Monday, April 24, 2006

Toxic Leadership

When does leadership become toxic? I had a discussion last night with some visiting friends from South Africa on the many visible and obvious failures of contemporary leadership that we at times find in the Church. I cannot help but to think that the origin of this destructive leadership lies in self-suffiency and the pursuit of selfish ambitions, so often prevalent in those who pursue leadership. The Apostle James degrees (3:16, NIV): "
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."

The American Trappist, Thomas Merton gives good advice:
“It is useless to try to make peace with ourselves by being pleased with everything we have done. In order to settle down in the quiet of our own being we must learn to be detached from the results of our own activity. We must withdraw ourselves, to some extent, from effects that are beyond our control and be content with the good will and the work that are the quiet expression of our inner life. We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, to work without expecting an immediate reward, to love without an instantaneous satisfaction, and to exist without any special recognition. “ From "No Man is an Island" by Thomas Merton (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, New York, 1955) Page 121.
May us all learn the value of being "detached from the results of own activity" and make our leadership this "quiet expression of our inner life".
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)