Monday, July 31, 2006

Church Service with Ph.D. Leadership Students at the oldest standing Church Building in the USA

I will be leading a church service with our second and third year Ph.D. students during their upcoming doctoral residency at Venerable Historic St. Luke's, Mother Church of Warrosquyoake County (now called the Isle of Wight), this Sunday, August 6. This church building might be the oldest standing structure of Christian faith in the United States of America and dates back to 1632. This is picture of the beautiful windows of the church. One cannot help but be deeply humbled by the deep witness of this structure of faith through the ages and hope that our commitment to authentic Christian Leadership may also stand the test of the ages.

For more information see:

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Philippians Hymn (2:5-11) as an early mimetic Christological model of Christian Leadership

I will be presenting a paper this next week on the Philippians Hymn (2:5-11) as an early mimetic Christological model of Christian Leadership at the annual Servant Leadership Research Roundtable in Virginia Beach. A draft version of the introduction of the paper reads as follows:

The myriad scholarly discussions on the Christological hymn (compare the excellent overview of the research in Martin 1997) in the letter of Paul to the Philippians (2:5-11) have traditionally been occupied with the issues of ontological Christology (Hellerman 2003, 424), questions on authorship (Martin 1997, 42-62) and literary form and function (Black, 1995) with little or no agreement amongst scholars on these issues (Stagg 1980, 340). Recent studies have attempted to escape the inertia created in these studies by exploring the hymn as an ethical rhetorical device and paradigm (Fowl 1990, Geoffrion 1993), as mediating tool in the midst of communal disunity and strife (Peterlin 1995, Williams 2002), as social drama (Karris, 1996, Wortham 1996), and as resistance against local timocratic rule (Heen 2004, Hellerman 2003, and Oakes 2001). What these recent developments have in common is a determined effort to place the hymn within the social and cultural context of first-century Philippi and the consensus that the hymn is a religious response to the tyranny of local Roman ruler and leadership. This opens the door for scholars to explore the hymn as an exemplary model (a rhetorical exampla) of ethical leadership rooted in a mimetic Christological spirituality. This paper proposes an early mimetic Christological model of Christian Leadership in Philippi by exploring the judicial, rhetorical structure and the social function of the hymn as a cursus pudorum (course of ignominies).

Bibliography (of the draft version of the introduction):
Black, D. A. 1995. The Discourse Structure of Philippians: A Study in Text-linguistics. Novum Testamentum XXXVII, 1: 16-49.
Fowl, S. E. 1990. The Story of Christ in the Ethics of Paul: An analysis of the Function of the Hymnic Material in the Pauline Corpus. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.
Geoffrion, T. C. 1993. The Rhetorical Purpose and the Political and Military Character of Philippians. Lewiston: Mellen Biblical Press.
Heen, E. M. 2004. Phil 2:6-11 and Resistance to local Timocratic Rule: Isa Theo and the Cult of the Emperor in the East, in Horsely, R. A. Paul and the Roman Imperial Order. New York: Trinity Press International.
Hellerman, J. H. 2003. The Humiliation of Christ in the Social World of Roman Philippi, Part 1. Bibliotheca Sacra 160.639:321-336.
Hellerman, J. H. 2003. The Humiliation of Christ in the Social World of Roman Philippi, Part 1. Bibliotheca Sacra 160.640:421-433.
Karris, R. J. 1996. A Symphony of New Testament Hymns. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press.
Martin, R. P. 1997. A Hymn of Christ: Philippians 2:5-11 in Recent Interpretation and in the setting of Early Christian Worship. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press.
Oakes, P. 2001. Philippians: From People to Letter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Peterlin, D. 1995. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians in the Light of Disunity in the Church. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Stagg, F. 1980. The Mind of Christ Jesus: Philippians 1:27-2:18. Review and Expositor 77.3:337.
Williams, D. K. 2002. Enemies of the Cross of Christ: The Terminology of the Cross and Conflict in Philippians. London: Sheffield Academic Press.
Wortham, R. A. 1996. Christology a Community Identity in the Philippians Hymn: The Philippians Hymn as Social Drama (Philippians 2:5-11). Perspectives in Religious Studies 23:3: 269- 287.

For more information see:

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

4th Annual Foresight Conference for Christian Leaders

My friend, Jay Gary is hosting Foresight 2006: Leading from the Future in Virginia Beach, September 20-22. Foresight 2006 is the fourth annual foresight conference for Christian leaders, and this year's theme of leading from the future, not just the past, is focused on the genetics age and the challenges facing organizations, churches, ministries and schools.

Jay described the conference as follows:

Imagine spending three days conversing over lunch and in small groups with leading strategists from faith-based, academic and business contexts from all across the country. You'll spend time with Dr. Ted Peters, America's leading theologian on science and religion, bio-ethics and futures thinking.

In workshops such as "Developing and using scenarios in public and private sectors," you'll learn the art of strategic thinking from national consultants like Dr. Clem Bezold, chairman of the Institute for Alternative Futures and board member of the World Future Society.

You'll also hear Tom Hoffmann, pastor and missional leader, speak on driving forces shaping global Christianity. You will grapple with what it means to be part of a church that is shifting its center of gravity to the south. Also, Mary Beth McEuen, VP of People and Potential at Maritz, will speak on cultivating strategic leadership with forward views.

Foresight 2006 is for anyone interested in the future of leadership and transformational change. Whether you are a manager, consultant, ministry leader, educator, pastor, health-care worker, military leader or teacher, this conference is for you.

For more information see:

International Conference on Integrating Spirituality and Organizational Leadership

Regent University's School of Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship and the University of Delhi's Faculty of Management Studies have issued a call for papers for their International Conference on Integrating Spirituality and Organizational Leadership (ICISOL) to be held in Delhi, India, February 8-10, 2007.

Conducted in the English language, the ICISOL will bring together leading scholars from the USA, Europe and Asia to systematically explore and map the field of spirituality and organizational leadership from various disciplines and spiritual traditions to focus on the role of spirituality and leadership in renewing the contemporary management praxis.

Designed for academicians, business leaders and those representing business associations, civil society and the media, this conference will address:

  • Changing business paradigms to meet the ecological and social realities of our age
  • The change from work and worship to “work is worship”
  • The role of spirituality in transforming contemporary management theory and praxis
  • Integrating perception of self and identity into managerial context
  • Contributions from different religious traditions and their value perspectives for the renewal of corporations and their cultures
  • Transcendental approaches for optimal performance
  • Implications of transpersonal experience and non-ordinary states of consciousness for ethics in general and for business ethics in particular
  • Promoting a spirit–centered leadership style for generating happiness in the workplace for optimal performance

For more information see:

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Seminar on Hermeneutics and Leadership at Heritage Bible College

I will be presenting a seminar on Hermeneutics and Christian Leadership at Heritage Bible College in Dunn, North Carolina tomorrow, July 17. As I prepare for this I cannot help but to once again think of the importance of proper exegesis and the use of Scripture to explore Leadership. I wonder why so many leadership scholars are reluctant to look at the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures as valid sources in our exploration of moral leadership. I am reminded of a wonderful rabbinical story that Knut Grønvik relays that might explain this scholarly hesitance:

Rabbi Eliezer was the first to speak. “If a man really wants to understand a word in scriptures,” he said, “he has to enter into it with his whole being.” “But is it not impossible for a grown-up man to enter into a small word?” one of his disciples objected. “I did not speak about men who think they are bigger than words,” the Rabbi answered.

May we all be humbled by the (T)ruth of God's eternal Word.

Grønvik Knut. "Letting Scripture read you." Conversations 3:1 (Spring 2005).

Merton, Sin and Organizational Sickness

I am busy writing the first of series of articles on the nature and remedy of organizational sin. I hope to use the nine prime sins of the Greek Desert Fathers and Mothers as a foundation for my exploration. One of the most peculiar practices amongst Christian leaders is the pervasive habit of discrediting another brother, minister of family in order to somehow establish personal or even organizational credibility. Thomas Merton, the American trappist and hermit, reflects on this:

"It has been marked that the more totalitarian a society is, for example, that of Russia or of Hitler's Germany, the less its members feel any sense of sin. They can commit any evil without remorse as long as they feel they are acting as members of their collectivity. The only evil they fear is to be cut off from the community that takes their sin upon itself and 'destroys' them. This the worst of disasters, and the slighest indication of disunion with the group is the cause of anxiety and guilt."

When we loose the "sense of sin", we loose the possibility of sanctification. May we learn the wisdom of Jesus that calls for a open heart and a non-judgmental attitude towards others (Matthew 7:1). May we follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind esteem others as better than ourselves (compare Philippians 2:1-2).

Merton, T 2003. The Inner Experience. New York: HarperColins. Page 120.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Spirituality, Systems Thinking and Healthy Relationships

I spend the last week at Forest Home Ministries in California where I was the evening speaker for one of their family camps. I spend the week exploring the Divine invitation of Jesus to find our way, home, purpose and joy in Him (compare John 14:6 and 15:1-11).

I had the privilege during this week to spend time with Dr. Mark Brewer, Senior Pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian Church, who presented in the mornings. Mark is a marvelously gifted speaker and presented some great insights from systems thinking and his experience in ministering to people in the entertainment industry.

Mark presented five principles of healthy relationships that I think hold great promise for future research and thinking in leadership and spirituality:

  • Relational systems resist change (the principle of homeostasis), even if the change brings about a better system.
  • The neediest person in a system is often not the sickest one (the principle of the identified patient). Energy should be spend on the most responsive person in the system, not the apparent neediest one.
  • The power of one's presence holds great promise (the principle of differentiation). Leaders should be present to their followers by defining who they are and not become part of the problem.
  • When two people are experiencing problems they will include a third person, system or issue into the equation (the principle of triangling).
  • Relational system are more complex than what they seem (the principle of the extended family). People operate in several connected system at a time.

Mark has a great book out entitled: "A Walk in the City: Discovering the Principles of the New Relationships between Urban and Suburban Churches." (ISBN: 0-9704619-0-9) that makes a much needed contribution to our understanding of relational leadership in pursuing Church unity.