Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

How Do We Stop The Stumbling Block?

Written by: on November 14, 2023

Certain books possess such exceptional quality that they engross readers to an extent where stopping becomes unthinkable. Then there are some books that are so outstanding like “The Scandal of Leadership” that comprehending the entirety of the author’s intended message becomes extremely challenging due to the multitude of intricate aspects which require not only careful examination but a number of stopping points to digest the material. 

According to open ai: 

“The Scandal of Leadership” by JR Woodward is a book that delves into the issue of power abuses in the church and offers a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics at play. Woodward provides a deeper diagnosis of the root issues behind domineering leaders, shedding light on the powers of domination within the church.” 


Once again this week, I embarked on a journey of viewing YouTube interviews, where I found myself equally enlightened by the profound discussions and plagued by self-doubt regarding my ability to articulate these complex ideas in a blog post. The scope of their magnitude is extensive. The subject matter they are discussing is profound. What more could I possibly contribute to this conversation than a lamens’ explanation?


At this point I’ve consumed so much today  I can’t quite put my finger on when he said it… it was in one of the interviews that I listened to (I will link several of them! They were all incredible, mind blowing conversations.) Dr. Woodward was asked why did you write this book when there are so many books on this subject already. He responded with that all of our books on leadership so far our leadership books are mirroring what the world is teaching us… the world is creating domineering leaders. But… Christ-like leaders are different. There is no command and control…  I was saddened by the reality he discussed on how the Church also tends to mirror what happens in the world. 


There are a few leaders that he mentions throughout the book that I thought I would bring further explanation to: 


-He is the foundation for the Powers that Woodward expands on.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

— Ephesians 6:2 (ESV)


-He is the founder of the Mimetic Theory that Woodward discusses. One of my favorite things that Girard says in summary is that desire is not instinctual, it’s not individualistic, it’s mimetic (imitating) & social. 

 There are three parts to this: 

  • Mimetic Desire- The big picture is that memetics is Humans imitating the desire of the model. For example a puffer wanting to be a king, or an associate pastor wanting to be the lead pastor. This can create a rivalry in which leads to the next part…. 
  • Scapegoat Mechanism – In ancient times, the way they were likely to resolve this was by eliminating the situation completely. AKA … OFF WITH HIS HEAD!  
  • Uniqueness of the Bible- Compared to all of the other works 


“The practice of the Christian life consists of the discernment of (the seeing and hearing), and the reliance upon (the reckless and uncalculating dependence), and the celebration (the ready and spontaneous enjoyment) of the presence of the Word of God in the common life of the world.”


-Human rights activist who will be forever remembered as a role model for bravery, fairness, and standing in solidarity with the less fortunate. He became a Saint in late 2018.

“We will either become a scandal to those that look up to us as leaders or we will choose to imitate the scandalous way of Christ?” Jr Woodward


I thought it would be interesting to conclude by delving briefly into the word Scandal. Did you know the Greek word for scandal is stumbling block? It is an action that causes you to sin or could damage your reputation. Girard claims that we become a scandal when we become an obstacle to those we lead. In an interview, Woodward pointed out, ” THE SCANDAL was using the world in a Girardian sense.” So I ask you….What can we do to avoid repeating history?

“Summarize the Scandal of Leadership”, November 9, GPT-3.5, OpenAI, November 14 2023, chat.openai.com/chat

Goodreads. (n.d.). A private and public faith quotes by William Stringfellow. Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1168148-a-private-and-public-faith

Interviews that I watched: (I really enjoyed the second interview… I had a hard time following the first because it seemed the interviewer had not collected this thoughts.)

About the Author

Alana Hayes

Alana is a mother to four beautiful children and wife to a farmer in Texas. She is an avid world traveler with a heart for both the world and education. She is the president of the nonprofit Against the Grain Texas where they focus on providing education to children overseas and at risk adults in the states. To date the nonprofit has given almost $100,000 to individuals around the world. In her free time she loves spending meaningful time with people and reading to further her personal education.

6 responses to “How Do We Stop The Stumbling Block?”

  1. Alana – Your so far ahead of the game that I haven’t even read this book, yet the title was compelling so I read it anway. It’s good to know that the book was hard to put down. I’m looking forward to reading it now!

  2. Kristy Newport says:

    Thank you for including the podcast in your blog. I enjoyed listening to the second one. It is always fascinating for me to take in a you tube or podcast. It is always easier for me to listen to the material over reading the material. I know I am an audio learner!! Why don’t I go to audio options faster!? I enjoyed listening to the author of this book.

    Great job tackling this blog! I hope to finish mine tomorrow!
    I like the memetic material. Fascinating stuff!!
    It makes me want to go back and look at developmental theory for children.

  3. mm David Beavis says:

    This book is my favorite from this semester. It is also incredibly applicable to what the church I serve at has gone through over the past few years. It makes me wonder how many leaders are imitating the ways of the world, the flesh and the devil and not imitating the self-emptying way of Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11).

  4. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    I concentrated a bit on the fact that we were not wrestling against flesh and blood. I am familiar with this text in the Bible but as I have grown in relationship with God so has the evilness of the devil. I am curious to know what you think if when you hear this used in the talks about The Scandal of Leadership.

  5. Tonette Kellett says:


    I had to go to outside sources as well to understand what a mimetic was. Once I got that down, I was good with the book.

    I also watched several podcasts of the author, which gave me a deeper understanding.

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