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.