Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Leadership free from confusion

I have been wondering if it is possible to seek God in a position of leadership, when most of the contemporary pursuit of leadership is burdened by desperate illusions and inordinate desires for power, prestige and status. The example and message of Jesus and his early followers propose that is very possible to see leadership as a determined relinquishment of our carnal desire for fame and fortune, and to use the call to lead as an oppertunity to emulate Christ, who desired to be made of "no reputation" (Philippians 2:7). I have been rereading Merton for the last few weeks in my devotional time and came upon this section, earlier this morning:

“This then is what it means to seek God perfectly: to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display; to keep my mind free from confusion in order that my liberty may be always at the disposal of His will; to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God; to cultivate an intellectual freedom from the images of created things in order to receive the secret contact of God in obscure love; to love all men as myself...”

This, for me, is an erudite description of the process of value/s formation in Christian leadership.

From New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton. New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1972. Pages 45-46.