Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lenten Leadership

The ancient Christian practice of Lent has been described at times as a period to confront what is false within us - the false self - with the light and power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Thomas Keating has called it a period of Divine Therapy where the false self is confronted by the light of God and transformed into the likeness of God' Son by His Holy Spirit.

Christine Sine at Mustard Seed House has put together a wonderfully inspirational and moving guide to Lent. She writes: "Our Lenten journey begins with an invitation to lay down all the inner burdens of self-centeredness, indifference and greed that distract us from a whole-hearted commitment to God. We come to the cross for forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Only then can we experience the full joy of Easter morning and be resurrected into the new life that God intends for us, a life in which all that we do and all that we commit our time and our resources to is truly governed by our love for God and our love for neighbors around the world."

May this be a time that we as aspiring leaders/servants rediscover the power of God's truth to confront, deliver and transform.

A Prayer for Lent, by Henri Nouwen

"How often have I lived through these weeks without paying much attention to penance, fasting, and prayer? How often have I missed the spiritual fruits of the season without even being aware of it? But how can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death?

Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess.... I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it.

O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen."

Nouwen, Henri (2002). A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee. Image Books.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Meaning at Work" Seminar

I will be presenting a seminar for the Center for Effective Organization on April 9, 2009. Here is a quick overview of the seminar:

Meaning at Work: Helping Leaders and Followers find Joy and Fulfillment at Work

Seminar Overview

Imagine an organization where people love coming to work, are highly productive on a daily basis, and describe their work as meaningful and fulfilling. Imagine an organization whose leaders measure effectiveness not merely by the “bottom-line” but by how much meaning and fun are being had by all. Could the redemptive and fulfilling nature of work be rediscovered in highly effective organizations? Could spirituality and work be seen as friends, rather than enemies? Could such an organization successfully operate and compete in our world?

Date: April 9th, 2009
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Regent University Campus - Robertson Hall Virginia Beach, VA
Registration Fee: FREE
Registration Closes: April 6th, 2009

:: Rediscovering the nature of work
:: The redemptive power of work
:: Combating organizational acedia, laziness and sloth
:: Vocation, discernment and meaning at work
:: A Spirituality of work
:: The joy-filled organization

Benefit and Use
:: Develop a renewed understanding of the nature, purpose and power of work.
:: Help leaders and followers to turn their work into meaningful, joy-filled experiences.
:: Help leaders and followers construct a philosophy, theology and praxis of redemptive and meaningful approaches to work that in turn will add to the construction of fully integrated spiritual and joy-filled organizations.

Intended Audience
:: Leaders and followers in organizations.
:: Any person involved in work.

To register for this seminar see here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fill me with Fire

The reading this morning from the Merton Institute's "Weekly Reflection" deeply engaged me. This is who I want to be:

"Justify my soul, O God, but also from Your fountains fill my will with fire. Shine in my mind, although perhaps this means "be darkness to my experience," but occupy my heart with Your tremendous Life. Let my eyes see nothing in the world but Your glory, and let my hands touch nothing that is not for Your service. Let my tongue taste no bread that does not strengthen me to praise Your great mercy. I will hear Your voice, and I will hear all the harmonies you have created singing your hymns. Sheep's wool and cotton from the field shall warm me enough that I may live in Your service; I will give the rest to the poor. Let me use all things for one sole reason: to find my joy in giving You glory."

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation (New York: New Directions Press, 1961): 44.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Edition of Inner Resources for Leaders

The new edition of Inner Resources for Leader is available. There are four new articles exploring the link between Leadership and Christian Spirituality:

At the center of each human being dwells a unique spirit. By examining the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit as a product of Christian spiritual formation, Susan Gibbons provides the fourth in a series of nine leadership devotionals.

In her study Sharon Norris identifies the authentic Christological leadership characteristics of Jesus through sacred texture analysis of the Philippians hymn (2:5-11) to reveal a model of leadership that may answer the call for effective leadership for the modern day.

Jon Tomlinson posits that the concept of active followership is most applicable with Jesus' doctrine of discipleship in the Matthean Gospel. Through the lens of followership, he proposes a practical guide to assist congregations in fulfilling the biblical mandate commonly known as The Great Commission.

David Gyertson describes his pilgrimage into the mission, message, and meaning of spiritually formed leadership. As he shares his process of transformation with his readers he motivates, and inspires to take our distinctive understandings of the call to world-changing leadership to its highest levels.

Here is a direct link to the new edition.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The On-going Quest

Two of my recent papers were presented at the Second International Conference on the Integration of Spirituality and Organizational Leadership in India this last week. These papers mark my ongoing quest to work with other scholars in this common effort to recover a Biblical and orthodox perspective on Christian Leadership:

"Cultivating Leadership Humility: Insights from Early Western Cenobitic Monasticism." (Corné J. Bekker)

The current global turn to spirituality coincides with the emergence of spirituality-based theories, models and approaches in organizational leadership studies. Contemporary Western ecclesial leaders and thinkers have increasingly participated in the dialogue between the sometimes opposing fields of spirituality and organizational leadership. This article seeks to join in this emerging dialogue by exploring the leadership wisdom of St. Benedict of Nursia (480-540 A.D.), the father of early Western Cenobitic Monasticism; first, by locating early Benedictine spirituality using Waaijman’s (2006) matrix for spirituality research and, then by illustrating the usefulness of St. Benedict’s rule in the cultivation of leadership humility.

"Empty to Lead: Towards a Model of Mimetic Christological Leadership." (Corné J. Bekker and Bruce E. Winston)

This paper proposes an early mimetic Christological model of Christian Leadership in Roman Philippi by exploring the judicial, rhetorical structure and the social function of the Philippians hymn (2:5-11) as a cursus pudorum (course of ignominies) that stands in stark contrast to a cursus honorum, the formalized sequence of public offices in first-century Roman cities. The Philippians hymn challenged the notions and principles of the prevalent shame/honor social matrix of Roman societies by offering an alternative set of behaviors and values that stood in stark contrast with those of the dominant culture. The hymn makes use of a cursus pudorum in which the voluntary abasement, humility and obedience of Christ becomes an exemplum that offers a critique of the tyrannies of the timocratic leadership style of Roman Philippi and offers an alternative vision of service oriented leadership rooted in humility and common mutuality.

Both papers will be published in the accompanying research volume by McMillan Press.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

John Michael Talbot on the Feast of St. Anthony of the Desert

John Michael Talbot gives a small, but great introduction on the live and testimony of St. Anthony of the Desert. May we all learn from the wisdom and insight from these early Christians.