blessing others.